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Beyond the Age of Oil: The Myths, Realities, and Future of Fossil Fuels and Their Alternatives

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Overview

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the human race finds itself caught in an "energy trap." Carbon-rich fossil fuels—coal, petroleum and natural gas—are firmly entrenched as the dominant sources of our energy and power. Their highly concentrated forms, versatility of use, ease of transport and storage, ready availability, and comparatively low costs combine to give fossil fuels an unassailable competitive advantage over all alternative sources of energy. This economic reality means that fossil fuels will inevitably continue to be the backbone of the global economy for the next quarter of a century, even while the adverse climate and environmental effects of our dependence on fossil fuels hurtle toward global crisis levels. To avert unacceptable environmental consequences, the world must deliberately and incrementally supplant fossil fuels with alternative energy sources, on a schedule that will have them overtake fossil fuels in the world's energy budget by 2035. To achieve this urgent goal without massive economic dislocation and reduction in standards of living, global investment in fossil fuel efficiency will be just as important as the development and massive deployment of alternative energy technologies and delivery systems.

In this eagerly awaited sequel to his prize-winning bestseller, The Age of Oil, Leonardo Maugeri, the strategy director of one of the world's biggest energy companies, puts forward a hard-headed, concrete plan in simple everyday language for how to shift the world economy's primary energy dependence from fossil fuels to renewable energies by 2035. Assuming no specialized knowledge, the author walks the reader chapter by chapter through each of the fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) and each of the alternative energy sources (nuclear, hydroelectric, biofuel, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydrogen). Drawing on the unparalleled data and analysis resources at his command, Maugeri assesses the problems and advantages of each energy source in turn in order to constrain the optimal mix of energy sources that the world should be aiming for in 2035. Critically, he lays out the arduous path for getting from here to there. Maugeri shows that the next 25 years will be a rocky marriage between the old and the new energy paradigms, during which we must dramatically improve the efficiency of our continuing use of fossil fuels, while driving ahead on all fronts to an energy future based on a suite of sustainable energy sources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This authoritative, insightful assessment of the basic factors in the world's energy future is so timely, comprehensive,

and well written that it belongs in most academic and public library collections. . . . Valuable for students of political science, economics, science, and technology. Summing Up: Highly recommended Academic and general libraries, all levels."

-

Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313381713
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Pages: 259
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    This book really explains the energy issues so you can make sense of the mess. But the book does not leave you discouraged. Everyone should read it.

    What I like best about this book is that Dr. Maugeri really covers the different sources of energy completely and clearly enough so that when you finish the book, you can even disagree with his proposals, and know why you disagree. It is priceless for understanding the real issues behind fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. Just understanding the difference between a parallel hybrid car and a series hybrid helped me make choices about buying a car (I am waiting, and I know when I will buy).
    In addition to the information in the jacket, the author is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and teaches at Columbia and MIT. I have read his articles in Scientific American, Foreign Affairs, WSJ and the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. He has a conversational style and is easy to understand.
    Just so you know, I worked with Dr. Maugeri on this book, so I got into it more deeply than the average reader. I had worked in several of the areas described in the book and did research in the others; it is amazing how he has brought so much different information together in one place.

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