Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning Paperback – 7 Jun 2007
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'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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
None of the correctives proposed here are beyond us, either as individuals or nations. Monbiot, with admirable clarity and understanding of how to accomplish them, lines out easily implemented steps we can take and/or propose to our neighbours. After introductory comments on various "alternate" energy options, Monbiot discusses how we reached the energy consumption levels we enjoy. He deems our situation a "Faustian Pact" and heads each chapter with a quote from Christopher Marlowe's play "Doctor Faustus". Like Faust, we have made a deal, but it's with Nature, not with a devil. For Monbiot, Mephistopheles is fossil fuel and our use of it has advanced. The time for settling up on the bargain is now.
After a massive research effort, Monbiot is able to describe the problem in graphic detail and targets the means of continuing our existence. He quickly dismisses the "envirosceptics" as people who are as out of touch as those who believe in magic. There are some imposing numbers involved. The UK uses 400 terawatt hours per year. A terawatt is a one with twelve zeros trailing after it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am deeply impressed by both the quantity and quality of the research that has gone into this tightly-argued and well-thought-through book. Read morePublished on 15 April 2013 by Forager
I have a strong interest in environmental issues and found a lot of good ideas in this book such as the ideas for reworking the UK coach service infrastructure and the fundamental... Read morePublished on 17 Nov. 2012 by hhodkinson
George Monbiot, renowned for his capable and coherent work for The Guardian, managed to produce a text of exemplary quality. Read morePublished on 29 May 2012 by L. S. Bozhinov
Great book , found it hard to put down and will buy the others in the series also.
It is a massive eye opener and a tremendous review of information on the subject of climate change. I would thoroughly recommend this text to anyone interested in this important... Read morePublished on 15 Nov. 2010 by Rossanna06
George Monbiot's Guardian columns are always well worth reading, as was his well received and best selling book on the links between big business and the state in Britain (Captive... Read morePublished on 28 Sept. 2010 by S Wood
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