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Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy Paperback – August 13, 2009
From Publishers Weekly
To free the U.S. of fossil fuel dependency while boosting the economy, we need the kind of visionary leadership that led to the Apollo moon landings in 1969, according to Inslee and Hendricks in this energetic articulation of a clean-energy future. That vision is sadly lacking under the current administration, reports Washington State Congressman Inslee in several caustic sidebars about his contentious energy discussions with President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. His first-person anecdotes lighten this otherwise earnest book, based on initiatives of the Apollo Alliance, an advocacy group and think tank uniting unions, environmental groups and business organizations committed to fostering a green economy. Redesigning the car, investing in solar power, mining wind for power, exploring the nascent technology of wave energy, using energy more efficiently and working clean coal and safe nuclear power into the equation are among the authors' prescriptions. Inslee is primary congressional sponsor of the New Apollo Energy Act and on the Apollo Alliance advisory board; coauthor Hendricks is a member of the alliance's steering committee. A brief foreword by Bill Clinton waxes enthusiastic about the synergy between the book, the alliance and the proposed legislation. (Nov. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
His book merely supports popular solutions to the climate-change problem and disdains unpopular ones, and he never checks the data. For example, he proposes to replace gasoline with cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass. He points to publications that promise salubrious results and doesn't mention that cellulosic ethanol has never been shown to be practical. He's sure that compressed air could store enough energy to make part-time energy sources like wind and solar practical, but he never took the trouble to see how much air volume would be required--if he did he'd realize that no such scheme could ever work. He quotes a promoter of algal biofuels saying 650 gallons of biofuel per acre per year would offset the US's oil imports with only 0.1% of its land area. A pocket calculator shows it would take over 13%, compared with 18% that's arable. In contrast, he agonizes over nuclear energy. He's aware of its importance in slowing global warming, but he's fallen into the trap of believing it enables weapons proliferation. He wrings his hands over spent fuel from reactors, even though no person has ever been harmed by it. He gasps at construction costs for nuclear plants but says nothing about the costs of wind and solar, even though those costs are higher.
We should be pleased that a representative would interest himself in this subject enough to write a book about it. The book would be more helpful if he'd taken greater care.
A much better book is Terrestrial Energy by William Tucker, a career journalist who studied the same subjects extensively and produced a comprehensive but quite legible study. Mr. Tucker lays it all out plainly with no patience for unexamined hypotheses and empty wishes. [...]
Inslee puts forth Ten Energy Enlightenments.
1. Opportunity Is Best Found in Crisis
2. Boldness Is Required - Tinkering at the Edges Didn't Put a Man on the Moon
3. We Must Reject the Tyranny of the Present
4. There Are No Silver Bullets
5. Everybody Needs to Get on the Bus
6. If Government Sets the Road Signs, the Market Will Drive
7. Failure Is an Option
8. Prejudices Are Best Left at the Door
9. Clean Energy Will Be Powered by New Politics
10. No More Free Lunches
"Failure Is an Option" is one that has been forgotten. As a nation it seems that fear of risk in the short-term is setting America up for absolute failure in the long-term. Like Apollo 13, failure is a necessary part of exploration.
Inslee sizes up energy situation and climate change well, and does thorough descriptions of energy alternatives - solar, wind, biofuels, clean coal, nuclear, tidal. His description of the "Four Horsemen of the Energy Apocalypse" is memorable.
1. Inertia - ideas can represent change in investments, policies and behavior. Inertia wears down efforts to change the status quo.
2. Special interests
3. Miasma of ideology - issues are viewed through an ideological prism rather than a scientific, pragmatic one.
4. Fear - we cannot adopt policies that can succeed.
I would add one more. Fashion. Once ideas sit for too long the media will migrate back to other things, such as Britney, Paris or Lindsay.
The only thing that I think can be considered a down side for the book is that it could have given the status of its policy proposals in Congress. However, I do recognize that doing this could make the whole book outdated when new laws are finally passed.
I think I speak for my partner and I when I say that it was inspiring. Finally, a proposed solution (or plan at least) to this problem!