Powering the Future: A Scientist's Guide to Energy Independence

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Pearson Education, Mar 23, 2010 - Education - 352 pages
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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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User Review  - PaolaM - LibraryThing

A book about the various energy sources - it is full of data and their sources, and it tries to balance the various views on what is sometimes a contentious topic, especially when it comes to the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - love2laf - LibraryThing

What an interesting read! I loved the thoroughness of the costs of different types of electricity; hidden, environmental, set up and clean up. I finally feel like I have an understanding based on more than just the media buzz. Read full review


Conventional energy sources
New energy sources
Designing an energy system

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About the author (2010)

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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