Energy
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* Education at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, June 2013, 438p, $112pb with e-book. Presents the state of education around the world, with data on the structure, finances, and performance of education systems in more than 40 countries, including OECD members and G20 partners. Topics discuss the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organization of schools. In the 2013 edition, new material includes: data on the economic crisis; program orientation (general versus vocational) in secondary and tertiary education; an analysis of how work status (full-time, part-time, involuntary part-time) is related to individuals’ level of education; the relationship between fields of education and tuition fees, unemployment rates and earnings premiums; etc. (ALSO SEE Education at a Glance 2013: Highlights, OECD, 80p). (EDUCATION: OECD OVERVIEW)

 

* Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050. International Energy Agency. Paris: OECD, June 2013, 284p, $140pb with e-book. Buildings are the largest energy consuming sector in the world, and account for over one-third of total final energy consumption and an equally important source of CO2 emissions. Achieving significant energy and emissions reduction in the buildings sector is a challenging but achievable policy goal. Presents detailed scenarios and strategies to 2050, and demonstrates how to reach deep energy and emissions reduction through a combination of best available technologies and intelligent public policy. Provides informative insights on: 1) cost-effective options, key technologies and opportunities in the buildings sector; 2) solutions for reducing electricity demand growth and flattening peak demand; 3) effective energy efficiency policies and lessons learned from different countries; 4) future trends and priorities for ASEAN, Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States; 5) implementing a systems approach using innovative products in a cost effective manner; and 6) the pursuit of whole-building (e.g. zero energy buildings) and advanced-component policies as a fundamental shift in the way energy is consumed. (SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS * ENERGY EFFICIENCY)

 

* Greening Household Behaviour: Overview from the 2011 Survey. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, July 2013, 308p, $77pb with e-book. Governments of OECD countries have introduced a wide variety of measures to encourage citizens to consider environmental impacts in their purchases and practices. Developing growth strategies that promote greener lifestyles requires a good understanding of the factors that affect people's behavior towards the environment. OECD took periodic surveys of >10,000 households in 11 countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), covering five specific household behavior areas (energy use, food consumption, transport choices, waste and recycling, and water use). Calls for providing the right economic incentives for influencing household decisions. "Soft" measures such as labeling and public information campaigns also have a significant complementary role to play. Spurring desirable behavior change requires a mix of instruments. (GREEN LIFESTYLES * HOUSEHOLD GREEN BEHAVIOR * ENERGY * FOOD * WATER * WASTE)

 

* Energy and Climate Policy: Bending the Technological Trajectory. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, Nov 2012, 134p, $67pb (with free e-book). Technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving environmental objectives. This is particularly true in the area of climate change where estimated future costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are affected greatly by the technological trajectory of the economy. These papers explore the extent to which technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving climate change mitigation objectives, the determinants of innovation in electricity generation technologies, technological change in electricity generation, intermittent renewable energy, international technology agreements for climate change, etc. (ENERGY * TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE)

* SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future. Richard Martin (Senior Research Analyst, Pike Research; Boulder, CO). NY & UK: Palgrave Macmillan, May 2012, 272p, $27. Thorium is a radioactive element and alternative nuclear fuel that is far safer, cleaner, and more abundant than uranium. At the dawn of the Atomic Age, thorium and uranium seemed to be in close competition as the fuel of the future. Uranium, with its ability to undergo fission and produce explosive material for atomic weapons, won out over its more pacific sister element, relegating thorium to the dustbin of science. Now, as we grapple with the perils of nuclear energy and rogue atomic weapons, and humanity confronts the specter of global climate change, thorium is re-emerging as the overlooked energy source. It cannot be used in nuclear weapons. It has the power to wean us off our fossil-fuel addiction and avert the risk of nuclear meltdown. Thorium-powered reactors produce zero nuclear waste, and can produce electricity much cheaper and cleaner than coal. France, Norway, Canada, Brazil, Russia, India, and China are building thorium-based reactors. India plans to produce most of its power from thorium reactors by 2030, while China hopes to license thorium technology to other nations. (ENERGY * NUCLEAR ENERGY * THORIUM AS MAJOR FUEL?)

