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Ten Technologies to Save the Planet Paperback – November 13, 2008

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From Publishers Weekly

Goodall, a columnist for the U.K. Sunday Independent, (How to Live a Low-Carbon Life) offers a welcome breath of fresh air that lands somewhere between technophiles who optimistically believed free-market would create technologies to combat global warming, and pessimists who hold a more catastrophic view. While he steps on the toes of some environmentalists, his solutions seem realistic, if initially costly. In his view there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the energy crisis. Britain, he argues, has "awesome wave and tidal energy" that can be captured by water mills, but is too cloudy to depend on solar energy. He gives an appraisal of the possibilities for making solar energy more efficient and less costly by using nontechnology to "precisely arrange the atoms on the printed semiconductor surface," a process developed in the UK and being marketed in Germany. Also discussed are the benefits of large off shore wind-turbine farms, capturing carbon from coal powered utilities, and Biofuels. None of the technologies he considers are yet competitive with fossil fuels, but with sufficient start-up capital from private and public sources, and large enough markets to allow economies of scale, they could be. His straightforward evaluation of green technologies should interest technology buffs or investors and he raises a number of questions that merit serious debate.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


'Ten Technologies is superb - it cuts like lightning through the myths and muddled thinking surrounding energy issues. It is vital, topical, and a very fresh approach' Mark Lynas. '[A] brilliantly concise and clear-eyed account' Fred Pearce, New Scientist.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Green Profile (November 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668868X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846688683
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,251,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Balbach on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely excellent overview of green/clean technology and solutions to global warming.

I thought I already knew a lot about clean technology through blogs, science news and other books - and Goodall is current with the latest news up to early 2008 - but there was hardly a page in this book I did not learn something new, or had my perspectives changed. This is not starry-eyed techno optimism, nor a pessimists dark vision. Goodall takes a sober non-ideological even-handed engineering perspective with lightly placed pronouncements on the viability of technologies, both good and bad, often convincingly overturning perceived wisdom and myth. The book would also make an excellent primer for anyone looking to invest in clean technology, it cuts through the hype and quickly gets to the bottom line of energy units and costs, and the risks. My copy is dogeared with some of the best specific products and companies to look into as investment potentials.

The chapter titles say a lot:

1. Capturing the wind
2. Solar energy
3. Electricity from the oceans
4. Combined heat and power
5. Super-efficient homes
6. Electric cars
7. Motor fuels from cellulose
8. Capturing carbon
9. Biochar
10. Soil and forests

Each chapter stands on its own and if your only interested in some the others can be skipped, but they are all fascinating. The author is British and it is written for an English audience, usually using British pounds and examples, but the US is mentioned many times and it is easy to extrapolate (many US companies are mentioned). It is very well written and easy to read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Tai on April 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Chris Goodall (2008) Ten Technologies to Save the Planet. London:
GreenProfile. ISBN 978-1-84668-868-3.

A friend who has the job of raising public awareness about climate
change once told me: As soon as you mention percentages and the
centigrade to a typical audience, you have lost them. But there is
another school of popular science outreach, a proponent of which is the
late Professor Paul Saltman of San Diego. He insisted that (for example)
it is not enough for public nutrition campaigns to put food into groups
and count dietary portions, but that people need to be taught about
metabolism -- about the hard science.

Responding to current concerns about climate change and energy security,
an optimistic version of this kind of hard science can be found in Ten
Technologies to Save the Planet, billed as a popular science book on a
hot topic. The author Chris Goodall, not a scientist by training but an
alumnus of Harvard Business School, demonstrates herein an often
neglected but essential trait in any hard-nosed businessperson: an
understanding of basic laws of nature. An entrepreneur, upon
encountering a patent document, should be knowledgeable enough to ask
(and likely to answer) the question: Does this invention violate the
second law of thermodynamics? Goodall's lifelong interest in science,
kindled by devoted school teachers, is thus put to good use,
distinguishing the specious hype from the scientific advances that can
contribute in mitigating or adapting to the effects of climate change.
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Format: Paperback
The geographical characteristics of an area dictate which renewable energy sources will work best. Because renewable energy is inherently, though predictably, intermittent, governments will need to build supplementary systems. Basically, no single technology will answer all of the world's needs. However, a "portfolio" of technologies should do the trick. Businessman and climate change expert Chris Goodall describes 10 technologies in intricate detail, from the well-known to the obscure, and explains clearly which will work where, and why. Each technology has the potential to reduce the world's annual carbon dioxide output by 10%. Although quite technical, getAbstract recommends this book to businesspeople, plant managers, home owners and others who value social responsibility and sustainability.
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