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on 14 November 2009
First, do not be confused, this is not a book dealing with the science or the GW controversy like the An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (AIT), of which back then I wrote a critical book review here at Amazon because of Gore's exaggerations and some flagrant inaccuracies. Our Choice is a well-research and comprehensive treatise written for the general public (there is even a children version - Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis (Young Reader Edition)) This time Gore did his homework very thoroughly, and all possible options regarding low-carbon fuels and energy are examined, to a level of detail only found in more technical books. Also, and for the benefit of the layman, for each of the options he briefly explains how energy production works. The chapters on natural resources, deforestation, and population are quite good.

What most impressed me is the fact that Gore does not pick any winners beforehand, as many environmentalist groups love to do; instead he presents the whole menu of options, even the potential of nuclear energy is discussed, and surprisingly, also bioethanol, as both of these options are rejected by many environmentalist advocates. He even goes into the details explaining why Brazilian sugarcane ethanol is sustainable and a low-carbon fuel as compared to American corn ethanol, though his favorites are second and third generation biofuels. He also presents quite a fair discussion of the food vs fuel debate. Gore recognizes the importance of clean low-carbon fuels and electricity in order for the new electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles to actually contribute in reducing greenhouse gases. It also called my attention that right from the beginning Gore now relates the urgent need for low-carbon energy not only to climate change but also for national security and energy independence reasons.

Despite a more technical and moderate approach, every time Gore talks about climate change he insists on remind us about the "scientific consensus" and the "fact" that the debate is over. I find this repeatedly preaching really annoying because it feels like scientism, in the omnipotence sense. In the first place, avoiding such unnecessary repetition could have helped the book to be attractive also to the "non believers" but concerned with energy independence and national security. Moreover, he seems to be trying to convince the reader that these assertions are an absolute truth not to be questioned, reflecting his blind faith on scientists, particularly climate scientists. However, free inquiry and lack of dogmatism are among the key features of any scientific enterprise, so his implicit assumption that scientists are infallible is completely out of place. And please, climate science has not the predictive accuracy of Newtonian physics, and particularly climate simulation models are not as precise nor reliable as he thinks, e.g. see the recently published SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance which has a controversial and politically incorrect chapter discussing the limitations of climate change predictions and proposes a more cost-effective solution. For a more in-depth analysis read Simulating Nature: A Philosophical Study of Computer-Simulation Uncertainties and Their Role in Climate Science and. For a concise take on this issue see The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so, Chapter 8 presents criticism by renowned physicists Freeman Dyson and Antonino Zichichi, questioning the confidence and validity of climate simulation forecasts, particularly regarding the use of parametrization or "fudge factors". Also look for Hendrik Tennekes arguments regarding the lack of falsifiability from Popper's philosophical point of view.

Furthermore, though the financial and economic feasibility of the low-carbon energy options are discussed, and Gore's recognizes that particularly solar and wind have some way to go before becoming competitive, his view tends to be more romantic rather than strictly economical, as implementation of most of these technologies in the short term will require government subsidies and energy prices charge to consumers unavoidably will be higher, both in the developed and developing countries. He seems to downplay this fact and instead he just highlights the green jobs that will be created, and what about the ones lost from dirty industries? The cost/jobs issue is not that simple.

Though this time the book avoids the sentimental touch (as he did in AIT), he couldn't help it, as the book closes with a romantic view of the problem, describing Gore's wishful thinking and dreamed solutions being implemented, beginning with the Obama administration change of policies regarding climate change, and closing with several warm religious thoughts. Finally, though exaggeration was also avoided in this book, I could not avoid noticing the lack of realism of the Earth images in the front cover, showing a green Earth as it is today compared to a devastated Earth where climate change wrecked havoc. This artist's rendering includes four or more hurricanes twisting around North America, and a good part of the southern tip of Central America submerged. Never mind that several of the submerged Central American countries have mountain ranges with heights between 1000 to 3000 meters!

