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An Inconvenient Talk

An Inconvenient Talk

Dave Hughes’s guide to the end of the fossil fuel age

DAVE HUGHES IS DRIVING north on Highway 2. Headed out of Calgary, where he worked for thirty-two years at the Geological Survey of Canada, mapping the nation’s coal reserves. Bound for Edmonton, where he grew up and earned two degrees in geology. It’s not yet dawn, the sky deep black and the windows of his pickup truck like mirrors, the southbound lanes a line of smeared headlights as long-haul commuters make the trek the other way into the capital of the oil patch. Hughes sips coffee from a reusable mug, fighting back sleepiness. Just another commuter trailing a cloud of burnt dinosaur bones on his way to work.

Dave had to start out fifteen minutes earlier than the requisite ungodly hour so he could pick you up at your house. So you wouldn’t drive yourself. Save a few hydrocarbons, he’d joked. He’s a coal man, a geologist, and he always refers to the holy trinity of fossil fuels whose flames have stoked the past 200 years of industrial growth—coal, natural gas, and especially oil—in that same semi-technical way: hydrocarbons. Dave Hughes has a lot to say about hydrocarbons, mainly how there’s no possible way to keep running the engine of a modern global economy for much longer at the pace we’re burning them. Which is why you felt compelled to join him in the black chill of this late-autumn morning. Because that seems like a pretty big deal.

Dave came right to the curb out in front of your house, your personal chauffeur, because you said you were interested in hearing his talk a second time, and he’ll do his level best to bring his talk to just about anyone who asks…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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