* Energy from the Desert: Very Large Scale Photovoltaic Power—State of the Art and Into the Future.  Edited by Keiichi Komoto (Mizuho Information and Research Institute, Japan) and five others.  London & NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2013, 225p (8x12”), $150.  The latest edition of the IEA PVPS Task8 project begun in 1999, concluding that “desert regions contain an abundant and inexhaustible source of clean energy” and that VLS-PV systems can “contribute substantially to global energy needs, become economically and technologically feasible soon, contribute significantly to global environment protection, and contribute significantly to socio-economic development” (p.1).  During the past 10 years, MW-scale PV systems have been increasing substantially in the world, and 100 MW-scale PV systems are becoming reality.  Discussions and plans of >100 MW-scale and GW-scale PV systems are underway in some regions.  This report shows the potential of VLS-PV, system guidelines, technical options, and strategic options for implementation.  Discusses the EU-MENA Desertec project which has gained pace by the Desertec Industrial Initiative (it “might become a blueprint for similar interregional cooperation in other parts of the world reaching a global power grid”), the Mediterranean Solar Plan (which has a final target of 20 GW of installed capacity by 2020), the Asia Solar Energy Initiative (which seeks to develop 3,000 MW of solar power in the next three years). the PV market potential by 2020 (estimated at 980 GW up to 3,930 GW with 2,070 GW as most likely if an advanced economic storage system for PV electricity is available), case studies (VLS-PV in West Africa and Israel), strategic niche management, and trends in large-scale PV systems.  Concludes that “the contribution of VLS-PV will be marginal in the next 10 years,” and “the main contribution will come after 2050” (p.221), with total PV installation of >130,000 GW by 2100, half of it from VLS-PV. Four scenarios of VLS-PV development to 2100 are sketched, including SC-3 where power generated from PV is used for water production by reverse osmosis for arid areas.  (ENERGY * SOLAR POWER * DESERT SOLAR POWER)

*Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels.  National Research Council.  Washington: National Academies Press, 2012, 246p, 64pb.  (www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13437).  Domestic production of renewable fuels has the potential to improve energy security and decrease GHG emissions.  Biofuels from microalgae and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) offer potential advantages over plant-based biofuels, such as high biomass productivity and the ability to grow in cultivation ponds or photobiorectors on non-arable lands using saline water or wastewater.  However, with current technologies and knowledge, “the scale-up of algal biofuel production sufficient to meet at least 5% of US demand for transportation fuels would place unsustainable demands on energy, water, and nutrients.” But there is a potential “to shift this dynamic through improvements in biological and engineering variables.”  Sustainable development of algal biofuels will require algal strain improvement, an EROI (energy return on investment) comparable to other transport fuels, use of wastewater or harvestwater, and recycling of nutrients in algal biofuel pathways.  Potential sustainability “concerns of high importance” for large-scale importance include quantity of water used, supply of key nutrients, appropriate land area, EROI, and GHG emissions over the life cycle of algal biofuels.  “Concerns of medium importance” include presence of waterborne toxicants in cultivation systems, effects from land-use changes, air-quality emissions, potential effects on local climate, releases of cultivated algae to natural environments, waste products from processing algae, etc.   (ENERGY * BIOFUELS * ALGAE BIOFUELS)

 

*Energy from the Desert: Very Large Scale PV Power.  State of the Art and Into the Future. Edited by Keiichi Komoto (Mizuho Information and Research Institute, Japan) and five others.  NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2013, 256p (12 x 8”), $150.  The 4th volume in the Energy from the Desert series examines the potential and feasibility of Very Large Scale Photovoltaic Power Generation (VLS-PV) systems, which have capacities ranging from several megawatts to gigawatts.  VLS-PV systems can contribute substantially to global energy needs, become economically and technologically feasible soon, contribute significantly to global environmental protection, and contribute significantly to socio-economic development.  Komoto analyses all major issues involved in such large scale applications, based on the latest scientific and technological developments and co-operation with experts from different countries. (ENERGY * PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY: VERY LARGE SCALE * SOLAR ENERGY * DESERT ENERGY)

 

* Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing. Frank R. Spellman (Retired US Naval Officer; retired Asst Prof of Environmental Health, Old Dominion U, Norfolk, VA). CRC Press (dist by Routledge), Sept 2012, 477p, $129.95. There is a strong need for innovation and the development of viable renewable energy sources. Recent technological advances allow natural gas supplies—previously believed inaccessible or nonexistent—to be discovered, mined, and processed for both industrial and consumer use. The new technology, a controversial process that is alternatively called hydraulic fracturing, fracking, fracing, or hydrofracking, has greatly expanded US natural gas production. Presents all aspects of hydraulic fracturing used to extract natural gas, along with gas exploration and production in various shale fields.  (ENERGY * NATURAL GAS * FRACKING IMPACTS)

 

