Sustainable Energy – without the hot air

There is a lot of information out there on how we’re destroying our planet and there’s tons of information about how we can save it (this site looks at saving it). David J.C. MacKay has written a book Sustainable Energy – without the hot air that takes all the climate change information and creates an analysis that is much easier to understand than most writing on the subject. The best part is that you can read the entire book for free.

From the introduction to the synopsis:

We have an addiction to fossil fuels, and it’s not sustainable. The devel-
oped world gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels; Britain, 90%. And
this is unsustainable for three reasons. First, easily-accessible fossil fu-
els will at some point run out, so we’ll eventually have to get our energy
from someplace else. Second, burning fossil fuels is having a measurable
and very-probably dangerous effect on the climate. Avoiding dangerous
climate change motivates an immediate change from our current use of
fossil fuels. Third, even if we don’t care about climate change, a drastic
reduction in Britain’s fossil fuel consumption would seem a wise move if
we care about security of supply: continued rapid use of the North Sea Photo by Terry Cavner.
oil and gas reserves will otherwise soon force fossil-addicted Britain to de-
pend on imports from untrustworthy foreigners. (I hope you can hear my
tongue in my cheek.)

How can we get off our fossil fuel addiction?

There’s no shortage of advice on how to “make a difference,” but the
public is confused, uncertain whether these schemes are fixes or figleaves.
People are rightly suspicious when companies tell us that buying their
“green” product means we’ve “done our bit.” They are equally uneasy
about national energy strategy. Are “decentralization” and “combined
heat and power,” green enough, for example? The government would have
us think so. But would these technologies really discharge Britain’s duties
regarding climate change? Are windfarms “merely a gesture to prove our
leaders’ environmental credentials”? Is nuclear power essential?
We need a plan that adds up. The good news is that such plans can be
made. The bad news is that implementing them will not be easy.

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