How the 16th-Century Energy Revolution Can Help Us Exit the Fossil Fuel Age

Understanding Why We Broke Free of Our Original Energy Source—Wood—Will Aid in Our Transition Back to Renewables Today

Scientists have long warned of the potential global catastrophe that burning fossil fuels could unleash on the planet. Now, a recent spate of record heat waves, forest fires, droughts, and floods have at long last awakened the rest of the world to the immediacy of the threat from global climate change. Politicians are being forced into action by world-wide protests, as activists push peacefully for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which may limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

As we work to find a healthier path ahead, we …