The Burning Question: We Can't Burn Half the World's Oil, Coal, and Gas. So How Do We Quit?

The Burning Question: We Can't Burn Half the World's Oil, Coal, and Gas. So How Do We Quit?

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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?

Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771640077
Publisher: Greystone Books
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 985,387
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bill McKibben ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 A problem of abundance

1 The curve 7

2 Heading for trouble fast 16

3 The trillion-tonne limit 25

4 Too much fuel in the ground 29

5 No deal on the horizon 36

Part 2 Squeezing a balloon

6 Rebounds and ripples 47

7 People, money and technology 64

Part 3 What's stopping us?

8 The write-off 85

9 The growth debate 109

10 The great global slumber 121

11 The problem of sharing 137

Part 4 Not just fossil fuels

12 The supporting cast 145

13 Food, forests and fuels 153

Part 5 What now?

Six key steps that will help tackle climate change.

14 Waking up 167

15 Capping the carbon 171

16 Pushing the right technologies - hard 181

17 Dealing with land and smoke 189

18 Making a plan B 194

19 What can / do? 197

Acknowledgements 201

Notes and references 203

Index 249

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