Powering the Future: A Scientist's Guide to Energy Independence (FT Press Science)

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9780137049769: Powering the Future: A Scientist's Guide to Energy Independence (FT Press Science)
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Dr. Daniel B. Botkin objectively assesses the true prospects, limitations, costs, risks, dangers, and tradeoffs associated with every leading and emerging source of energy, including oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, solar, ocean power, and biofuels. Next, Botkin addresses the energy distribution system, outlining how it currently works, identifying its inefficiencies, and reviewing options for improving it.

 

Finally, Botkin turns to solutions, offering a realistic, scientifically and economically viable path to a sustainable, energy-independent future: one that can improve the quality of life for Americans and for people around the world.

 

The Future of Fossil Fuels

What can we realistically expect from oil, gas, and coal?

 

Will Alternative Energy Sources Really Matter?

Running the numbers on solar, wind, biofuels, and other renewables

 

Must We All Wear Sweaters and Live in Caves?

The right role for efficiency--and why energy minimalism isn’t the solution

 

Where We Can Start--and What Will Happen if We Don’t

No magic bullet, but there are sensible, realistic solutions

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""At last! An authoritative, objective, scientific analysis of the full range of energy options we face. Botkin's book cuts through the mass of hype, bias, and myth that characterize most of the information that the public receives and gives us a clear assessment of the sources, costs, environmental impacts, and potentials for the energy that supports America--and the world. Clear, well-researched and well-written, this book should be required reading for decision makers and voters alike."" Lee Talbot, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia; and Senior Environmental Advisor to the World Bank, UN Agencies, and numerous national governments ""A thought-provoking analysis of the nation's energy future. Botkin demonstrates that we can have a safe, secure, stable energy future without sacrificing our quality of life, but not without major changes. It will require significant improvements in energy efficiency and a new mix of energy sources with much greater reliance on renewables--but it is achievable and affordable. You may not agree with his preferred allocation of energy sources in the portfolio for 2050, but he'll make you think, and his list of proposed energy programs provides a valuable roadmap for our federal leaders." " Jerry R. Schubel, President and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, California """Powering the Future" is the best primer on the supply of energy. Botkin looks at each form of energy and discusses our options to move away from fossil fuels. Using scientific methods and suppressing personal biases, he follows the energy data trail to logical conclusions. ...Chock full of examples, illustrations, and data." " Matthew J. Sobel, William E. Umstattd Professor, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio ""If you want to read one book that will give you a comprehensive, realistic assessment of the available options, their benefits and costs, and the political changes that must be made to address global climate change, increase the use of renewable energy sources, and use our existing nonrenewable sources more efficiently, this is it." " Dan Tarlock, Distinguished Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Director, Program in Energy and Environmental Law, Chicago, Illinois The future of civilization depends upon the continuous availability of sufficient energy. But we're approaching the practical limits of some of the energy sources we depend upon most. What should be done? Few issues are as controversial. In "Powering the Future," a leading scientist cuts through the controversy, presenting the facts about our energy needs, desires, and supplies and the environmental and human effects of obtaining and using energy. Dr. Daniel B. Botkin objectively assesses the true prospects, limitations, costs, risks, dangers, and tradeoffs associated with every leading and emerging source of energy, including oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, solar, ocean power, and biofuels. Next, Botkin addresses the energy distribution system, outlining how it currently works, identifying its inefficiencies, and reviewing options for improving it. Finally, Botkin turns to solutions, offering a realistic, scientifically and economically viable path to a sustainable, energy-independent future: one that can improve the quality of life for Americans and for people around the world. The Future of Fossil Fuels What can we realistically expect from oil, gas, and coal? Will Alternative Energy Sources Really Matter? Running the numbers on solar, wind, biofuels, and other renewables Must We All Wear Sweaters and Live in Caves? The right role for efficiency--and why energy minimalism isn't the solution Where We Can Start--and What Will Happen if We Don't No magic bullet, but there are sensible, realistic solutions

About the Author:

Daniel B. Botkin is Professor (Emeritus), Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and President, The Center for The Study of The Environment, a nonprofit corporation that provides independent, science-based analyses of complex environmental issues. The New York Times has called him “one of the world’s leading environmental researchers,” who has “done much to popularize the concept of using yet maintaining the world’s natural resources.”

 

His research includes creating the first successful computer simulation in ecology; studies of wilderness and natural parks ecosystems--from the Serengeti Plains of Africa to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota and Isle Royale National Park; threatened and endangered species--whooping cranes, salmon, bowhead and sperm whales, and African elephants. He was among the first to investigate possible ecological effects of global warming and to help NASA use satellite imaging to study the Earth’s global environment.

 

His dozen books include Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the 21st Century, which “is considered by many ecologists to be the classic text of the [environmental] movement,” according to the New York Times. Beyond the Stony Mountains describes nature in the American West before European settlement, based on the journals of Lewis and Clark. No Man’s Garden analyzes the value of nature and the relationship between people and nature. He has published op-ed pieces in many major newspapers concerning global warming, biological diversity, and energy, and more than 150 scientific papers.

 

His recent awards include the Astor Annual Lectureship for 2007 (Oxford University); annual distinguished visiting scholar for 2008 (Green Mountain College, Vermont); and the Long Beach Aquarium, Long Beach, California, has appointed him its first-ever distinguished visiting scientist for November 2008. He is also the recipient of the Fernow Award for Outstanding Contributions in International Forestry and the winner of the Mitchell International Prize for Sustainable Development.

 

His other academic appointments include Professor of Biology and Director of The Program in Global Change at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA; Professor of Systems Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; and Research Scientist, The Ecosystems Center, Woods Hole, MA. His degrees are B.A. (Physics; University of Rochester), M.A. (Literature, University of Wisconsin), and Ph.D. (Biology, Rutgers University).

 

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