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Posted October 1, 2011
We just know that oil makes the world go round, value of money crash and the nations warring with each other. However, in this book we shall see the significance of its history, where it began and its alternatives. A very informative book for adults.
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Comprehensive study of energy
This remarkable book covers the whole subject of energy, its history, science, economics and politics. Yergin examines oil, coal, gas (both conventional and unconventional), nuclear power, climate change, the electric age, new energies, and roads to the future. He notes, “In a carbon-conscious world, nuclear power’s great advantages are not only the traditional ones of fuel diversification and self-sufficiency. It is also the only large-scale, well-established, broadly deployable source of electric generation currently available that is carbon free.” US nuclear plants require a licence from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate. These licences were originally granted for 40 years. In 1995 the end of the 40 years was coming into view for many plants. Without extensions, US nuclear supply would have shut down. In the mid-1980s, the USA’s nuclear plants worked at only about 55 per cent of their capacity. Now they work at more than 90 per cent of capacity. Yergin points out, “The operating record of the nuclear industry had clearly improved, and substantially so. In fact, companies were coming to the commission to request permission for power upgrades, above what had been their maximum output, because of their increased efficiency. In support of license extension, the NRC launched a crucial new initiative to update the safety system that governed the industry, using new tools and capabilities.” So the Commission extended licences for another 20 years. Germany’s nuclear plants supply a quarter of its electricity. In 2010 a new law extended their life by another 12 years. By contrast, here in Britain, the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive will force the closure of 9.8 gigawatts of oil- and coal-fired generation – 12 per cent of our total capacity - by the end of 2013. The fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, issued in 2007, said that the Himalayas’ glaciers, including the Gangroti which feeds the river Ganges, would vanish by 2035, ‘if not sooner’. By contrast, India’s Environment Ministry said that the Gangroti was ‘practically at a standstill’. It turned out that the 2035 date was from a 1999 phone interview with a scientist who later denied ever giving any date! In 1979 President Carter forecast that 20 per cent of US energy would come from solar power by 2000. But by 2010, renewables accounted for just 8 per cent of US energy supply: 1.5 per cent from solar and wind, 6.5 per cent from hydropower and biomass. The fifth fuel is often said to be energy efficiency. A fine example is Japan’s 1998 Top Runner programme which finds the most efficient appliance of its kind, then requires that all such appliances exceed the efficiency of that ‘Top Runner’ by a specified date – as a result, TV sets, for example, improved by 26 per cent between 1997 and 2003. It is not always possible to be self-sufficient economically, particularly for energy sources, but it is possible to be independent, that is, as self-reliant as possible, dependent on no one supplier, by using a diversified range of sources - oil, gas, coal, renewables and nuclear. To rebuild Britain, we need more R&D, consistent, long-term thinking planning and investment, and security and sustainability of energy.
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Posted October 20, 2011
Long winded but good
The book is good not necessarily groundbreaking but good with a lot of info in it, almost too much. I'd recommend it with 4 stars but do think there are a lot of excess words for something that could have been made in point in a lot less. There are parts that are just cumbersome. Still worth it.
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Posted March 5, 2012
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