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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and practical guide
Chris Goodall has both done his homework and presented it all in an accessible way. This book will give you a good understanding of what the biggest carbon issues are in your lifestyle, how the emissions arrise and what you can do about them. He's transparent in his analysis and about where his data comes from, so you can make up your own mind whether you agree with him...
Published on 7 Jun 2010 by Mike Berners-lee

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
This book picks apart the average (UK) citizen's annual energy consumption, pointing out which elements of our lives are responsible for the greatest emission of greenhouse gases and which are the most feasible candidates for improvement. Its author likes numbers and statistics, making this a helpful tool for those wanting to calculate their own carbon footprints; on the...
Published on 25 July 2010 by pitkataistelu


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and practical guide, 7 Jun 2010
This review is from: How to Live a Low-Carbon Life: The Individual's Guide to Tackling Climate Change (Paperback)
Chris Goodall has both done his homework and presented it all in an accessible way. This book will give you a good understanding of what the biggest carbon issues are in your lifestyle, how the emissions arrise and what you can do about them. He's transparent in his analysis and about where his data comes from, so you can make up your own mind whether you agree with him at every step.

The first edition of this book broke new ground in the quality of its analysis of the carbon in our lifestyles. This second edition is even better, with the important inclusion emisions that are embeded in goods and services, including those that are imported from overseas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, 25 July 2010
This review is from: How to Live a Low-Carbon Life: The Individual's Guide to Tackling Climate Change (Paperback)
This book picks apart the average (UK) citizen's annual energy consumption, pointing out which elements of our lives are responsible for the greatest emission of greenhouse gases and which are the most feasible candidates for improvement. Its author likes numbers and statistics, making this a helpful tool for those wanting to calculate their own carbon footprints; on the other hand, most figures are very rough estimates, so the rest of us are more than justified to accept the relative values and forget the details.

In his introduction, the author explains that consumer demand has to drive the carbon revolution, as politicians and the free market can do nothing without being moved by widespread public conviction. Accordingly, the book's focus does not stray beyond what the individual can do to reduce greenhouse emissions, rarely mentioning community efforts, such as communally-owned wind turbines or grassroots workspace efforts. In other words, this is not a full-range work on what needs to be done to counter dangerous climate change, and as such it is certainly not demand-driven; instead, it is a guide on improvements in individual housing, purchasing, and commuting choices.

The author imagines his readers to be fairly conventional members of society. He therefore repeatedly avoids discussing carbon-reducing strategies that would demand such lifestyle-changes as he thinks might conflict with the broader public's sense of entitled comfort. Thus, for instance, although he goes into great detail regarding (hot) water savings, he never suggests that many people don't need five-minute showers, and he flatly accepts without challenge the idea that people need daily showers. Similarly, it might have been worth mentioning that there is a small but growing market for mechanical (i.e. hand-cranked) washers, or that a house with a cellar does not strictly need a refrigerator at all. Such arguable omissions combine with a style of discussion that comes across as rather detached at times, so that certain matters that may need more emphasising in order to win over the public do not receive this extra attention. Although Goodall states quite clearly, for instance, that reducing one's consumption of meat and dairy would have a real impact, his cautious (and balanced) presentation of the facts may lead his readers to conclude that this is an area where little is to be gained, a sentiment quite at odds with current research, for instance that by the UN's FAO, which goes unmentioned. Bicycling goes unmentioned except for a very brief paragraph recognising that bicycling went quite unmentioned in the previous edition, and that it is far more energy-efficient than walking and therefore good for small distances. Since it is longer commutes and visits by car that make up the larger party by far of personal car-emissions, however, Goodall seems to see little point in discussing the bicycle any further.

That aside, the book is full of eye-openers regarding the relative energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of various processes, and it offers some effective solutions to reducing both. It is most definitely worth a quick read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, 30 Mar 2011
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Ed Atkinson (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Live a Low-Carbon Life: The Individual's Guide to Tackling Climate Change (Paperback)
Comprehensive and quite heavy going. I'd just read 'How bad are bananas?' and it filled in some more detail which was great. I still hoped for a little more on my food. Eg for which months do salad crops from Spain need heated greenhouses?
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