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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most essential reading
Global Warming: The Human Contribution
The Burning Question is a most thought provoking book and is extremely well written for the general reader and should be compulsory reading for the policy makers of this world. It is a most welcome addition to the literature of global warming which suffers greatly from many books written by extreme sceptics who merely...
Published 14 months ago by J. Barrett

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really bold enough to come up with inconvenient truths other than the usual fossil fuel debate
Climate change is happening, and fossil fuels are the main cause. This is a well written and informative book, but rather insipid in parts using the usual language like "we must try harder" and "take a lead" in every aspect of fossil fuel, political and foreign policy. These are rather weak statements, but the reason for taking such inspiring action is provided...
Published 5 months ago by paulyb


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most essential reading, 11 Jun 2013
By 
J. Barrett (West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
Global Warming: The Human Contribution
The Burning Question is a most thought provoking book and is extremely well written for the general reader and should be compulsory reading for the policy makers of this world. It is a most welcome addition to the literature of global warming which suffers greatly from many books written by extreme sceptics who merely demonstrate their ignorance of the underlying science. I read the very clear ebook version.
We are reminded that the IPCC recommends that a global mean temperature rise since the beginning of the Industrial Age should not be more than 2C, i.e., an extra 1.2C above the 0.8C that has already occurred. The authors deal with the difficulties involved with efforts to restrict fossil fuel emissions to another 565 gigatonnes of CO2 before the `danger' level is achieved. They point out that there is more than enough fossil fuel in the ground to produce sufficient warming. The burning of the known reserves would be more than enough and that would present problems to the producers who would no longer need to do any further exploration.
In part 2 the counterintuitive ways in which the global economy absorbs efficiency improvements are described. This section is particularly important and needs to be spread far and wide. For example, if cars are made more efficient so that more distance can be covered for the same amount of fuel the outcome is not necessarily any saving of fuel and its essential emission of CO2. The tendency would be for people to live further away from their workplace, to live in the countryside in cheaper houses and cause more facilities and schools to be built... IT has not led to energy savings. We still use mounds of paper and the postal letter service still exists. IT allows the sharing of thousands of photographic images that would not occur otherwise. The invention of modern ways of lighting houses has meant that the tungsten filament version has become almost obsolete. This could save energy, but we now tend to leave lights on in rooms not being occupied, we light more corners of selected rooms. Any methods that reduce energy use by any means leads to financial savings. Having more money to spend allows the purchase of extra goods and the extra emissions that are involved in their manufacture.
The basic physics of the greenhouse effect is not included; rather it is accepted without comment. The book is not meant to cover such technicalities; these are well covered in several books including my own ebook: Global Warming: The Human Contribution. My book has a discussion of the asymmetry of global warming that the IPCC 2C limit ignores. The warming over the last 33 years has occurred almost entirely in the Northern Hemisphere. That tendency, if it continues until the global 2C has occurred indicates that the mean temperature of the Northern Hemisphere would increase by some 4C and that does mean bad news for all concerned.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on how fossil fuel use must immediately change, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
This is a very readable account of the challenges around fossil fuel use over the coming decades.

It begins by outlining the history and current state of carbon dioxide emissions from man's use of fossil fuels. It explains how, despite high certainty in climate science and increased awareness of this, we are still on a 'business as usual' trajectory for fossil fuel use over the coming years. The immense political challenge with changing this is realistically appraised, as are the current role of increased energy efficiency and growth in renewables. It concludes with some thoughts on the role that everyone can play in bringing about meaningful action.

The book succeeds in putting across both the fairly depressing gravity of the problem and of the solution. It also succeeds in inspiring the reader to think about their responsibilities and how action at all levels of society is needed. Throughout it is well referenced and seems a balanced representation of consensus views. I would highly recommended it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 9 Jun 2013
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The main problem identified in the book is that the vast majority of people simply don't want to believe that climate change is threatening life on this planet, and that it is a man made problem that mankind needs to react to now. The book gives very clear summaries of how the problem has arisen, the hurdles we need to cross to alleviate the problem (its already too far gone to stop), and the risks to our descendants if we don't act now. This book should be compulsory reading for every school in the world in the hope that a knowledgeable young generation will force an end to the horrific complacency that abounds today, fuelled by vested interests and climate deniers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best book on climate change, 30 Aug 2013
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I highly recommend this book. It is the most considered and researched book on climate change I have ever read. No use of convoluted words or messages. Beautifully articulate and thought provoking! Buy, borrow or steal the book - just ensure you read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and robust piece of work, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
Excellent book. Good understanding and explanation of how the energy system, global energy demand growth, and politics are intertwined. A bit light on the solutions but at least the reader has a good grasp of the challenge ahead after reading the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frighteningly good read, 28 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
Well written and structured for the lay person interested in this most important of topics. Makes an excellent job of cutting through the opinion, pseudo science and downright self interest to inform clearly about essentially a difficult problem we should all be expected to understand and start acting upon.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling set of stories about the energy system, 13 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
As a person who works in the energy industry it is pretty rare to find someone outside it that has really got to grips with the reality of what is going on and the huge scale of the oil, gas and coal supply chain. But these guys do, Read my review at:
http://blogs.shell.com/climatechange/2013/05/review/
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book..., 3 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
If you read one book on environmental issues/climate change EVER, make it this one. It is accessible, well written and the author has an impressive overview of the subject. The book discusses unflinchingly the enormity & urgency of the challenge, yet genuinely has hope that we can overcome it and gives his ideas as to where we should & shouldn't focus our efforts. This book demonstrates that apart from being a very serious issue, it is also an intensely fascinating one. I really cannot recommend it highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book. It puts environmental issues of the use ..., 5 July 2014
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This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
A great book. It puts environmental issues of the use of Fossil fuels in perspective. Both economic and political arguments well tied to scientific research. As a passionate non-environmentalist do-gooder I found this book well researched and excellently written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone, 25 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? (Paperback)
As a big fan of Mike Berners-Lee's previous book How Bad Are Bananas? I was looking forward to reading this one, and it didn't disappoint. The title and cover are a little misleading as the book covers far more ground than they suggest. From the basics of climate change through to the psychology of why people struggle to accept or do something about it, this is both a fantastic primer for anyone who's coming to the subject for the first time or a good "next level" read for those who want more detail than the basics. The book doesn't pull its punches and the enormity of the situation facing us all can frankly be a depressing read but the authors do their best to find a silver lining where it can realistically be found. Highly recommended.
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