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THE ABILITY TO HARNESS ENERGY creates wealth and confers social power. With the advent of fossil fuels came a rush of wealth and power such as the world had never before seen. Naturally, humanitarians saw this as an opportunity to spread wealth and power around so as to lift all of humanity above drudgery, eliminate hunger, and even put an end to war. And to a large degree that opportunity has been seized: overall, child mortality rates are down, life expectancy is up, infectious diseases are on the decline, hunger has been reduced (even as population has dramatically grown), and mortality from violence has declined since the end of World War II.1 Yet globally, the wealthy industrial nations have disproportionately benefited from the fossil fuel revolution while poorer nations have largely borne the costs. A similar disparity also exists within nations, both rich and poor ones. Further, the injustice of energy wealth versus energy poverty is increasingly magnified by climate impacts, which fall disproportionately upon energy-poor societies—both because of geographical happenstance and because they do not have the same level of resources to devote toward adaptation.
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