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Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects Hardcover – May 26, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0313381775 ISBN-10: 0313381771

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (May 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313381771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313381775
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Vaclav Smil has written another important book on energy which is quite amazing. Although there are a lot of important books about energy, as an author Smil is in a class by himself in terms of breadth and depth. -- Bill Gates

[Smil] has an eye for detail as he quantifies many historical amounts, providing a much needed reality check for any energy transition scenario under consideration. --The Oil Drum

• Offers a controversial, interdisciplinary thesis that challenges the expectation that significant progress in the energy transitions favored by President Obama's energy policy can be effected during his term in office

• Shows specifically why hopes for a rapid transition to a world dominated by renewable energy conversions rest more on a wishful thinking than on technical, economic, and social realities

• Tackles this important subject in light of long-term historical perspectives, providing both global and national coverage in a no-nonsense analysis of the constraints on the tempo of U.S. and global energy transitions

• Provides a foundation for more rational energy policies



• Includes case studies of energy transitions in eight nations

• Presents graphs of energy transitions on global and national scales, showing both common features and idiosyncratic patterns

• Features photographs of the containment vessel of America's first nuclear reactor and of a stationary gas turbine

• Provides a thorough bibliography



"Vaclav Smil has written another important book on energy which is quite amazing. Although there are a lot of important books about energy, as an author Smil is in a class by himself in terms of breadth and depth."

-

TheGatesNotes.com



"Recommended. Students and general readers, all levels."

-

Choice

Review

"Energy Transitions is the place to go for science-based climate/energy policy analysis, as nations are increasingly squeezed between growing energy demand and avoiding adverse climate change by phaseout of fossil fuel carbon emissions. Where will tens of carbon-neutral terawatts come from midcentury and beyond? Doable, but hard, Vaclav Smil looks unblinkingly into this abyss, drawing from his encyclopedic grasp of ecology and energy to explicate the historically unprecedented energy technology transition ahead." (Marty Hoffert, Professor Emeritus of Physics, New York University)

More About the Author


Vaclav Smil is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He completed his graduate studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Carolinum University in Prague and at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences of the Pennsylvania State University. His interdisciplinary research interests encompass a broad area of energy, environmental, food, population, economic, historical and public policy studies, and he had also applied these approaches to energy, food and environmental affairs of China.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy) and the first non-American to receive the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology. He has been an invited speaker in more than 250 conferences and workshops in the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, has lectured at many universities in North America, Europe and East Asia and has worked as a consultant for many US, EU and international institutions. His wife Eva is a physician and his son David is an organic synthetic chemist.

Official Website: www.vaslavsmil.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Burkean Bibliophile on July 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Very incisive and thought-provoking work though excessively technical at times. Smil does a good job demonstrating that energy technology transitions are protracted affairs with frequent "bumps in the road." While he favors renewable energy, he recognizes that the claims of many renewable energy proponents, most notably con artist Al Gore, are vastly overblown. One area Smil could have done a better job in is describing the consumer costs of transitioning to renewable energy; particularly in areas such as transportation, fuel prices, and fueling convenience. Until it is possible for consumers at large to purchase renewable powered vehicles at prices comparable to today's cars, recharge or refuel them in the amount of time it takes to fill up at the gas station, the utopian fantasies of renewable energy as a panacea to carbon emissions will remain the expensive pipe dreams of limousine liberals.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Rock on January 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This guy has to all together when it comes to energy. His vision is awesome. I captured some of his quotes for my web site.
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7 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stephen C. Baer on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We certainly are the uncouth ones, leaving nature's paws and feathers for tires and metals driving cars on the endless pavement covering more and more of the land, flying in ever larger, faster more numerous airplanes that have netted the sky with vapor trails. Smil's book is about our transition into all this. He starts with wood fires, water wheels, windmills and animal powered wagons and machines then goes on to the steam engine, internal combustion engine, and gas turbine.
From Fire to Wire. First crouching before fire in smokey caves then recently flourishing everywhere by wire, to be lit, heated or cooled by electric machines from distant power plants.
As usual with Smil, the book is very good but it leaves out so much. All these machines are like a giant Stalagmite that has formed thanks to a drip drip of precious life, everything is built on a deposit of what came before, all the equipment, the power and convenience.
Smil is a historian of this stalagmite, a study of energy, apparatus, formed by human hands. I see him, the professor from Prague in a white lab coat lecturing us. We are spellbound, the topic, science and Smil partakes of it, he wants to be part of it why else would he choose the joule, a mere watt second as a base unit of energy? We buy energy at least by the kilowatt hour as we buy gasoline by the gallon not the drop.
Three million six hundred thousand joules per kilowatt hour. Smil wants to use big numbers. There he is in his white lab coat woven with fleece of the metric system a historian now with a chance to use big numbers like one of the scientists. We really have to bear down on those who want to appear scientific. They are after undue influence from the scientific badge.
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