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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fatally-flawed environmentalism, 30 July 2009
This review is from: Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why The World Needs A Green Revolution - and How We Can Renew Our Global Future (Hardcover)
While the arguments are compelling, and his obvious passion to reverse the adverse effects of climate change are real, his method for achieving these ends is fatally flawed. He focuses on the idea that growth is essential and forgets that in order to produce all the solar panels and wind turbines we are going to need to fuel his 'energy internet', we will need a lot of chemicals and raw materials. Does he realise how many chemicals go into producing a solar panel? He seems to think that Americans and by default the rest of the world, can continue to indulge in consumption at unprecedented levels as long as we switch to using green electrons to fuel that consumption. Unfortunately, this ethic will not encourage people to have more respectful behaviour towards nature and our very limited resources.

He goes on to compare the race to become green with the Cold War and the arms race between America and Russia, only this time the race is between America and China as they try to 'outgreen' each other and become market leaders in the next global industry, energy efficiency and green electrons. The rest of the world doesn't get a mention, least of all the European Union which is currently a world leader in environmental standards and the Scandinavian countries where many of the ideas he hopes America will bring to the fore are already in place. Perhaps he should look across the waters and suggest collaboration between the US and the EU and indeed other countries instead of simply looking for market supremacy for the US.

He also uses the example of video conference in his utopian vision of the world in what he dubs the 'Energy Climate Era', but his stories of personal travel and extensive globe trotting, including family holidays in all corners of the globe show that he fails to apply these laws to himself. Indeed global travel is in itself a major cause of pollution and needs to be slowed down.

Whilst he highlights the adverse effects of climate change and the need to develop an ethic of conservation, he fails to concentrate on the need to collaborate globally, seeing America as key and seeing the whole climate change threat as an opportunity to extend American capitalism and dominace on world markets. In doing this he refuses to recognise attempts made by countries outside the sphere of American influence, i.e. Germany, Denmark and only uses American examples of success.

He also believes that growth can continue unmitigated if we change our energy sources, which is still an unsustainable position. We need to encourage people to ultimately radically change their lifestyles and this can be done through education.

The book is written in accessibe, non-academic language and so can be easily understood by all readers but beware of the hidden agenda.
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A. BOYES
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Location: france

Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,701,191