*The Climate Bonus: Co-benefits of Climate Policy. Alison Smith (UK environmental policy consultant, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).   NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2013, $59.95pb (also as e-book). We urgently need to transform to a low carbon society, yet our progress is painfully slow, in part because there is widespread public concern that this will require sacrifice and high costs. But this need not be the case. Many carbon reduction policies provide a range of additional benefits (reduced air pollution, increased energy security, financial savings, healthier lifestyles), that can offset the costs of climate action. Smith  shows how low carbon policies can lead to cleaner air and water, conservation of forests, more sustainable agriculture, less waste, safer and more secure energy, cost savings for households and businesses, and a stronger and more stable economy.  Offers recommendations for policy-makers and all those with an interest in making a healthier and happier society. Instead of being paralyzed by the threat of climate change, we can use it as a stimulus to escape from our dependence on polluting fossil fuels, and make the transition to a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future. (CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * LOW-CARBON SOCIETY: BENEFITS/COSTS)

 

*OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2012.  OECD and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, July 2012, 282p, $58 (e-book). The 18th edition of this annual  Outlook (and the 8th prepared jointly with FAO) provides world market trends for biofuels, cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meats, fish, and dairy products over the 2012-2021 period, and offers an evaluation of recent developments, key issues, and uncertainties in those commodity markets.  It also includes a special feature on the challenge of increasing agricultural productivity growth in a sustainable manner. Key developments: 1) within the last ten years, real food commodity prices have doubled, underpinned by high economic growth in emerging developing countries and higher global prices for energy and associated inputs (“commodity prices will remain not only high but also highly volatile during the next decade, if not beyond”); 2) in response to demands for green growth in agriculture, a 2012 Interagency Report to the Mexican G20 Presidency entitled “Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth and Bridging the Gap for Small Family Farms” has been prepared; 3) biofuels: currently some 65% of EU vegetable oil, 50% of Brazilian sugarcane, and about 40% of US corn production is used as feedstock for biofuel production; 4) cereals: despite record cereals production in 2011, international prices remained elevated; 5) oilseed embarked on a new upward trend reflecting a progressive tightening of global supplies; 6) world sugar prices continued to experience tremendous volatility in 2011; 7) the meat sector is characterized by high nominal output prices for all meats, underpinned on the demand side by rapidly growing developing economies and on the supply side by high input costs; 8) sustained imports of milk powder by Southeast Asia, Mexico and North Africa have been predominantly behind price firmness. High food prices have generated concern for food security, as well as future shortages, in a context of climate change and resource scarcity.  [Also see Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity by Lester R. Brown (president, Earth Policy Institute, Washington), NY: W. W. Norton, Oct 2012/144p/$16.95pb]    (FOOD/AGRICULTURE * BIOFUELS)

 

* Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2012. International Energy Agency. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, June 2012, 100p, $140pb and e-book.  Reviews how gas markets managed the challenges of 2011, from the consequences of the Fukushima incident to the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa to a further deteriorating economy.  Provides detailed gas supply, demand and trade forecasts up to 2017, by region as well as for key countries, while investigating many of today’s crucial questions: 1) will regional gas markets diverge further or will the shale gas revolution spread worldwide?, 2) will North America become a significant LNG exporter?, 3) can China meet its goal of doubling gas consumption in four years?, 4) will natural gas replace nuclear energy in key OECD member countries?, 5) can gas finally overtake coal in the US power sector?, and 6) can a spot price emerge in Asia?  (ENERGY * NATURAL GAS TO 2017)

 

* Energy Technology Perspectives 2012: Pathways to a Clean Energy System. International Energy Agency. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, June 2012, 700p, $210pb and e-book.  Demonstrates how energy technologies – from electric vehicles to smart grids – can make a decisive difference in limiting climate change and enhancing energy security.  Presents detailed scenarios and strategies to 2050, and guides decision makers on energy trends and what needs to be done to build a clean, secure and competitive energy future. Topics of this bi-annual edition include: 1) current progress on clean energy deployment, and what can be done to accelerate it; 2) how energy security and low carbon energy are linked; 3) how energy systems will become more complex in the future; 4) why systems integration is beneficial and how it can be achieved; 5) how demand for heating and cooling will evolve dramatically and which solutions will satisfy it; 6) why flexible electricity systems are increasingly important, and how a system with smarter grids, energy storage, and flexible generation can work; 7) why hydrogen could play a big role in the energy system of the future; 8) why fossil fuels will not disappear but will see their roles change, and what it means for the energy system as a whole; 9) what is needed to realize the potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS); and 10) whether available technologies can allow the world to have zero energy related emissions by 2075 - which seems a necessary condition for the world to meet the 2°C target. (ENERGY TO 2050 * CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY * SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY)

 

