A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

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The first book to offer a proven, fast, inexpensive, practical way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic climate change.

As climate change quickly approaches a series of turning points that guarantee disastrous outcomes, a solution is hiding in plain sight. Several countries have already replaced fossil fuels with low-carbon energy sources, and done so rapidly, in one to two decades. By following their methods, we could decarbonize the global economy by midcentury, replacing fossil fuels even while world energy use continues to rise. But so far we have lacked the courage to really try.
In this clear-sighted and compelling book, Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist explain how clean energy quickly replaced fossil fuels in such places as Sweden, France, South Korea, and Ontario. Their people enjoyed prosperity and growing energy use in harmony with the natural environment. They didn't do this through personal sacrifice, nor through 100 percent renewables, but by using them in combination with an energy source the Swedes call kärnkraft, hundreds of times safer and cleaner than coal.
Clearly written and beautifully illustrated, yet footnoted with extensive technical references, Goldstein and Qvist's book will provide a new touchstone in discussions of climate change. It could spark a shift in world energy policy that, in the words of Steven Pinker's foreword, literally saves the world.

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About the author

Joshua S. Goldstein is an International Relations professor who writes about the big issues facing humanity. He is the author of six books about war, peace, diplomacy, and economic history, and a bestselling college textbook, International Relations. Among other awards, his book War and Gender (2001) won the International Studies Association's "Book of the Decade Award" in 2010. Goldstein has a B.A. from Stanford and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. He is professor emeritus at American University in Washington, DC, and research scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he lives. See www.joshuagoldstein.com.

Staffan A. Qvist is a Swedish engineer, scientist and consultant to clean energy projects around the world. He has lectured and authored numerous studies in the scientific literature on various topics relating to energy technology and policy, nuclear reactor design and safety, and climate change mitigation strategies - research that has been covered by Scientific American and many other media outlets. Trained as a nuclear engineer (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), he is now involved in renewable energy development projects and also works with several "fourth generation" nuclear start-ups. For more information, see www.staffanqvist.com.
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Additional Information

Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Jan 8, 2019
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781541724099
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Energy Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
Science / Global Warming & Climate Change
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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What are the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works?

"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.

If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.

Are Americans in denial about the costs of the War on Terror? In The Real Price of War, Joshua S. Goldstein argues that we need to face up to what the war costs the average American—both in taxes and in changes to our way of life. Goldstein contends that in order to protect the United States from future attacks, we must fight—and win—the War on Terror. Yet even as President Bush campaigns on promises of national security, his administration is cutting taxes and increasing deficit spending, resulting in too little money to eradicate terrorism and a crippling burden of national debt for future generations to pay.
The Real Price of War breaks down billion-dollar government expenditures into the prices individual Americans are paying through their taxes. Goldstein estimates that the average American household currently pays $500 each month to finance war. Beyond the dollars and cents that finance military operations and increased security within the U.S., the War on Terror also costs America in less tangible ways, including lost lives, reduced revenue from international travelers, and budget pressures on local governments. The longer the war continues, the greater these costs. In order to win the war faster, Goldstein argues for an increase in war funding, at a cost of about $100 per household per month, to better fund military spending, homeland security, and foreign aid and diplomacy.
Americans have been told that the War on Terror is a war without sacrifice. But as Goldstein emphatically states: “These truths should be self-evident: The nation is at war. The war is expensive. Someone has to pay for it.”
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon.”—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon

It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, “500-year” storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually.

This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today.

Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation.

Praise for The Uninhabitable Earth

“The Uninhabitable Earth is the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet.”—Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

“Riveting. . . . Some readers will find Mr. Wallace-Wells’s outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too.”—The Economist
• New York Times bestseller •

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world

“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.” —Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming 

“There’s been no real way for ordinary people to get an understanding of what they can do and what impact it can have. There remains no single, comprehensive, reliable compendium of carbon-reduction solutions across sectors. At least until now. . . . The public is hungry for this kind of practical wisdom.” —David Roberts, Vox

“This is the ideal environmental sciences textbook—only it is too interesting and inspiring to be called a textbook.” —Peter Kareiva, Director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA

In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.
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