Cover image for The burning question : we can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?
Title:
The burning question : we can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?
Author:
Berners-Lee, Mike, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Vancouver : Greystone Books, [2013]
Physical Description:
xvi, 268 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Summary:
"The Burning Question reveals climate change to be the most urgent scientific, political and social puzzle in history. It shows that carbon emissions are still accelerating upwards, following an exponential curve that goes back centuries. Tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon oil, coal and gas reserves worth many trillions of dollars. The burning question is whether that can be done. What mix of politics, psychology, economics and technology might be required? Are the energy companies massively overvalued, and how will carbon cuts affect the global economy? Will we wake up to the threat in time? And who can do what to make it all happen?"--Page 4 of cover.
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Profile Books Ltd."--Title page verso.
Language:
English
Contents:
Foreword / by Bill McKibben -- Introduction -- Part 1. A problem of abundance. The curve -- Heading for trouble fast -- The trillion-tonne limit -- Too much fuel in the ground -- No deal on the horizon -- Part 2. Squeezing a balloon. Rebounds and ripples -- People, money and technology -- Part 3. What's stopping us?. The write-off -- The growth debate -- The great global slumber -- The problem of sharing -- Part 4. Not just fossil fuels. The supporting cast -- Food, forests and fuels -- Part 5. What now?. Waking up -- Capping the carbon -- Pushing the right technologies : hard -- Dealing with land and smoke -- Making a plan B -- What can I do?
ISBN:
9781771640077
Format :
Book

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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library QC981.8.G56 B455 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

The Burning Question reveals climate change to be the most fascinating scientific, political and social puzzle in history. It shows that carbon emissions are still accelerating upwards, following an exponential curve that goes back centuries. One reason is that saving energy is like squeezing a balloon: reductions in one place lead to increases elsewhere. Another reason is that clean energy sources don't in themselves slow the rate of fossil fuel extraction.

Tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon oil, coal and gas reserves worth many trillions of dollars -- at least until we have the means to put carbon back in the ground. The burning question is whether that can be done. What mix of politics, psychology, economics and technology might be required? Are the energy companies massively overvalued, and how will carbon-cuts affect the global economy? Will we wake up to the threat in time? And who can do what to make it all happen?


Author Notes

Mike Berners-Lee is a leading carbon consultant and author of How Bad Are Bananas. Duncan Clark is a Guardian environment journalist and author of various successful books, including The Rough Guide to Green Living . Both live in the U.K.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although constrained by brevity, this book serves as an introductory discussion of the great pressing issue of our era. In the first four sections, carbon emissions researcher Berners-Lee (How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything) and environmental journalist Clark (The Rough Guide to Green Living) describe the crisis-available reserves of fossil fuels contain more than enough carbon to force the global climate in new and almost certainly destructive directions if burned. Combined with our apparent determination to burn every possible ounce of fossil fuel and our proven ability to sabotage mitigation efforts, this is ominous news for humanity and many of the species sharing the planet with us. The fifth section details some steps that might succeed in limiting the scope of the consequences of our actions. The authors' prose is clean and clear and their organization is sensible and well documented, backed up with a detailed index. Unfortunately, this short book denies the authors the opportunity to develop their arguments in the depth they deserve. More appetizer than main course, it is nevertheless recommended to those new to this topic. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Choice Review

This book addresses the important issues of greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change, strongly emphasizing the effects of fossil fuels. Carbon footprint expert Berners-Lee (Small World Consulting, UK; How Bad Are Bananas?, CH, Dec'11, 49-2023) and environmental journalist/author Clark focus on how to transform society into one that works cooperatively to reduce the burning of carbon-based fuels and increase the use of alternative energy sources. The authors identify population as the elephant in the room, which must be factored into any serious effort to move toward sustainability. The book discusses carbon management, in particular carbon sequestration. However, there is very little emphasis on making useful products from renewable carbon resources such as wood. The authors present the carbon footprint of various products and activities to help readers see that, for example, beef products have a much greater carbon footprint than eggs and rice. This book is directed at all people, and the authors hope that their book will be widely read. Forty-five pages of notes with some references support the text. Useful index. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. L. E. Erickson Kansas State University


Table of Contents

Bill McKibben
Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 A problem of abundance
1 The curvep. 7
2 Heading for trouble fastp. 16
3 The trillion-tonne limitp. 25
4 Too much fuel in the groundp. 29
5 No deal on the horizonp. 36
Part 2 Squeezing a balloon
6 Rebounds and ripplesp. 47
7 People, money and technologyp. 64
Part 3 What's stopping us?
8 The write-offp. 85
9 The growth debatep. 109
10 The great global slumberp. 121
11 The problem of sharingp. 137
Part 4 Not just fossil fuels
12 The supporting castp. 145
13 Food, forests and fuelsp. 153
Part 5 What now?
Six key steps that will help tackle climate change.
14 Waking upp. 167
15 Capping the carbonp. 171
16 Pushing the right technologies - hardp. 181
17 Dealing with land and smokep. 189
18 Making a plan Bp. 194
19 What can / do?p. 197
Acknowledgementsp. 201
Notes and referencesp. 203
Indexp. 249

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