Global climate change is one of the most important issues humanity faces today. This book assesses the sensible, senseless and biased proposals for averting the potentially disastrous consequences of global warming, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions on switching to more sustainable energy provision. Burton Richter is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who has served on many US and international review committees on climate change and energy issues. He provides a concise overview of our knowledge and uncertainties within climate change science , discusses current energy demand and supply patterns, and the energy options available to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. Written in non-technical language, this book presents a balanced view of options for moving from our heavy reliance on fossil fuels into a much more sustainable energy system, and is accessible to a wide range of readers without scientific backgrounds - students, policymakers, and the concerned citizen.
Table of Contents
Preface; List of units; List of conversion factors; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; Part I. Climate: 2. Greenhouse Earth; 3. Climate modelling; 4. The past as proxy for the future; 5. Predicting the future; Part II. Energy: 6. Taking up arms against this sea of troubles; 7. How fast to move: a physicist's look at the economists; 8. Energy, emissions and action; 9. Fossil fuels: how much is there?; 10. Electricity, emission and pricing carbon; 11. Efficiency: the first priority; 12. Nuclear energy; 13. Renewables; 14. Biofuels: is there anything there?; 15. An energy summary; Part III. Policy: 16. US policy: new things, bad things, good things; 17. World policy action; 18. Coda; References; Index.
Winner of Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Prize 2011.
Burton Richter is Paul Pigott Professor in the Physical Sciences, Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford University. He is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist for his pioneering work in the discovery of a heavy elementary particle. He received the Lawrence Medal from the US Department of Energy and the Abelson Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Over the last decade, he has turned his attention from high-energy physics to climate change and energy issues, and has earned a strong reputation in this field as well. He has served on many national and international review committees, but his most direct involvement is with nuclear energy where he chairs an advisory committee to the US Department of Energy. He is also a chairman of a recent American Physical Society study on energy efficiency, and a member of the 'Blue Ribbon Panel' that oversaw the final edit of the US climate impact assessment that was released in 2000. He has written over 300 papers in scientific journals and op-ed articles for the NY Times, Washington Post, and LA Times.