* Energy Policies of IEA Countries: United Kingdom 2012. International Energy Agency.  Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, May 2012, 180p, $80 (e-book).  The UK is preparing for a deep decarbonisation of its energy system and has decided to halve its greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2027, and to cut them by a total of 80% by 2050. For this to happen, significant private-sector investment in new energy infrastructure is needed. The UK’s proposed Electricity Market Reform is a pioneering effort that would lead to a more liberalized marketplace in which low-carbon power generation technologies compete to deliver innovative and least-cost outcomes. Security of supply remains a key focus of energy policy. Fossil fuel production in the UK has peaked, and a fifth of the country’s ageing power generating capacity will have to be closed in this decade.  More efficient energy use is essential to both decarburization and energy security. The Green Deal programme, which the UK plans to launch later this year, aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings and public spaces. (ENERGY: U.K. POLICIES * GREEN DEAL * ENERGY: DECARBONIZATION)

 

* Sustainable Energy: Choosing among Options (Second Edition). Jefferson W. Tester (Prof of Sustainable Energy Systems, Cornell U), Elizabeth M. Drake (MIT Energy Initiative) and three others (all MIT). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Oct 2012, 1,019p, $90.  How can we find energy sources that are sustainable and ways to convert and utilize energy that are more efficient? This textbook is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, presenting the trade-offs and uncertainties inherent in evaluating and choosing sound energy portfolios and providing a framework for assessing policy solutions. Chapter topics: 1) sustainable energy as the engine of sustainable development; 2) estimation and evaluation of energy resources; 3) technical performance: efficiency and production rates; 4) local, regional, and global environmental effects of energy (air pollution, climate change, environmental damage, methods of environmental protection); 5) project economic evaluation (time value of money mechanics, simple payback, allowing for uncertainty, accounting for externalities; 6) energy systems and sustainability metrics; 7) energy, water, land use, and ocean use; 8) fossil fuels and fossil energy (‘nobody knows when we will run out of oil or other fossil fuels; one must always look at the cost of incremental production from a given source); 9) nuclear power (future prospects are unclear, but as global warming becomes a serious problem, keeping the nuclear power option could be important); 10) biomass energy; 11) geothermal energy (the global resource base is large and well-distributed; “the technical potential of direct-use applications for heating and cooling buildings is vast and could make a huge difference in reducing gas and oil consumption”); 12) hydropower; 13) solar energy (concentrating solar power and photovoltaic systems); 14) ocean wave, tide, current, and thermal energy conversion; 15) wind energy; 16) energy carriers (electricity, hydrogen fuel); 17) energy management (storage, transportation, distribution, ways of organizing the electric economy); 18) transportation services; 19) industrial energy usage; 20) commercial and residential buildings; 21) synergistic complex systems.  Concludes that “the sustainability approach is the only viable means” of addressing energy concerns, and over time it will provide increasingly better solutions.  The challenge is to discover and implement the right enabling measures at the right time. [NOTE: Awesomely comprehensive and thorough, although somewhat technical and dry.] (ENERGY * SUSTAINABILITY)


The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health. Alan H. Lockwood, M.D.  (Emeritus prof of Neurology, SUNY at Buffalo).  Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Sept 2012, 248p, $24.95. The lead author of a Physicians for Social Responsibility report on the adverse effects of coal notes that almost half of the energy used to generate electricity comes from burning coal. “Coal-fired plants make people sick and die, particularly children and those with chronic illnesses, and they cost society huge amounts of money desperately needed for other purposes.” As politicians and advertising campaigns extol the virtues of “clean coal,” the dirty secret is that coal kills: tens of thousands of deaths from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses are clearly linked to coal-derived pollution. Coal mining, transporting, burning, and disposal generate significant health concerns as coal pollution impacts the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.       (HEALTH * ENERGY * COAL POLLUTION)


* OECD Green Growth Studies: EnergyOECD with the International Energy Agency (IEA).  Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Feb 2012, 104p, $33pb (also as e-book).  The OECD Green Growth Strategy (www.oecd.org/greengrowth) aims to provide concrete recommendations and measurement tools, including indicators, to support national efforts to achieve economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which well-being relies. The strategy proposes a flexible policy framework that can be tailored to different country circumstances and stages of development. Together with innovation, going green can be a long-term driver for economic growth, by investing in renewable energy and improved efficiency in the use of energy and materials.  Chapter topics:  1)Transforming the energy sector to sustain growth; 2) Promoting the transition to green growth (potential trade-offs and adjustment costs, key technologies for green growth and energy); 3) Reshaping the political economy (structural adjustment, stranded capital, employment effects, and distributional effects in implementing green energy), and 4) monitoring progress towards green growth (OECD’s Green Growth indicators).  (ENERGY * GREEN GROWTH AND ENERGY)

 

