Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know®

Oxford University Press
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Without a doubt, the topic of energy--from coal, oil, and nuclear to geothermal, solar and wind--is one of the most pressing across the globe. It is of paramount importance to policy makers, economists, environmentalists, and industry as they consider which technologies to invest in, how to promote use of renewable energy sources, and how to plan for dwindling reserves of non-renewable energy. In Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know®, José Goldemberg, a nuclear physicist who has been hailed by Time magazine as one of the world's top "leaders and visionaries on the environment," takes readers through the basics of the world energy system, its problems, and the technical as well as non-technical solutions to the most pressing energy problems. Addressing the issues in a Q-and-A format, Goldemberg answers such questions as: What are wind, wave, and geothermal energy? What are the problems of nuclear waste disposal? What is acid rain? What is the greenhouse gas effect? What is Carbon Capture and Storage? What are smart grids? What is the Kyoto Protocol? What is "cap and trade"? The book sheds light on the role of population growth in energy consumption, renewable energy resources, the amount of available energy reserves (and when they will run out), geopolitical issues, environmental problems, the frequency of environmental disasters, energy efficiency, new technologies, and solutions to changing consumption patterns. It will be the first place to look for information on the vital topic of energy. What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
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About the author

José Goldemberg, a world-renowned expert on energy, is former Rector and Professor at the University of São Paulo and served as Secretary of State for Science and Technology and Secretary of the Environment for Brazil. He is the winner of the 2010 Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Jun 18, 2012
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9780199812912
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Industries / Energy
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
Science / Energy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The relationship between energy and the environment has been the basis of many studies over the years, as has the relationship between energy and development, yet both of these approaches may produce distortions. In the first edition of this book, Professor Goldemberg pioneered the study of all three elements in relation to one another. With contributions from Oswaldo Lucon, this second edition has been expanded and updated to cover how energy is related to the major challenges of sustainability faced by the world today. The book starts by conceptualizing energy, and then relates it to human activities, to existing natural resources and to development indicators. It then covers the main environmental problems, their causes and possible solutions. Disaggregating national populations by income and by how different income groups consume energy, the authors identify the differences between local, regional and global environmental impacts, and can thus ascertain who is responsible for them. Finally, they discuss general and specific policies to promote sustainable development in energy. New coverage is included of today's pressing issues, including security, environmental impact assessment and future climate change/renewable energy regimes. The authors also cover all major new international agreements and technological developments. Energy, Environment and Development is the result of many years of study and practical experience in policy formulation, discussion and implementation in these fields by the authors. Written in a technical yet accessible style, the book is aimed at students on a range of courses, as well as non-energy specialists who desire an overview of recent thought in the area.
Could everything we know about fossil fuels be wrong?

For decades, environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet at the same time, by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better.

How can this be?

The explanation, energy expert Alex Epstein argues in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, is that we usually hear only one side of the story. We’re taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives—their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people. And the moral significance of cheap, reliable energy, Epstein argues, is woefully underrated. Energy is our ability to improve every single aspect of life, whether economic or environmental.

If we look at the big picture of fossil fuels compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. We are morally obligated to use more fossil fuels for the sake of our economy and our environment.

Drawing on original insights and cutting-edge research, Epstein argues that most of what we hear about fossil fuels is a myth. For instance . . .

Myth: Fossil fuels are dirty.
Truth: The environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. Fossil fuels don’t take a naturally clean environment and make it dirty; they take a naturally dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a naturally safe climate and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous climate and make it ever safer.

Myth: Fossil fuels are unsustainable, so we should strive to use “renewable” solar and wind.
Truth: The sun and wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels. There are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we have plenty of time to find something cheaper.

Myth: Fossil fuels are hurting the developing world.
Truth: Fossil fuels are the key to improving the quality of life for billions of people in the developing world. If we withhold them, access to clean water plummets, critical medical machines like incubators become impossible to operate, and life expectancy drops significantly. Calls to “get off fossil fuels” are calls to degrade the lives of innocent people who merely want the same opportunities we enjoy in the West.

Taking everything into account, including the facts about climate change, Epstein argues that “fossil fuels are easy to misunderstand and demonize, but they are absolutely good to use. And they absolutely need to be championed. . . . Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous—because human life is the standard of value and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.”
Without a doubt, the topic of energy--from coal, oil, and nuclear to geothermal, solar and wind--is one of the most pressing across the globe. It is of paramount importance to policy makers, economists, environmentalists, and industry as they consider which technologies to invest in, how to promote use of renewable energy sources, and how to plan for dwindling reserves of non-renewable energy. In Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know®, José Goldemberg, a nuclear physicist who has been hailed by Time magazine as one of the world's top "leaders and visionaries on the environment," takes readers through the basics of the world energy system, its problems, and the technical as well as non-technical solutions to the most pressing energy problems. Addressing the issues in a Q-and-A format, Goldemberg answers such questions as: What are wind, wave, and geothermal energy? What are the problems of nuclear waste disposal? What is acid rain? What is the greenhouse gas effect? What is Carbon Capture and Storage? What are smart grids? What is the Kyoto Protocol? What is "cap and trade"? The book sheds light on the role of population growth in energy consumption, renewable energy resources, the amount of available energy reserves (and when they will run out), geopolitical issues, environmental problems, the frequency of environmental disasters, energy efficiency, new technologies, and solutions to changing consumption patterns. It will be the first place to look for information on the vital topic of energy. What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
The relationship between energy and the environment has been the basis of many studies over the years, as has the relationship between energy and development, yet both of these approaches may produce distortions. In the first edition of this book, Professor Goldemberg pioneered the study of all three elements in relation to one another. With contributions from Oswaldo Lucon, this second edition has been expanded and updated to cover how energy is related to the major challenges of sustainability faced by the world today. The book starts by conceptualizing energy, and then relates it to human activities, to existing natural resources and to development indicators. It then covers the main environmental problems, their causes and possible solutions. Disaggregating national populations by income and by how different income groups consume energy, the authors identify the differences between local, regional and global environmental impacts, and can thus ascertain who is responsible for them. Finally, they discuss general and specific policies to promote sustainable development in energy. New coverage is included of today's pressing issues, including security, environmental impact assessment and future climate change/renewable energy regimes. The authors also cover all major new international agreements and technological developments. Energy, Environment and Development is the result of many years of study and practical experience in policy formulation, discussion and implementation in these fields by the authors. Written in a technical yet accessible style, the book is aimed at students on a range of courses, as well as non-energy specialists who desire an overview of recent thought in the area.
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