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8 of 8 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 23 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 13 months ago by paulyb


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, 12 Oct. 2013
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K. Paxton "katypax" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Very good book, goes into detail without being too technical. Timely and thought provoking, I've had many a debate with colleagues over the issues covered in this book.
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight up fascinating and clearheaded scrutiny of the links between climate change and investment markets, 30 Sept. 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)
Clear, well structured and politically unbiased. The first 100 pages is brilliant, the rest old wine on new bottles. The explanations of the links between risk analysis of investments and climate change tipping points are spot on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do read it!, 10 Jan. 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)
This is a very important book. It is well written, with helpful tables of figures and statistics which are quite clear and easy to understand. It sets out the crucial questions about how we can control carbon emissions, which if unchecked will lead to runaway climate change, with unpredictable results for the world's future. The scenarios described are scary, but it ends on a hopeful note by suggesting what we can all do, individually and collectively, to preserve the earth for our children and grandchildren.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent run down of climate dynamics, 21 April 2014
An excellent book, well thought through and well argued. A must read for anyone interested in truly understanding the dynamics of addressing climate change, including the idea of 'stranded assets'.

Sam Gill,
Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Investment Organisation
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good review of climate change., 29 Dec. 2014
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N. Waby - See all my reviews
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This book presents a very good general review of climate change that covers a lot more than "the burning question". Some areas are covered poorly, like geo-engineering, while other issues are covered in a lot greater depth.
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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, 2 April 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)
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.

There are 180 pages of evidence of the badness of human economic activity, but I don't need convincing. There are just a handful of pages that suggest that nuclear is not a good idea, despite the fact that France has an incredibly successful nuclear fleet. Carbon capture and storage is glossed over in 2 pages, and fails to acknowledge with any vigour that China alone has almost 900,000 megawatts of coal fired power capacity that would take trillions of dollars to replace with renewables. So why is carbon capture more or less dismissed with "governments and companies could be working much harder...", but boldly admits that green opposition to CCS is an obstacle. This is one of the few 'tell it like it is' statements that comes out in the book which I think has any meat (or quorn).

Let me repeat, 900,000 MW of coal power that has no carbon capture, despite the fact that the oil and gas industry have been capturing carbon for decades. So why is the green lobby dismissing nuclear and CCS in ALL circumstances? These techs may not be appropriate in many regions (Fukushima and any eartquake zone or politically unstable region), BUT there is a place for these techs.

Another criticism about a 'tell it like it is' book is that there is rarely an attempt to consider the 'resource' implications for renewables, ie land area. Nobody considers the finite resource of land as a limit to renewables, we assume the wind and sun is free, then there must be limitless energy. Endless energy maybe (for any square metre of land), but not without limits to capacity (ie the number of square metres available to us).

Also, carbon intensive materials such as steel should be treated as such, but wind turbines require vast amounts of steel, yet a shift to electric based methods (while the world shifts to electric vehicles) doesn't address where the electricity will come from. I think where steel is manufactured inefficiently and doesn't use enough recycled metals is poor practiced and should be stopped, but these things have to be measured and targeted before banning mining of iron ore and steel making using coal.

A great deal of truth in the complexity of the task is discussed in other books (eg Sustainability without the hot air), which is often omitted from books like the Burning Question, but let's be clear, the point of this book is anti-fossil fuels (hence the quotes which cover the book from upstanding members of the green community).

In summary, there are more open ended debates than firm (technological) action points beyond action such as "a massive increase in efforts...", the last point that leaves me wondering what effort? what's massive? There's little sense of scale for the road ahead, but there's plenty of scale regarding the damage that has been done, so if you still need converting, this is an ok book. If you're already converted (like me), it's a good book to reinforce your views, but has almost no concrete (sorry about the C-intensive phrase) solution to replacing fossil fuels today.

One thing is for sure, Britain and its industrial revolution puts us as one of the worst CO2 offenders in history, although today the average UK citizen emits 8.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. That's far too much, but less than solar rich Germany, less than hydro rich Norway, about the same as wind rich Denmark. And even less than the average Greenlander. So if you're asking 'what can I do', you can do a lot lot more, but don't beat yourself up about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The problems of Climate Change set out clearly, 20 Jan. 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)
This is very well written and easy to follow.
The suggested solutions are global, national and local.
We all need to act.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding, 19 May 2013
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Mr. Charles P. Ross (UK) - 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)
A book to read & absorb. Well written to make it easy to comprehend. Amazing subject detail revealed, that will make you revisit the text after you take it other information.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Al Gore review, 19 April 2013
By 
M. Ellingham "Mark Ellingham" (London, England) - 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)
Can't resist sharing this review from Al Gore. He doesn't often do them.
`The Burning Question is a fascinating examination of the forces that have led to our current predicament and it presents an important framework for a sustainable future. I recommend it highly. The climate crisis is a challenge unprecedented in its scale and complexity. We simply must confront this existential challenge and stop making it worse. That will require the awakening and activism of people all around the world.'
Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of the United States
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