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Books about the future of Energy
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12 the future of Energy

. Books about the future of Energy

Nuclear Energy: Principles, Practices, and Prospects
by David Bodansky

The world faces serious difficulties in obtaining the energy that will be needed in coming decades for a growing population, especially given the problem of climate change caused by fossil fuel use. This book presents a view of nuclear energy as an important carbon-free energy option. It discusses the nuclear fuel cycle, the types of reactors used today and proposed for the future, nuclear waste disposal, reactor accidents and reactor safety, nuclear weapon proliferation, and the cost of electric power. To provide background for these discussions, the book begins with chapters on the history of the development and use of nuclear energy, the health effects of ionizing radiation, and the basic physics principles of reactor operation.

The text has been rewritten and substantially expanded for this edition, to reflect changes that have taken place in the eight years since the publication of the first edition and to provide greater coverage of key topics. These include the Yucca Mountain repository plans, designs for next-generation reactors, weapons proliferation and terrorism threats, the potential of alternatives to nuclear energy, and controversies about low-level radiation.

Winning the Oil Endgame
by Amory B. Lovins

This independent, peer-reviewed synthesis for American business and military leaders charts a roadmap for getting the United States completely, attractively, and profitably off oil. Our strategy integrates four technological ways to displace oil: using oil twice as efficiently, then substituting biofuels, saved natural gas, and, optionally, hydrogen. Fully applying today's best efficiency technologies in a doubled-GDP 2025 economy would save half the projected U.S. oil use at half its forecast cost per barrel. Non-oil substitutes for the remaining consumption would also cost less than oil. These comparisons conservatively assign zero value to avoiding oil's many "externalized" costs, including the costs incurred by military insecurity, rivalry with developing countries, pollution, and depletion. The vehicle improvements and other savings required needn't be as fast as those achieved after the 1979 oil shock.

The route we suggest for the transition beyond oil will expand customer choice and wealth, and will be led by business for profit. We propose novel public policies to accelerate this transition that are market-oriented without taxes and innovation-driven without mandates. A $180-billion investment over the next decade will yield $130-billion annual savings by 2025; revitalize the automotive, truck, aviation, and hydrocarbon industries; create a million jobs in both industrial and rural areas; rebalance trade; make the United States more secure, prosperous, equitable, and environmentally healthy; encourage other countries to get off oil too; and make the world more developed, fair, and peaceful.

Technological Change and the Environment
by Arnulf Grubler, Nebojsa Nakienovi, William D. Nordhaus, Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Much is written in the popular literature about the current pace of technological change. But do we have enough scientific knowledge to properly inform policymaking in technology-dependent domains such as energy and the environment? While it is agreed that technological change does not "fall from heaven like autumn leaves," the theory, data, and models are deficient. The specific mechanisms that govern the rate and direction of inventive activity, the drives and scope for incremental improvements that occur during technology diffusion, and the spillover effects that cross-fertilize technological innovations remain poorly understood.

In a work that will interest serious readers of history, policy, and economics, the editors and their distinguished contributors offer a unique, single volume overview of the theoretical and empirical work on technological change. Beginning with a survey of existing research, they provide analysis and case studies in contexts such as medicine, agriculture, and power generation, paying particular attention to what technological change means for efficiency, productivity, and reduced environmental impacts. The contributors empirically test hypotheses of induced innovation and theories of institutional innovation. They propose ways to model induced technological change and evaluate its impact, and they consider issues such as uncertainty in technology returns, technology crossover effects, and clustering.


The End of Oil : On the Edge of a Perilous New World
by Paul Roberts

Petroleum is now so deeply entrenched in our economy, our politics, and our personal expectations that even modest efforts to phase it out are fought tooth and nail by the most powerful forces in the world: companies and governments that depend on oil revenues; the developing nations that see oil as the only means to industrial success; and a Western middle class that refuses to modify its energy-dependent lifestyle. But within thirty years, by even conservative estimates, we will have burned our way through most of the oil that is easily accessible. And well before then, the side effects of an oil-based society - economic volatility, geopolitical conflict, and the climate-changing impact of hydrocarbon pollution - will render fossil fuels an all but unacceptable solution. How will we break our addiction to oil? And what will we use in its place to maintain a global economy and political system that are entirely reliant on cheap, readily available energy?

