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In the UK, which enjoys almost identical conditions for solar production as Ireland, solar power provides some five per cent of the UK’s total year-round electrical requirements. Photograph:  Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Shortly before his death in 1931, US electricity pioneer Thomas Edison confided to his close friends: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. W(...)

Some 17 per cent of total global energy use currently comes from renewables. Even allowing for rapid ongoing adaption of clean energy, it appears implausible that such ongoing increases in energy – and resource – consumption could occur without triggering catastrophic destabilisation of our planetary life support systems. Photograph: Getty Images

More than any other single factor, the defining characteristic of the modern era has been humanity’s use of cheap, plentiful energy. In the 20th centu(...)

Nothing has so dramatically reconfigured the history of life on Earth as the epic mass extinction events that punctuate the fossil record stretching b(...)