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Challenged by Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change Paperback – 15 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (15 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521145597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521145596
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 769,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'The author's enthusiasm leaps out of every page and the result is a very readable, jargon-free and informative book on climate change. As a geologist he sets the present in the context of past changes. Anecdotes, personal reminiscences and clear science will captivate and inform the general reader and may well offer new insights to the specialist. A really good read.' Lord Oxburgh, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee

'As a geologist Lovell gives an authoritative insider's view of the oil industry's various approaches to climate change and the contribution industry can make through carbon capture and storage. Enlivening the book with geological insights, he also maps out the government frameworks needed to meet the climate challenge.' Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former Chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell and Anglo American plc

'Bryan Lovell's voice is a new one on the climate change stage. Compelling, lucid, and enjoyable - this book demystifies geology for the non-specialist and elucidates how geologists and the oil industry can contribute solutions to the problem of global climate change.' Robert Socolow, Princeton University

'Bryan Lovell has produced a remarkable book which draws on a lifetime of experience in the oil industry to identify new and creative ways of dealing with the challenge of global warming. This is a book which deserves the widest audience not just within the scientific community and the energy industry but also at the highest levels of policy making.' Nick Butler, University of Cambridge and Senior Policy Adviser, 10 Downing Street

'Bryan weaves a compellingly entertaining story - the Oil Industry's change in attitude to carbon is well documented, as is the capability for 'putting the carbon back'. The book then highlights the author's frustration at the continued absence of an international regulatory regime that is capable of addressing the real objective function.' David Jenkins, Director of BHP Billiton plc and former Director Technology BP plc

'The central theme of Challenged by Carbon, that the oil and gas industry is a vital part of the solution as we transition slowly to a lower carbon energy future, is one that I heartily endorse.' Scott W. Tinker, University of Texas at Austin, State Geologist of Texas and former President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists

'This is an unusual book, intertwining two stories, one of them 55 million years old, and one less than 55 years old. I've not heard either story told before, and both are fascinating.' David MacKay, Chief Scientific Advisor of the Department of Energy and Climate Change

''Climate change fatigue' is said to be an ailment slowly spreading through the media. As Copenhagen takes over the headlines, Bryan Lovell's lively new book - peering into the doubts, concerns and prejudices that have dogged climate negotiators - is an instant tonic for this malady.' Nature

'This book speaks to the experts with an authoritative voice.' The Times

'In an engaging way, Bryan Lovell's book is dealing with the serious issue of how to double the amount of energy supplied by the middle of this century with half the carbon dioxide. … It is a thought-provoking, important book dealing with one of the most important issues of our time, that should be read.' Miriam Kastner, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

'Bryan Lovell is well placed to overcome [climate change] problems … the author makes some interesting connections between rocks, Romans and reservoirs. This is a thought-provoking book, which incorporates much of the latest research.' Don Hallett, The Geological Society

'… an important book which should be read by anyone concerned about the problems (and possible solutions) of global warming. As a bonus, it's very well written and interesting to read throughout - highly recommended.' The Leading Edge

'… it is very much [the] personal insights which provide this volume with its distinctive voice and as such it is a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on climate change.' Environmental Liability

'… this book comes with praise from many scientific and corporate leaders in the oil and gas industry in the UK and the US … an encouraging book …' Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Bulletin

Book Description

Offering a unique geological perspective on the oil industry's impact on climate change, Bryan Lovell describes the gradual greening of the oil industry over the last decade. Challenging established prejudices, he outlines a new role for the oil industry as environmental saviours, through the capture and underground storage of carbon dioxide.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book tells two stories - one, based on the geological evidence from 55 million years ago, about the last major climate change 'experiment' the Earth went through; the other story takes place across the last 20 years, and focuses on 'Big Oil's' changing view of the climate change issue. The author explains both stories in terms laymen and experts alike will understand, bringing clarity and understanding to all sides of the argument, in a personal style. Ultimately, this book shows us that the oil industry can play a dynamic role in offsetting the impact of the use of fossil fuels, but that this will only work in tandem with government legislation and a shift in mindset of individual users.

I highly recommend reading this book - it comes from an oil-man, an 'insider' who understands the complexity of the geological message but also the oil business and the technologies involved. Bryan is not afraid to challenge views held by all sides of the climate change 'argument', trying to bring some realism, as well as a sense of urgency to the issue.

I've been priviledged to see a lot of the content of this book as it evolved through lectures, discussions and presentations that Bryan gave over the last 10 years. I'm extremely pleased to see the information now in this format, so that it can reach an even wider audience. Personally, I'm a supporter of the messages coming out of 'Challenged by Carbon', but even if you don't agree with everything Bryan says in the book, it can be a catalyst for some interesting and timely conversations at all levels of oil industry and amongst policy makers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tomkosk on 7 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is well worth the read if you have an interest in the oil 'majors' (Exxon, BP, Shell) and how they have dealt with the threat of climate change to date. Apart from the oil companies, this book digs into the geology side of global warming evidence, giving insight into what we can find 'from the rocks' and how this helps us predict what we may face.

In addition to recounting the oil companies' internal debates with their geologists, it lays out basic mitigation strategies and focuses on Carbon Capture and Storage and the geology side of this approach.

Overall very interesting and well written, from an 'insider' in the Oil+Gas area.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sluning on 28 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I was quite disappointed with this book. A famous author, lots of starring VIP's, nice figures and an attractive layout. Unfortunately, Bryan Lovell treats this fascinating and important subject in a very unbalanced way, in my opinion. His main argument for a forthcoming climate catastrophe is the CO2 and temperature increase around the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, some 55 million years ago. He does not discuss that present-day climate sensitivity of CO2 is most vigorously debated. Clearly, in order to create dangerous amounts of global warming, CO2 requires a strong positive feedback by water vapour, a mechanism that is far from fully understood. Furthermore, solar activity has correlated very well with the temperature evolution over the past 10.000 years, providing a strong natural climate driver. Like CO2, also solar variations require a strong feedback mechanism to create significant temperature response. The potential feedback process is currently under investigation by Svensmark and a team at CERN running the CLOUD experiment. Nothing of this is mentioned in this book.

Based on his assumption that CO2 is a proven pollutant, the author encourages to invest massively into carbon capture and storage (CCS) to trap this greenhouse gas. However, before the real climate sensitivity of CO2 is better understood, these large investments may be questionable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
This is an important book 1 April 2011
By Douglas Tingey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a fan of the oil industry. They are without a doubt a large part of the climate change mitigation problem. I fear we are doomed to failure without a conscious intervention in rewiring the corporate mandate/social licence that these behemoths enjoy from government (after all companies are but pieces of paper issued by governments) to ensure that a significant part of their cost of doing business is to work the transition away from the open combustion of fossil fuels. Perhaps the author of this book is onto something in suggesting that CCS is a path for this industry to have a future that is part of the solution. I am sure the rocks have something to say about this!
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