* Deploying Renewables: Best and Future Policy PracticeInternational Energy Agency.  Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, March 2012, 180 p, $140pb (also as ebook).  The global energy system faces urgent challenges. Concerns about energy security are growing, as highlighted by the recent political turmoil in Northern Africa and the nuclear incident in Fukushima. At the same time, the need to respond to climate change is more critical than ever. Against this background, many governments have increased efforts to promote deployment of renewable energy – low-carbon sources that can strengthen energy security. Renewables are now the fastest growing sector of the energy mix.  Features of this report: 1) a comprehensive review and analysis of renewable energy policy and market trends; 2) analysis in detail of the dynamics of deployment and best-practice policy principles for different stages of market maturity; 3) assessment of the impact and cost-effectiveness of support policies using new methodological tools and indicators; and 4) the strategic reasons underpinning the pursuit of RE deployment by different countries and the prospects for globalization of RE.                                             (ENERGY * RENEWABLE ENERGY)

 

* Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation:  Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Edited by Ottmar Edenhofer (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) and Ramón Pichs-Madruga (Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Mundial), Youba Sokona (The Sahara and Sahel Observatory), Kristin Seyboth and seven others (all, Technical Suppport Unit, Working Group III, IPCC).  NY: Cambridge U Press, Nov 2011, 1,088p, $200pb.  This IPCC-SRREN Report assesses the potential role of renewable energy in the mitigation of climate change; discusses the six most important renewable energy sources - bioenergy, solar, geothermal, hydropower, ocean,and wind energy - as well as their integration into present and future energy systems; considers the environmental and social consequences associated with the deployment of these technologies; and presents strategies to overcome technical as well as non-technical obstacles to their application and diffusion.  SRREN brings a broad spectrum of technology-specific experts together with scientists studying energy systems as a whole, and assesses the potential role of renewable energy for the mitigation of climate change for policymakers, the private sector, and academic researchers.  (ENERGY * RENEWABLE ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION * IPCC SPECIAL  REPORT)

 

* Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon LivingUnion of Concerned Scientists.  Washington DC: Island Press, April 2012, 328p, $21.95pb (also as e-book).  Shows individuals the most effective ways to cut their own global warming emissions by 20% or more, and explains why personal contributions are vital to addressing the global warming problem .  Offers proven strategies to cut carbon, with chapters on  transportation, home energy use, diet, personal consumption, and how best to  influence the workplace, community, and elected officials.  Explains how to make the biggest impact and when not to “sweat  the small stuff.”  Questions many eco-myths, such as the importance of locally produced food and the superiority of all hybrid cars. (LOW-CARBON LIVING * CLIMATE CHANGE * EMISSION CUTS: INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS)

 

 
** The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World.  Jeremy Rifkin (President, Foundation on Economic Trends, Bethesda MD; senior lecturer, U of Penn. Wharton School Advanced Management Program).  NY: Palgrave Macmillan, Oct 2011, 288p.  Author of 19 books over the past 30 years argues that our industrial infrastructure built on fossil fuels is aging and in disrepair.  A new economic narrative is needed for a more equitable and sustainable future, based on a convergence of the Internet and renewable energy.  The five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution are shifting to renewable energy, transforming building stock into micro-power plants to collect renewable energies on-site, deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies, using the Internet to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy-sharing “intergrid,” and transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell electricity on a smart, interactive power grid.  This democratization of energy will bring a fundamental reordering of human relationships.  Rifkin has worked with the European Parliament since 2006 in drafting an economic development plan.  In May 2007, the EP issued a formal written declaration endorsing the Third Industrial Revolution as the long-term economic vision and road map for the EU.  Unfortunately, Americans largely continue to be in a state of denial.  However, in 2008, 80 US business leaders and trade associations agreed to create a Third Industrial Revolution network to transition the global economy into a “distributed post-carbon era.”  In the next 50 years, the centralized operations of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions will increasingly be subsumed to distributed business practices, and traditional hierarchical organization will give way to lateral power organized nodally across society.  The 40-year build-out of the TIR, the last of the great Industrial Revolutions, will lay the foundation for the emerging collaborative age, where “collaborative power” will fundamentally restructure human relations.  But the TIR is not inevitable: the prospects of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, coupled with the looing climate crisis, “has tipped the odds dangerously in favor of an endgame, not only for civilization as we know it, but for our very species.” (ENERGY * INTERNET AND ENERGY * LATERAL POWER * THIRD INDUSTRIAL  REVOLUTION * ECONOMY * MICRO-POWER)

 

