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J. Robert Gibson "Robert Gibson" (Hong Kong)

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The World We Made: Alex McKay's Story from 2050
The World We Made: Alex McKay's Story from 2050
by Jonathon Porritt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to create a better future read this book., 8 Feb 2014
How will humanity cope with climate change, resource depletion, mass extinctions in the animal kingdom, providing a dignified old age for people as modern medicine extends lifespans, rebalancing of the global economy as developing countries catch up developed ones and the many other sustainability challenges we face?

This book gives answers in 49 short, illustrated, easy-to-read chapters. The chapters are independent so readers can choose the topics which most concern them.

While I find it over-optimistic and don’t agree with all the positions it takes (e.g. I’m pro nuclear power), I strongly recommend it for anyone concerned about the challenges we face and wanting to make the world a better place.


Cairo: The City Victorious
Cairo: The City Victorious
by Max Rodenbeck
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing history alive, 7 Nov 2010
Max Rodenbeck splendidly takes anecdotes and expands them into a vivid, insightful picture of different aspects of the city.

A most enjoyable and informative read.


The Amazing Adventures of Betsy and Niki
The Amazing Adventures of Betsy and Niki
by Kasyan Bartlett
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic aviation history with the smell of action still fresh, 26 Jan 2009
Wonderfully illustrated stories of daring-do from the years just after World War II when a few adventurous individuals with war surplus DC3s started Cathay Pacific Airways. Told by Captain Chic Eather who became Cathay Pacific fifth salaried pilot when he joined it in 1946.

This book provides short stories which people of all ages can appreciate. If it wets your appetite you can order the DVD of `Syd's Last Pirate' from the Author's website - but this is over 500 pages.


Kyoto2: How to Manage the Global Greenhouse
Kyoto2: How to Manage the Global Greenhouse
by Oliver Tickell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.03

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The solution to global warming, 26 Aug 2008
Do you agree with the G8 that at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is required by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change?
Do you worry that it will not be possible to achieve this?
If you do then read this book. It is a well written, convincing argument for a `Kyoto2' solution which will work after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Kyoto2 has three legs:
1. Put a price on most carbon emissions by requiring producers of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas producing industrial process to buy tradable carbon emission credits. (Chapter 4)
2. Regulate to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions - for example energy star labelling and building codes (Chapter 5)
3. Use money from auctioning carbon credits to pay for research on low carbon technology, on reducing land-use emissions and on adapting to climate change (Chapter 6)

While putting a price on carbon is the `main mechanism' of the proposal, regulating for energy efficiency and funding of new technology play a major role in reducing emissions. Their contribution reduces the amount of change which must be driven by the price on greenhouse gas emissions and thus allows this price to be moderate - perhaps US$30/tonne. This US$30/tonne provides US$1,000 billion/annum funding for technology research and makes low carbon technologies more attractive but doesn't inflict severe stress on the economy.

In support of its proposal, the book notes the ozone fighting Montreal Protocol as a very effective demonstration of the merits of regulating emissions and funding research. Did you know the Montreal Protocol has reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than the Kyoto Protocol, and has done so at substantially less cost per tonne than Kyoto?

The book has two significant omissions:
1. Little coverage of how its `Kyoto2' proposal might be implemented. In particular how a phased implementation might work. But don't dispair. Most of the elements of Kyoto2 are already part of policy proposals under discussion but the proportions are wrong. As Kyoto2 explains we need more action on regulation and direct funding and a simplification of the market mechanisms.
2. Not considering how revenue and competitive advantage issues drive businesses to adopt energy inefficient practices. These issues greatly increase the strength of the argument for the regulatory controls proposed in Chapter 5.

The book lives up to its title `How to Manage the Global Greenhouse'. It is an important proposal for a solution which anyone concerned with preventing dangerous climate change should read.


Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Climate Change - Is Time Running Out?
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Climate Change - Is Time Running Out?
by Elizabeth Kolbert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.99

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great summary of the global warming problem, 3 Feb 2007
An excellent, brief, readable summary of the evidence for global warming, its scientific explanation, its consequences and the sorry history of our leaders' response to the problem over the last thirty years. The anecdotes and character sketches of the scientists involved bring the issues to life.

The weakness of the book is the lack of pictures and colour graphics to complement the excellent writing. Let us hope that the next edition will remedy this and bring the book to a wider audience.

Paraphrasing the last two paragraphs of the book to show its excellence:

'Ice cores show the last glaciation was a time of frequent and traumatic climate swings. During that period, humans who were, genetically speaking, just like ourselves produced nothing permanent other than isolated cave paintings and large piles of mastodon bones. Then, 10,000 years ago the climate settled down and so did we, building towns and inventing agriculture, metallurgy, writing and the other technologies that future civilisation would rely upon. These developments would not have been possible without human ingenuity, but, until the climate cooperated, ingenuity, it seems, wasn't enough.'

'Ice core records also show that the earth will soon be hotter than it has been at any time since our species evolved. The feedbacks that have been identified in the climate system - the ice-albedo feedback, the water vapour feedback, the feedback between temperatures and carbon storage in the permafrost - take small changes to the system and amplify them into much larger forces. Perhaps the most unpredictable feedback of all is the human one. With six billion people, the risks are everywhere apparent. A disruption in monsoon patters, a shift in ocean currents, a major drought - any one of these could easily produce millions of refugees. Will we find an adequate global response to global warming or will we retreat into ever narrower and more destructive forms of self interest? It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.'

Read the whole book for the compelling story behind this message.


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