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Sustainable Fossil Fuels: The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy Paperback – January 16, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0521679794 ISBN-10: 0521679796 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (January 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521679796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521679794
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,920,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jaccard's book is perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of the sources of energy that has been produced, here or elsewhere. Policy makers in Ontario should be forced to read it, and also the host of misguided environmentalists who think there is a soft fix to a hard problem." Robert M. MacIntosh, Globe and Mail

"Even less-optimistic readers or those unconvinced by the arguments will find Jaccard's case worth careful consideration" -Science Magazine

"Mark Jaccard's book does not have a catchy title and will not make the best-seller lists, but it stands to influence what kind of car you drive and how you heat your home" - Judy Stoffman, Toronto Star

Book Description

More and more people believe we must quickly wean ourselves from oil, natural gas and coal to save the planet from wars, environmental catastrophe and economic collapse. In this 2006 book, Jaccard controversially argues that fossil fuels will play a key role in our quest for a sustainable energy system.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By APM on March 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Complete. Here and now. Solid. It takes the reader on a 360 degree loop, at least for the next 100 years. Professor Jaccard evidently knows how to deliver a class. Good economic analysis, just three things I wanted to mention:

1. The book needs a relative sense of the urgency for policy that fosters carbon capture -with its corresponding research of possible CO2 leaks- a starting point, if not the cornerstone of his proposal.
2. Idem 1 but for legislation that promotes the adaptation of new technologies (ingenuity) to replace the vanishing fossil fuels. These technologies are intrinsically linked to the success of the proposal as a whole.
3. I wasn't very convinced on the transportation front. If combustion from "Status Enhancement Vehicles" represents almost half of the total anthropogenic-related pollution, shouldn't we be focusing more on them? The current technologies are mentioned and explained, but transportation is key in our urban societies and needs a push from governments if a transition is to take place in the short run. Taxing private vehicle owners (Yes, like smokers!)could be a means to promote and build alternative clean transportation and at the same time curb driving.

I understand that the book cannot cover all the issues at hand. In 361 pages, it addresses and explains with surprising clarity our current situation and possible solutions. Worth every page.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Calgary Conservator on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Given all the talk of "peak oil" in the media, it appears that the public has accepted the message that we are running out of all manner of fossil fuels. Regardless, high pump prices aren't viewed as signs of increasing scarcity, but rather of increased collusion among big oil companies.

This book provides a very useful compendium of energy industry information, and argues convincingly that fossil fuels will not run out for quite some time. The information the book contains would go far to dispelling a lot of fossil fuel "urban myths" if energy consumers took the time to read it.

Other recently released books on energy and climate change encourage readers to "stick it" to big oil and big coal by going "off-grid", etc., and don't sufficiently explore how these same companies can play a role in a more sustainable energy future.

While fossil fuels may never be viewed as "clean" by the public, they will certainly endure for centuries as Jaccard attests. This book is a useful read for those interested in learning how to make fossil fuel-based economies more sustainable, using more facts and less media hyperbole.
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Format: Paperback
"Sustainable Fossil Fuels: The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy" tackles the task of explaining why the solution to energy consumption is not limited to finding an alternative to fossil fuels. The author argues that there is evidence that the world has untapped resources and an energy reserve supply of fossil fuels to last perhaps 800 years (for gas and coal), and that rising prices of precious fuel resources should not be assumed to mean the end of stored fossil fuel energy is imminent. Considering the options of renewable energy, nuclear power, and energy efficiency, the author states:" The end (goal) is a low impact and low risk energy system that can meet expanded human energy needs indefinitely and do this as inexpensively as possible, without succumbing to cataclysmic forces at some future time...it is unjustifiable to rule out fossil fuels in advance of a holistic comparison that considers critical decision factors. These factors include cost... the human desire to minimize the risk of extreme events...to ensure adequate and reliable energy supplies free from geopolitical turmoil, and to sustain values, institutions and lifestyles (p. 355)." Jaccard believes that fossil fuels are likely to continue to provide a significant resource to the global energy system during a gradual transition to a sustainable global energy system, perhaps over a period of more than a century. "Sustainable Fossil Fuels" makes a convincing argument for thorough review of the cost of energy sustainability, leading to an unprejudiced reconsideration of continuing the mixed use of fossil fuels. A handy chapter reading guide suggests the best way to read the book, considering the following key questions: What is energy sustainability (Chapter 1)?Read more ›
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. N. Shea on February 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jaccard's book is a good survey of many of the issues and problems surrounding energy use. But he pays lip service to some critically important issues.

Despite a few brief glimpses outside, Jaccard takes the usual economist's "closed system" approach and couples it with the usual technotopian idea that humans have the ingenuity to find technological fixes for virtually any problem. In talking about the future impact of human activity on the natural world, Jaccard comments that "any individual unavoidable hazards can be ones from which the system could recover within a reasonable time, either from natural processes alone or in concert with human remediation efforts" (p. 355)

A BBC News report that states that, due to human activity, "organisms are disappearing at something like 100 to 1,000 times the background levels' seen in the fossil record." ( [...] ) This loss of biodiversity has a direct impact on human health and wealth. To date, "natural processes" and "human remediation efforts" have not managed to bring back any extinct species.

Jaccard promotes the idea of "zero emission" fossil fuels at the point of use, but neglects the fact that large quantities of fossil fuels and resources are required by the operation of, and even production of, the machinery and infrastructure required to produce those fuels. He talks about the expansion of "clean" nuclear energy, but again neglects the emissions from mining, processing, and transporting fuel, storing and safeguarding spent fuel, and the construction of power plants and machinery. More importantly, Jaccard fails to mention the social irresponsibility of leaving behind toxic mine tailings and wastewater, spent fuel, and power plants that are decommissioned after their relatively short life span.
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