 
* World Energy Outlook 2011 (13th edition).  International Energy Agency.  Paris: OECD, Nov 2011, 740p, $168 .  Brings together the latest data, policy developments, and the experience of another year to provide analysis and insight into global energy markets,  for the next 25 years. This edition gives the latest energy demand and supply projections for different future scenarios, broken down by country, fuel and sector. It also gives special focus to topical energy sector issues: Russia's energy prospects and their implications for global markets, the role of coal in driving economic growth in an emissions-constrained world,  implications of a possible delay in oil and gas sector investment in the Middle East and North Africa, how high-carbon infrastructure "lock-in" is making the 2°C climate change goal more challenging and expensive to meet, the scale of fossil fuel subsidies, support for renewable energy (and its impact on energy, economic and environmental trends), a "Low Nuclear Case" to investigate what a rapid slowdown in the use of nuclear power would mean for the global energy landscape, and the scale and type of investment needed to provide modern energy to the billions of the world’s poor that do not have it. (ENERGY * WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK)

 

* Solar Energy PerspectivesInternational Energy Agency.  Paris: IEA/OECD, Dec 2011, 240p.  In 90 minutes, enough sunlight strikes the earth to provide annual energy needs for the entire planet.  While solar energy is abundant, it is only a tiny fraction of the world’s current energy mix.  This is changing rapidly, driven by global action to improve energy access and supply security, and to mitigate climate change.  Countries and companies worldwide are rapidly investing in solar generation capacity, and costs continue to fall and technologies improve.  This report looks at these technologies and market trends in all countries, with examples of best and most advanced practices, along with advice on how best to use major categories of solar energy.  Chapters describe the rationale for harnessing the solar resource, the bright future for solar electricity, storage options, buildings (solar water heating, space heating, and air conditioning), industrial electricity, desalination, transport, photovoltaics and the PV learning curve, solar heat (flat-plate collectors, parabolic dishes, solar towers), concentrating solar power for electricity, solar fuels (hydrogen, solar-enhanced biofuels), policies for early deployment (tax credits, market design, CO2 pricing), and the world in 50 years.  (ENERGY * SOLAR ENERGY: IEA OVERVIEW)

 

* The Answer: Why Only Mini Nuclear Power Plants Can Save the WorldReese Palley (Philadelphia).  The Quantuck Lane Press (dist by W.W. Norton), Sept 2011, 165p, $25.  Wind, solar, and hydroelectric power all have large CO2-emitting footprints, and are not the answer needed to make meaningful changes in our disastrous warming trend. Nor, for both economic and political reasons, can large nuclear power plants be built in time. We can only respond fast enough by radically reducing the scale of nuclear plants – constructing and distributing throughout the world container-sized nuclear generators that produce clean energy at the local level.  (ENERGY *  NUCLEAR POWER MINI-PLANTS)

 

* The Quest: The Global Race for Energy, Money, and PowerDaniel Yergin (Chairman, Cambridge Energy Research Associates).  NY: Penguin Press, Sept 2011, 704p, $35.  Author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (Simon & Schuster, 1992), a #1 bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, describes the energy choices and decisions that are shaping our future.  The drama of oil—the struggle for access, the battle for control, insecurity of supply, impacts of use and on the global economy—will continue to shape our world.  Also discusses nuclear and coal power, electricity, natural gas, renewables, how climate change has become one of the most vital issues of our time, and principles of a robust and flexible energy security system for the decades to come.        
(ENERGY * OIL INDUSTRY)
 
* The Crisis in Energy PolicyJohn M. Deutch (Institute Prof, MIT; former Director of Central Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of Defense in Clinton Administration; Undersecretary of Energy in Carter Administration).  Cambridge MA: Harvard U Press, Oct 2011, 200p, $24.95 (also as e-book).  Our future depends on what we do about energy – and yet our government has failed to come up with a coherent energy policy.  Looks at the muddled practices that have passed for energy policy in the last 30 years, and what we should learn from so many breakdowns in strategy and execution.  Three goals to drive any comprehensive energy policy: a) develop an effective approach to climate change, b) transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy technologies; and c) increase the efficiency of energy use to reduce dependence on imported oil.  Failure has resulted from popular but unrealistic goals, competing domestic and international agendas, and poor analysis in planning, policymaking, and administering government programs.                              (ENERGY * ENERGY POLICY * CLIMATE CHANGE)
 
* Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy DebateVaclav Smil (Distinguished Prof of Environment and Environmental Geography; U of Manitoba).  Washington: AEI Press (dist. by Rowman & Littlefield), 2010, 232p, $34.95 (also as e-book).  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?  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 development of an extensive new infrastructure.                                                   (ENERGY)
 
 * Earth: The Operator’s ManualRichard B. Alley (Prof of Geosciences, Penn State U; member, IPCC).  NY: W. W. Norton, April 2011, 479p, $27.95.  Companion to the PBS television documentary explores the history of energy use by humans over the centuries, provides proof that already-high levels of carbon dioxide are causing damaging global warming, and surveys alternative energy options available to exploit right now.  The new energy sources may be the engines for economic growth in the 21st century, and the challenge is probably smaller than our successful installation of modern plumbing.  “Our current system is completely unsustainable.” [Note: A generally popularized account with cutesy chapter heads, but also with 112 pages of footnotes.]              (ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE)
 