Brilliantly reported from around the globe, The End of Oil brings the world situation into fresh and dramatic focus for business and general readers alike. Roberts talks to both oil optimists and oil pessimists, delves deep into the economics and politics of oil, considers the promises and pitfalls of altenatives, and shows that, although the world energy system has begun its epoch-defining transition, disruption and violent dislocation are almost assured if we do not take a more proactive stance.


The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the World-Wide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth

by Jeremy Rifkin

Well-known as a social critic and the author of such popular books as The End of Work and The Biotech Century, Rifkin (Foundation on Economic Trends, Washington, DC) looks ahead to the next great economic revolution predicted to be fueled by hydrogen rather than fossil fuels. He considers the "Islamist" wild card in what he terms "reglobization from the bottom up."

Hydrogen as Fuel

by Richard Cammack (Editor), Michel Frey (Editor), Robert Robson (Editor)

The last five years have seen breakthroughs in the understanding of the nature, structure, and biosynthesis of hydrogenases. The book offers a timely description of these results which are just appearing in the scientific literature. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with environmentally friendly energy conservation.

Power to the People : How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change Our Lives, and Maybe Even Save the Planet

by Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran

Global warming, rolling black outs, massive tanker spills, oil dependence: our profligate ways have doomed us to suffer such tragedies, right? Perhaps, but Vijay Vaitheeswaran, the energy and environment correspondent for The Economist, sees great opportunity in the energy realm today, and Power to the People is his fiercely independent and irresistibly entertaining look at the economic, political, and technological forces that are reshaping the world's management of energy resources. In it, he documents an energy revolution already underway--a revolution as radical as the communications revolution of the past decades.
From the corporate boardroom of a Texas oil titan who denies the reality of global warming to a think tank nestled in the Rocky Mountains where a visionary named Amory Lovins is developing the kind of hydrogen fuel-cell technology that could make the internal combustion engine obsolete, Vaitheeswaran gamely pursues the people who hold the keys to our future. Man's quest for energy is insatiable. It is also essential. By avoiding the traditional binaries that pit free markets against the wisdom of conservation and the need for clean energy, Power to the People is a book that debunks myths without debunking hope.
Vijay Vaitheeswaran is the Environment and Energy Correspondent for The Economist, covering developments in politics, economics, business, and technology as they relate to energy issues. He was born in Madras, India; grew up in Cheshire, Connecticut; and graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering. He now lives in New York.

Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet

by Peter Hoffmann, Tom Harkin (Foreword)

The word hydrogen conjures images of devastating bombs and burning zeppelins (the Hindenburg) for most of us, but it inspires visionaries like Peter Hoffmann to picture clear skies and safer roads. Hoffmann's book Tomorrow's Energy traces the history of the volatile gas and explores options for its use as fuel. Though the author can't avoid using some technical language, his writing should still appeal well beyond the community of automotive and power-plant engineers. His coverage, though fairly balanced, tends toward the positive efforts made by government, corporations, environmentalists, and scientists to promote hydrogen as a clean, relatively safe, and potentially cheap alternative to carbon-heavy fuels.
Party-line Greens may gasp at some of the suggested schemes, which include using limited nuclear power to generate hydrogen from water. But Hoffmann convincingly assures the reader that ultimately, the planet will be better off this way. Many will be surprised at how far hydrogen has advanced since serious research restarted during the 1970s fuel crisis: the range of cars, planes, and power networks using the gas for power storage is impressive and underreported.
Though he makes his case for hydrogen as a means of powering our lives, Hoffmann also shows off its uses in medicine, agriculture, metallurgy, and other fields. Using economic data, he shows that we can expect to live in a hydrogen economy sometime midcentury; if so, we can all breathe a collective, CO2-laden sigh of relief. - Rob Lightner

The Asian Energy Factor: Myths and Dilemmas of Energy, Security and the Pacific Future

by Robert A. Manning

Robert A. Manning debunks key myths about the oil industry: that the world is running out of oil, that the Caspian Basin is the new Persian Gulf, that resource scarcity combined with military modernization, economic buoyancy, and nationalism will lead to military conflict, and that territorial disputes among Asian nations are fueled by resource competition. His book assesses the energy challenges and strategies of Asian nations and explores the new geopolitics emerging out of their efforts to meet these challenges.
Robert A. Manning is Senior Fellow and Director of Asian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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