PS: For those who think I was harsh regarding Gore insistence on scientific truths and scientific consensus, please take the time to read Judy Curry's comment posted on the website Climate Audit regarding the hacked e-mails from Britain's Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. This a short and brilliant piece on how the mainstream climate science should be conducted, with transparency! Read also the two pieces in the Dec 4th edition of The Economist: politics and science make uncomfortable bedfellows!
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on 12 December 2009
It's a nice book, full of excellent pictures. But don't be fooled. Gore takes us through every aspect of our changing climate and what we should be doing about it. He also details the great lengths that individuals, big companies and corrupted government officials have gone to, to avoid doing anything but maximise their profits. Gore's inside knowledge of this despicable activity is unrivalled. He is completely fearless in exposing the main players who have deceived and sold-out the world in their pursuit of self-interest. It's a very brave man indeed who dares to mention the taboo subject of overpopulation, the driving force behind overconsumption and the root cause of climate change. Only Attenborough has had the status and courage to explore this subject to the level of detail that Gore does in this book. The book ends with a great optimistic vision, something that you will need after the preceding pages.
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on 10 December 2009
For all the controversy about climate change or energy independence, this book makes me wonder how much progress could be made if we stopped debating the problem and used the same time and effort solving it. Even if you think these are "small" problems, this book shows just how many options we have, right now, with small or large costs. Small costs could be as simple as fixing some leaky windows or conserving a bit of energy, which will save any household money. The book also describes larger and more expensive efforts, such as wind turbines, solar, and other technologies that already exist. But, Gore makes a convincing case that cheaper energy resources now could be more expensive in the future. For example, if we use more cheap coal and populated coastlines face higher sea-levels, then today's cheap energy becomes tomorrow's expensive problem. Gore does clarify that the entire process of addressing global warming will be challenging, but like any changes in life, we can start with the easy stuff and take on more challenging items next.

The analogy to cigarette smoking makes a lot of sense. It took decades for people to believe that smoking kills, largely because many scientists said smoking didn't affect health. Many people criticized advocates of anti-smoking campaigns, just like many criticize Gore now. It's worth mentioning that many people still smoke, still ignore the overwhelming body of research showing that smoking kills. Gore summarizes the overwhelming body of research (with specific citations) showing the existence of human-made global warming. He also makes a convincing case for starting to solve the problem with existing, low-cost options, and moving on to more ambitious options. It's refreshing to see the problem of global warming or energy independence described so clearly along with many possible solutions.
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on 29 March 2015
A great summary of main issues in climate change. It is a classic
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on 23 December 2009
I will not rewrite the book my own words as this already has been done a couple of times in this section.

What I will say is that as a civil engineer who is currently studying for my masters in sustainability, climate change and renewable energy I believe the book to be very good. The reader is given a good and accurate insight into the relevant topics in a manner which a non-academic could understand.

No, it is not a post graduate text book with all the science, it would need to be six times the size.

The fact that the topics are available, in a generally understandable format, to the general market is fantastic.

The book is interesting and educational. If anyone wants a good insight into this (complicated and generally missunderstood) topic area I would recommend this book highly.
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on 15 April 2015
Auhoritative and accessible. A very worthwhile book.
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on 24 February 2010
This is an excellent example of politicians getting involved in economics and science. It is glossy, well presented and assertive. It is not academic and the author does not explain adequately the sources of his materal. If you want real facts, look elsewhere.
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on 19 November 2009
Mr Gore - who recently appeared on Conan O'Brien's NBC show and uttered that the temperature a couple of kilometres below the surface of the Earth was "millions of degrees" again shows up his lack of scientific knowledge with this book.

Mr Gore flatly refuses to debate anyone on the subject of Global Warming. I can see why.

It is extremely worrying that Mr Gore and his publishers have turned to faking and photoshopping to influence young children, who this edition of the book is aimed at. The photoshopping that has gone on for the cover is disgusting. Firstly Florida has shrunk. Secondly, Artic ice has been removed. Thirdly, Cuba no longer exists. Fourthly, the hurricane threatening Florida is the rotating in the wrong direction.

The front cover sums up how honest and scientific this book is. It's a sham.

Do not let your children read this propaganda.
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