** Water Security: The Water-Food-Energy-Climate NexusThe World Economic Forum Water Initiative.  Davos:  World Economic Forum (dist by Island Press), Jan 2011, 300p, $30pb (also e-book).  “The world is on the brink of the greatest crisis it has ever faced: a spiraling lack of fresh water,” as demand for water surges, while groundwater dries up. Worsening water security will soon have dire consequences in many parts of the global economic system.  At its 2008 Davos Annual Meeting, the WEF assembled a group of public, private, NGO and academic experts to examine the water crisis issue from all perspectives.  The resulting forecast – a stark, nontechnical overview of where we will be by 2025 if we take a business-as-usual approach to (mis)managing our water resources – suggests how business and politics need to manage the water-food-energy-climate nexus as leaders negotiate details of a climate change regime to replace the Kyoto protocols.   
 (WATER * SECURITY AND WATER * CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * FOOD/AGRICULTURE)
 
** America’s Environmental Report Card: Are We Making the Grade? (Second Edition).  Harvey Blatt (Prof of Geology, Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew U of Jerusalem).  Cambridge: MIT Press, April 2011, 376p, $19.95pb.  Looks at water supplies, new concerns about water purity, the dangers of floods, infrastructure problems, the leaching of garbage buried in landfills, soil, contaminated crops, organic food, fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, controversies over nuclear energy, the increasing pace of climate change, and air pollution.  Outlines workable and reasonable solutions that map the course to a sustainable future, and argues that American can lead the way to a better environment: we can afford it, and can’t afford not to.   [Also see America’s Food: What You Don’t Know About What You Eat by Harvey Blatt (MIT, 2008).] 
(ENVIRONMENT/RESOURCES * ENERGY * POLLUTION IN U.S. * WATER * FOOD)
 
* The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America’s Environment, Security, and IndependenceMichael J. Graetz (Prof of Law, Columbia U).  Cambridge: MIT Press, April 2011, 400p, $29.95.  Americans have been living an energy delusion for 40 years: they have never been asked to pay a price that reflects the real cost of the energy they consume.  Presidents have wasted billions seeking a technological “silver bullet” to solve all our problems, while Congress has elevated narrow parochial interests over national goals, directing huge subsidies and tax breaks to favored constituents and contributors.  Describes 40 years of energy policy incompetence (the Nixon administration’s fumbled response to the OPEC oil embargo, failure to develop alternative energy sources, the current standoff over “cap and trade”) and calls for better decisions on the US energy future that reflect the real energy costs.                                              (ENERGY * ENERGY: WASTEFUL DECISIONS IN U.S.)
 
* World Energy Outlook 2010International Energy Agency.  Paris: IEA/OECD, Nov 2010, 700p.  Updates projections to 2035 of energy demand, production, trade, and investment, fuel by fuel and region by region.  Shows what must be done and spent to achieve the goal of the Copenhagen Accord (where many countries pledged to reduce GHG emissions), how China and India will increasingly shape the global energy landscape, the role of renewables, what removing fossil-fuel subsidies would mean for energy markets and climate change, trends in Caspian energy markets, prospects for unconventional oil, and how to give the global population access to modern energy services.  Includes a new scenario that anticipates future actions by governments to meet the commitments they have made to tackle climate change.        (ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE * COPENHAGEN ACCORD * GLOBAL ENERGY)
 
** Energy Technology Perspectives 2010: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050International Energy Agency.  Paris: OECD/IEA, July 2010, 710p.  Examines emerging energy technologies, their costs and benefits, and policies needed to foster their use and accelerate the switch to a more secure, low-carbon energy future.  Presents updated scenarios from the present to 2050, highlights the importance of finance to achieve change, considers implications of the scenarios for energy security, and offers roadmaps and transition pathways for spurring development of the most important clean technologies and for overcoming existing barriers.  
(ENERGY * SCENARIOS: ENERGY TECHNOLOGY TO 2050 * LOW-CARBON ENERGY FUTURE)
 
** America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation (Summary Edition).  Committee on America’s Energy Future, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, National Research Council.  Washington DC: National Academies Press, Jan 2010/184p (8x10”)/$24.95.  The challenge is to develop an energy portfolio that provides sufficient and affordable energy supplies to sustain economic prosperity, while reducing depletion of natural resources, degradation of the environment, and threats to national security.  Examines deployment potential, costs, barriers, and impacts of energy supply and end-use technologies during the next two to three decades.  Discusses energy efficiency, alternative transportation fuels, renewable energy, fossil fuel energy, and nuclear energy, as well as technologies for improving electrical transmission and distribution systems.                              (ENERGY * ENERGY IN U.S.: NEXT 20-30 YEARS * FUEL OPTIONS)
 
* Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy.  Rachel Cleetus, Steven Clemmer, and David Friedman (all Union of Concerned Scientists).  Washington: Island Press, March 2010/212p/$25pb.  A peer-reviewed analysis of the economic and technological potential for a comprehensive suite of climate, energy, and transport solutions to greatly reduce US global warming emissions.  Meeting stringent near-term emissions caps in the US is feasible, and can be done cost-effectively.                                                       (ENERGY; CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY BY 2030)
 
* World Energy Outlook 2009.    International Energy Agency/OECD, Nov 2009/698p. Authoritative annual global energy projections, with analysis of what the economic crisis will mean for energy markets, financing clean energy investment under a post-2012 climate framework, prospects for natural gas markets, and energy trends in Southeast Asia. (ENERGY * GLOBAL ENERGY PROJECTIONS)
 
** Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. Lester R. Brown (President, Earth Policy Institute). NY: W. W. Norton, Oct 2009/304p/$16.95pb. “Substantially revised” fourth edition on the new energy economy of wind, solar, and geothermal replacing oil, coal, and natural gas at a pace and on a scale not imagined even a year ago. Also see Plan B 3.0 (Norton, Jan 2008/398p), including a proposal for a new US Dept. of Global Security.                                                       (ENERGY * ENVIRONMENT)
 
** Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution. Charles Weiss (Distinguished Prof of Sci/Tech, Georgetown U) and William B. Bonvillian (former senior advisor, US Senate). Cambridge: MIT Press, April 2009/280p/$24. A federal program on the scale of the Manhattan Project seems essential; proposes measures to stimulate private investment in new technology, a revamped energy innovation system focusing on marketplace obstacles, and a new integrated policy framework that aims for a level playing field.                                                                                      (ENERGY * SCI/TECH)
 
* Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council. America’s Energy Future Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Sept 2009/300p/$49.95pb. On the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar photovoltaic, solar-thermal, geothermal, hydro, etc. Focuses on sources that show the most promise for initial commercial deployment within 10 years, laying out expectations of costs, performance, impacts, barriers, R&D needs, and potential improvements in the national electricity grid to enable more use of renewables. 
(ENERGY * ELECTRIC POWER)
 
* Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council. America’s Energy Future Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Sept 2009/300p/$49.95pb. The transport sector cannot continue on its current path: developing domestic sources of alternative fuels with lower greenhouse emissions is now a national imperative. Coal and biomass are in abundant supply, and potential costs are considered for biochemical conversion of biomass and thermochemical conversion of coal and biomass. With immediate action and sustained effort, alternative liquid fuels can be available by 2020.
(ENERGY * TRANSPORTATION FUELS * COAL * BIOMASS)
 
* Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council. America’s Energy Future Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Sept 2009/300p/$49.95pb. On the potential for reducing energy demand through improving efficiency by using existing technologies, technologies developed but not yet widely utilized, and prospective technologies. Evaluates technologies based on estimated time to initial commercial deployment, costs, barriers, and research needs. To achieve greater efficiency, we need technology, more informed consumers and producers, and investments.
(ENERGY EFFICIENCY* TECHNOLOGY)
 
* Blackout: Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis. Richard Heinberg (Post Carbon Institute, Sebastopol CA; www.RichardHeinberg.com). New Society Publishers, June 2009/208p/$18.95pb. Growing reliance on the dirtiest of all fossil fuels has crucial implications for global climate, energy policy, the world economy, and geopolitics, and the time of peak coal production is closer than we think. Also by Heinberg, see Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (NSP, 2007/224p/$24.95pb) on how to make the transition from The Age of Excess to the Era of Modesty with grace and satisfaction, and The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse (NSP, 2006/208p/$16.95pb), proposing an accord where nations voluntarily reduce oil production and imports according to a consistent, sensible formula.                 (ENERGY* COAL)
 
* Challenged by Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change. Bryan Lovell (Senior Research Fellow in Earth Sciences, Cambridge U). Cambridge U Press, Jan 2010/208p/$28.99pb. Considers the tensions accompanying the gradual greening of the petroleum industry over the last decade, and how—given the right lead from government—the oil industry could be environmental saviors by playing a crucial role in capture and storage of CO2; also calls for decisive leadership and urgent action to establish an international framework of policy and regulation.     (CLIMATE CHANGE* ENERGY* OIL INDUSTRY)
 
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