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Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties (MIT Press) Paperback – February 11, 2005
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A wealth of very useful information about energy use, resources, and environmental and socioeconomic impact, and the author's unabashed but educated opinions about approaches to the future. Thought-provoking and highly worthwhile reading for both believers and unbelievers.(Professor Noam Lior, Editor-in-Chief, ENERGY - The International Journal)
An authoritative and comprehensive look at global energy prospects by one of the world's most respected energy scholars.(Cutler J. Cleveland, Professor and Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Boston University)
Vaclav Smil's work stands as a bright light in a sea of dim treatises on the subject of energy. His previous energy books are invaluable and insightful resources, filled with real facts and clear writing. Energy at the Crossroads continues and expands that tradition.(Mark P. Mills, Digital Power Capital)
An excellent guide for the general reader or university student to complex energy and environmental issues. Smil's critical thinking, independence, and conscious attempts to remain objective while clearly keeping in mind normative goals are, as always, refreshing.(Jonthan E. Sinton, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
A thorough introduction to the subject and a thoughtful consideration of the conundrums it presents. Smil skillfully guidees readers through the forests and the trees.(Foreign Affairs)
...[A] sweeping survey of global energy trends...(Jeremiah Creedon Utne)
Energy at the Crossroads provides a highly accessible tour of the state of the energy world.(Daniel M. Kammen Science)
Smil has the best macroscope of all current energy analysts.(Jesse H. Ausubel , Director, Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University)
The most sober, thorough, and thoughtful integrated text on energy available, and it embodies core facts and some fundamental truths that any analyst of energy issues should ponder.(Michael Grubb Nature)
...[Zeroes] in on the issue of reconciling the world's accelerating demand for energy...(Peter D. Blair American Scientist)
About the Author
Vaclav Smil is the author of more than thirty books on energy, the environment, food, and the history of technical advances, including Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature, published by the MIT Press. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. In 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chapter 2 looks carefully at, in all major countries, a number of important linkages to energy, including such parameters as GDP, infant mortality, life expectancy, food availability, the "human development index", the "political freedom index", air quality, water quality, GHG emissions, war, and terrorism.Read more ›
MIT Press 2003
A Book Review by Steve Baer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
So many good things about Vaclav Smil's Energy at the Crossroads make it difficult to explain the shortcomings.
Smil's arguments are straightforward and his statistics, with one giant exception, are extensive.
He doesn't bring the false drama to his chapters on oil that so many authors are unable to resist. Smil knows a great deal about our use of fossil fuels. Who should know more than he after over thirty years of study, yet he says he doesn't know how much more oil there is, or how long it will last. Smil is skeptical of such pronouncements. His long chapter on "against forecasting" is alone worth the price of the book. Our relationship with energy is simply too complex for us to see into the future. Some may not wish to read books like this. After all, isn't it easy to say, "I don't know and don't think anyone else does either"?
I am so glad for the few sentences Smil writes about himself, about his youth in Czechoslovakia. He tells of splitting the mountains of firewood during the summer which he lights (with difficulty) before dawn in the winter; about the oil furnace and now the 90% efficient natural gas stove that supplies any heat the sun doesn't for his passive solar home in Manitoba.
Energy at the Crossroads lifts up and away from its numbers and graphs. The joy of the hot-rodder or jet pilot appears many times as Smil recounts how we have arrived at our turbo jets, our 500 kW households (including vehicles), our enormous oil tankers, so effective that shipping costs hardly change with distance. These certainly are accomplishments to revel in, and Smil does.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great content for technical energy matters. It has a lot of helpful examples and resources to better understand energy needs and evaluate options.Published on August 27, 2013 by Richard W Thomas
the book arrived quickly and in the condition described. i was very pleased with the purchase.Published on July 1, 2009 by Shivani Shah
Regardless of your position on global warming, this is a very scholarly and informative must-read book.Published on September 21, 2007 by MES
Read this for a Global Energy course, and I might I write that this is one book that I would not recommend to any one that is not working or investing in the industry. Read morePublished on February 20, 2006 by E Neel