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American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate

Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate

by Vaclav SmilVaclav Smil
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There are many misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists—wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge. When will the world run out of oil? Should nuclear energy be adopted on a larger scale? Are ethanol and wind power viable sources of energy for the future? Vaclav Smil advises the public to be wary of exaggerated claims and impossible promises. The global energy transition will be prolonged and expensive—and hinges on the development of an extensive new infrastructure. Established technologies and traditional energy sources are persistent and adaptable enough to see the world through that transition. Energy Myths and Realities brings a scientific perspective to an issue often dominated by groundless assertions, unfounded claims, and uncritical thinking. Before we can create sound energy policies for the future, we must renounce the popular myths that cloud our judgment and impede true progress.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780844743288
Publisher: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Publication date: 08/16/2010
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 303,148
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor of Environment and Environmental Geography at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Key to Units of Measure

Part I: Lessons from the Past
Chapter 1: The Future Belongs to Electric Cars
Chapter 2: Nuclear Electricity Will Be Too Cheap to Meter
Chapter 3: Soft Energy Illusions

Part II: Myths in the Headlines
Chapter 4: Running Out: Peak Oil and Its Meaning
Chapter 5: Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide
Chapter 6: Liquid Fuels from Plants
Chapter 7: Electricity from Wind
Chapter 8: The Pace of Engery Transitions

Conclusion: Lessons and Policy Implications
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger

Vaclav Smil is a giant among energy scientists and historians. In this book, he explains why fossil fuels remain dominant, why it is so hard to scale up wind and solar technologies, and why nuclear power, despite having been over-hyped in the past, is one of our best hopes for meeting future energy needs and dealing with global warming.

Robert Bradley

Vaclav Smil is a master thinker about the master resource of energy. A multidisciplinarian, Smil combines basic economics, technological understanding, and historical insight to skewer false energy visions. Energy reality, he reminds us, is determined by the free marketplace, not by words or wishes.

Bill Gates

I recommend this book to everyone who spends time working on energy issues – not to cheer them up but to help them have a stronger framework for evaluating energy promises.

Philippe Rohner

Investment opportunities into new energy sources and related conversion techniques are, at times, molded by preconceived ideas that can sometimes lead to excessively positive and unjustifiably enthusiastic expectations. By criticizing the assorted myths and misconceptions surrounding energy innovations, Vaclav Smil provides readers with refreshing insights which are often missing in today's energy policy debates.

Nathan Myhrvold

Energy is both a technical topic and a political one; all too often, the political claims and assertions get far more play than sober technical reality. In Energy Myths and Realities, Vaclav Smil does a brilliant job of examining the crazy quilt of claims and assertions about energy. With great wit and simple, clear arguments, he shows that most of the wild claims we hear-in all directions-have no basis in reality.

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