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Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning Paperback – 7 Jun 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141026626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141026626
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

About the Author

George Monbiot studied zoology at Oxford, and has spent his career as a journalist and environmentalist, working with others to defend the natural world he loves. His celebrated Guardian columns are syndicated all over the world. He is the author of the bestselling books Captive State, The Age of Consent, Bring on the Apocalypse and Heat, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. His latest book, Feral, was shortlisted for the Great Outdoors Book of the Year award. Among the many prizes he has won is the UN Global 500 award for outstanding environmental achievement, presented to him by Nelson Mandela.


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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding book - a call for action that must happen now if we are to avoid climate change spiralling out of control. Its strengths are that it describes the issues with great clarity and conjures up possible solutions for dealing with them. Not all of these seem politically or practically realistic, but in a way that's not the point: they demonstrate that action can be taken and climate change kept in check.

I would strongly recommend, as a companion volume, The Rough Guide to Climate Change, which in many ways is an easier book to get yourself up to scratch on the science and the issues. It is very clearly written, with excellent diagrams, ranges widely over issues and solutions, and demystifies in the way that Rough Guides are so good at.
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Format: Hardcover
Heat: How to stop the planet burning, by George Monbiot, Allen Lane (Penguin), 2006, 304 ff.

Another book on climate change!
By Howard Jones

Do we need yet another book on climate change, in particular, on global warming? Well it seems that indeed we do, as the message is still not getting across to enough people. One or two unusually cold winters in Britain and America and people are all too eager to believe that global warming is a fiction - a right-wing plot to prevent industrialisation of underdeveloped countries, a left-wing plot to destroy American capitalism, or simply a plot by puritanical religious fanatics to curb our hedonistic lifestyles. The melting of both polar icecaps and the majority of glaciers around the world (a very few are increasing in size), the flooding of low-lying Pacific islands through increase in sea level, the increase in frequency and severity of tropical storms and of forest fires in Australia are all conveniently ignored by those whom Monbiot describes as constituting The Denial Industry. Thus Peter Hitchens of The Mail on Sunday and brother of Christopher (`God is not Great') Hitchins said in 2001: `The greenhouse effect probably doesn't exist. There is as yet no evidence for it' - there was then and there is even more now. The majority of informed scientific opinion (yes, there are dissenters) is that the global climate is changing and that human activity is the greatest contributor, both directly and indirectly (through the increased rearing of animals, for example). George Monbiot is an investigative journalist at The Guardian newspaper.

Monbiot systematically explores the main factors contributing to emission of greenhouse gases and what we can do to halt and even try to reverse this destructive trend.
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