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Essential Penetrating Key Insights
on September 12, 2010
This is an excellent and very refreshing book, presented with great clarity, and with penetrating, key insights. While it does not get bogged down in details - the presented points are nonetheless far from being superficial.
First, the author points out that CO2 emissions WILL continue to increase throughout this century. NOTHING - politically, economically, or technologically will prevent the citizens of the world from exploiting cheap fossil energy to make their lives better. Clearly, the developing nations (who are already producing most of the CO2 now) are not going to stop needing and producing more energy-generation capacity. And the developed nations cannot cut back without economic disaster to themselves, and even if they did, the developing nations would gobble up the same fossil fuels the developed nations forgo. What WILL limit the increased emissions is the exhaustion of economically recoverable resources. When it's gone - it's gone - perhaps in 100 years - but not before. Reducing consumption now would delay the transfer from ground to atmosphere only slightly.
So, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will approximately double over the next century (and then taper back), regardless of what anyone would like to see done. Fortunately this is NOT a serious problem - far far from the disaster the alarmist have been shouting about for even modest increases, and this is Gerondeau's second major point. His view that dangerous, man-made global warming is not a problem (indeed that CO2 does not cause significant warming) is consistent with what at least a dozen recent books on the science have been telling us - contrary to the IPCC. As to the IPCC, Gerondeau's third major point (should we trust the IPCC, Hansen, Gore, etc.) is an overwhelming NO. Once again, there are many books and websites consistent with this agenda-questioning view.
Is Gerondeau telling us to just go ahead and expend energy and not worry about tomorrow? Yes and no I think. Yes because the earth has an immense capacity to take care of itself, and the human race has an immense capacity to solve problems as they come up (with somewhat less predictive ability). And "no" because we will have to deal with finding new sources of energy in a hundred years. But we will adjust and adapt, not to forestall a disastrous climate consequence (unsolvable anyway, and fortunately, imaginary), but nicely tailored to solving real, sensible, economically realistic, and manageable problems with useful results for the near and far term.
Toward the end of the book we find an optimistic and sensible look at alternative energies, and adaptations to any possible climate changes. For example, he reminds us that corn ethanol is a foolish net energy loss (not to mention and destruction of food!) while other bio-fuels will eventually be developed and make sense. Overall, he nicely sets myths and trumped-up alarmist fears in the proper perspective, relative to real problems and realistic solutions.
I almost wish the author had begun his book with words like "now pay attention stupid!" and I am tempted to work in the word epiphany to my reaction to it. This book is translated from the French, so one wonders if the French was exceptionally clear and survived translation, or was it just the clarity of the issues in the author's mind that shines through. A relatively short and easy read. Essential.