Charging Aheadby 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/i>… See more details below
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.
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 useseven 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.
- University of California Press
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- 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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