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What Have Fossil Fuels Ever Done For Us?


Learning: Unstructured

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  • Just as the Romans were much maligned in Judea, we have forgotten the positive contributions of fossil fuels to our modern civilisation. We present an economic history of hydrocarbons.


  • 1. Life Before Fossil Fuels Before fossil fuels we had the Romans, who brought civilisation. After the Romans left, we had the Dark Ages. They were called the Dark Ages for a reason. There wasn’t a lot of cheap and reliable energy, which meant it was dark.
  • 2. Britain’s Industrial Revolution Britain then became Great by embracing coal in the Industrial Revolution. Cheap mechanical labour replaced the drudgery of human and animal labour. Britannia Ruled the Waves as the leading economic and political power in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • 3. The Discovery of Oil and Pax Americana The 20th century belonged to USA as the dominant producer of a superior and flexible fossil fuel, oil. Today fossil fuels still represent over 80% of our primary energy consumption. If you desire a world without fossil fuels, prepare for “civilisation to crumble”
  • 4. What Have Fossil Fuels Ever Done For Us? Since the Industrial Revolution, our living standards in the UK have risen 30x, largely owing to a 20x increase in our energy consumption, with the costs of energy falling by 90%. If fossil fuels cannot adequately be replaced, then we risk returning to medieval standards of living