Charging Ahead

Charging Ahead

by John J. Berger
     
 


Charging Ahead foretells the world's next great energy transformation: the shift to clean, renewable energy sources. It shows how renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles, when used together, can give us back a clean environment and create a healthy, sustainable economy. In chronicling this extraordinary technological revolution, John…  See more details below

Overview


Charging Ahead foretells the world's next great energy transformation: the shift to clean, renewable energy sources. It shows how renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles, when used together, can give us back a clean environment and create a healthy, sustainable economy. In chronicling this extraordinary technological revolution, John J. Berger provides a fascinating look at the new industries that will make it possible, and the trillion-dollar benefits Americans can enjoy by choosing pollution-free energy and transportation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Widespread use of renewable energy (e.g., wind power) is coming; the only question is how long it will take to get here. Berger (Restoring the Earth) argues persuasively that at present, the limiting factor is political rather than technological. Huge governmental subsidies for the oil, coal and nuclear industries, coupled with massive environmental costs paid by society rather than users, make it difficult for renewable energy sources to gain a major foothold. But even so, he explains, each year an increasing percentage of the world's energy supply arises from non-polluting renewables. Berger focuses on the promises offered by four alternative energy technologiessolar power, wind power, bioenergy and geothermal energyas well as on energy conservation strategies, with solar energy and electric cars drawing the bulk of his attention. At times encyclopedic, his book is an amalgam of telling insights into the leaders of upstart companies and the problems they face plus detailed descriptions of apparatuses that only a techie could love. Photos. Rights (except electronic): Virginia Barber. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A broad survey of renewable-energy technologies, and a reasoned call for their increased use.

Berger (Restoring the Earth, 1985), who describes himself as a "technological optimist," sounds an already well-aired alarm: that America's dependence on fossil fuels, many imported, is a recipe for financial and ecological disaster. Holding that free markets in the $505 billion domestic energy economy are a myth and that "government involvement in energy is profound and unavoidable," he calls for an active program of federal investment in renewable energy so that the country can be energy-independent in a generation or two. Among the alternative technologies he examines at length, solar power emerges as the leading contender to replace much current oil use; although, as he says, many critics consider solar power to be an "heirloom of the 1970s, a pet technology for environmentalists," it has also matured considerably, so that solar panels that cost $1,000 a watt three decades ago are now down to $4, holding the promise of cheap and abundant energy. Berger looks into a host of other technologies, among them wind, biomass, and geothermal energy, and a number of intriguing alternative-fuel sources, especially ethanol made from kenaf, a bamboolike grass. Technologically adept readers will appreciate Berger's precise attention to detail, as when he considers recent advances in miniaturizing solar cells, but those without some background in engineering may find parts of the narrative tough going. Even so, all readers should appreciate Berger's call to raise our awareness of energy needs and uses—even if they shudder at his suggestion that federal gasoline taxes be raised to spur the development of alternative energy.

Berger's no-stone-unturned approach makes his book a valuable reference for soft-path advocates.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520216143
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
09/20/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


John J. Berger writes and teaches on energy and natural resource issues and is a consultant on environmental science and policy. He is the author of books on nuclear and renewable energy and is the editor of Environmental Restoration: Science and Strategies for Restoring the Earth (1990).

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