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Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning [Paperback]

George Monbiot
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jun 2007

Started to worry about just how hot our world is going to get, and whether you can do anything about it? As the effect of climate change grows by the day, so does the amount of hot air and bluster spouted by politicians and businessmen on what we should do about it. What with the excuses, the lies, the fudged figures, the PR greenwashing and the downright misinformation on the power of everything from wind turbines to carbon trading, when it comes to saving the world, most people don't know what they're talking about.

Luckily, George Monbiot - scourge of big business, riler of governments, arch-enemy of climate change deniers everywhere - does. Packed with killer facts and inspiring ideas, shot through with passion and underlined by brilliant investigative journalism, with a copy of Heat you really can protect the planet.

'I defy you to read this book and not feel motivated to change' The Times

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 2nd Edition edition (7 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141026626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141026626
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'cunning...winning...buy it...read it' -- Nicholas Lezard, Papberback choice, The Guardian

About the Author

George Monbiot is one of the world's most influential radical thinkers. Celebrated for both their originality and the depth of their research, his Guardian columns are syndicated all over the world. His website - www.monbiot.com - receives a quarter of a million hits a month.

He is the author of the bestselling books Captive State and The Age of Consent, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. Among the many prizes he has won is the UN Global 500 award for outstanding environmental achievement, presented to him by Nelson Mandela. He is visiting professor at the school of the built environment, Oxford Brookes University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Heat is a hard nosed, unsentimental analysis of the problem of climate change and what can be done about it. Monbiot sets himself a difficult challenge of a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and then tackles each source of carbon emissions in turn, from housing to transport. Some of it is familiar and easy to agree with, such as better insulation, or passive house architecture. Other sections are less comfortable reading - many popular solutions are stripped down and exposed as useless, from biofuels to small scale wind turbines. Ardent greens will find plenty to worry about as nuclear power gets a tacit nod, and the sacred cow of renewable energy gets cut down a size.

A great many ideas are discarded, but this is ultimately a book of solutions, and there are all manner of things that will work. Efficiency measures, tighter planning laws, improved coach travel, combined heat and power, hydrogen fuel cells, tele-working, internet shopping. There is no single answer, but dozens of helpful avenues that will trim carbon from our current lifestyles.

As well as the solutions, the book spends some time exploring why it has been so hard to get climate change onto the political agenda. The findings here are fascinating. A lot has been said about climate change denial and conspiracy theories. I don't have a whole lot of time for that, or for environmentalist martyrdom, but anyone tempted to dismiss those theories entirely should read Monbiot's chapter on `The denial industry.' Obviously not everyone who disagrees with climate science is in the pay of the oil companies, but a shocking number are, and there is plenty of evidence here to prove it.

As always, Heat is well researched, thorough and rational. As a guide to what can practically be done about climate change, as a society, this is second to none.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I have a strong interest in environmental issues and found a lot of good ideas in this book such as the ideas for reworking the UK coach service infrastructure and the fundamental restructuring of supermarkets. The supermarket idea could be further developed as an Argos style system so shoppers could still visit a supermarket, but would select their order from a screen. It is not feasible that the supermarket model could wholly shift to a delivery system, but his proposal has real potential if it was reworked somewhat. So I would recommend this book to anyone interested in ideas for emission reductions.

Additionally, I checked a lot of the references in the book and found that they generally checked out. It is in parts a well researched book but in other parts more emotion based than facts based. There is an excellent chapter on the climate change denial industry, which would be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the area of climate change and is confused by the fact that, seemingly "They can't make up their minds about climate change". Again, I checked these references out and they are solid.

I wanted to give it four stars, but it falls down in a few areas. For a start, he refers to an unpublished paper by a non-climate scientist to say we need to reduce emissions by 90% instead of 80%. So we have a non-scientist reviewing a paper on climate change by a non-climate scientist. He should only refer to peer reviewed papers by climate scientists and would never accept anything else from a climate change denier. I should add that Monbiot is not a scientist, but Matthew Prescott was the reviewer for this book. Writing or reviewing a paper outside your area of expertise is extremely dangerous as you often miss a critical nuance that only a trained eye could spot.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
George Monbiot of The Guardian is in any ways a more upmarket version of Michael Moore - just as determined to slay the dragons of corporate self-interest and government hypocrisy, but going about it with a little more finesse.

In this uncompromising thesis on global warming, he takes the view that carbon emissions need to be reduced by a whopping 90% if we're to avoid hitting the "tipping point" which will accelerate us towards global disaster. Having laid that on the line and debunked the oil industry- funded naysayers, he goes on to point the finger at the ones who are really responsible - us.

It's our inertia, he says, that keeps emissions so high, because once we're used to our gas-guzzlers, our long-haul flights and our out-of-season luxuries, we're far too loath to surrender them in the name of collective survival. And as long as industry keeps on burning the midnight oil, why should we bother with energy-saving lightbulbs?

Monbiot prescribes a diet of privation. If we want to avoid a forcible return to Neolithic hunter-gathering, we need to elect to ration ourselves: and cutting our energy consumption to the bone is the only way ensure a positive outcome. That means eating what's locally available, keeping our cars in the garage and evolving a workable system of public transport and food deliveries. And most of all, it means an end to globetrotting - because there's no fat and effective way to travel that's acceptably carbon-neutral.

As always, though, everyone is waiting for everyone else to act. "Everyone has to move, or no-one moves," says one supermarket boss. "If we do it and nobody else does, we're lost.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is essential reading
I am deeply impressed by both the quantity and quality of the research that has gone into this tightly-argued and well-thought-through book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Forager
5.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Contribution to the Field
George Monbiot, renowned for his capable and coherent work for The Guardian, managed to produce a text of exemplary quality. Read more
Published on 29 May 2012 by L. S. Bozhinov
5.0 out of 5 stars book
Great book , found it hard to put down and will buy the others in the series also.
would recomend.
Published on 16 April 2012 by djgomaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Heat how we can stop the planet burning
It is a massive eye opener and a tremendous review of information on the subject of climate change. I would thoroughly recommend this text to anyone interested in this important... Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2010 by Rossanna06
5.0 out of 5 stars Monbiot's Manifesto
George Monbiot's Guardian columns are always well worth reading, as was his well received and best selling book on the links between big business and the state in Britain (Captive... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by S Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars Another book on climate change!
Heat: How to stop the planet burning, by George Monbiot, Allen Lane (Penguin), 2006, 304 ff.

Another book on climate change! Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2010 by Dr. H. A. Jones
1.0 out of 5 stars Smug cobblers
Mr Monbiot is a smug, useless child of British privilege. His simple, arrogant view of life is that the brightest people - say, him - can solve everything on the planet. Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2009 by Robert W. Howlett
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but don't dismiss the Severn barrage
This is an excellent book, an essential volume for anyone who takes global warming seriously. I find it difficult to see how I can fly again now. Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2009 by M. R. Cytera
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading and dangerous
Green publicist George Monbiot claims that climate change is `the greatest danger the world now faces'. How great is the danger? Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2009 by William Podmore
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on Energy Politics (ish)
I think that Heat is unnecessarily alarmist. Asking for a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 is simply silly. Read more
Published on 1 Dec 2008 by J. Hampton
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