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Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning Hardcover – April 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The most powerful treatise yet on the gravity of global warming....I defy you to read this book and not feel motivated to change." -- The Times (London)

"Uncompromising in its message, intelligence, and honesty. Parents...should consider it required reading." -- The Globe & Mail

"Well-researched and worth reading for the detailed technical analysis showing just how [the country] could cut its greenhouse gas output and still enjoy the comforts of modern life." -- The Financial Times

From the Inside Flap

We know that climate change is happening.

We know it could, if the worst predictions come true, destroy the conditions which make human life possible.

Only one question is now worth asking:

Can it be stopped?

George Monbiot shows it can.

For the first time, Heat demonstrates that we can achieve the necessary cut--a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030--without bringing civilization to an end. Though written with a "spirit of optimism," Monbiot does not pretend it will be easy. Our response will have to be immediate, and it will have to be decisive.

With dazzling intellect and ample wit, Monbiot supports his proposals with a rigorous investigation into what works, what doesn't, how much it costs, and what the problems might be. He shows us how we can transform our houses, our power, and our transportation systems. By showing that we can save our biosphere without losing our comfort and security, he sweeps away the perpetual excuse for doing nothing: that it would be too painful and expensive to sustain life on Earth. And he is not afraid to attack anyone--friend or foe--whose claims are false or whose figures have been fudged. His exciting, disturbing ideas expose corporate disinformation campaigns, inflated expectations for emerging technologies, and the cowardice of our politicians.

Monbiot observes, "We are the last generation that can make this happen, and this is the last possible moment at which we can make it happen." There is no time to waste.

Inspiring, original, burning with fury and disgust, this book could change the world.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896087794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896087798
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,241,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on November 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
With many politicians and scientists asserting that the Kyoto Protocol emissions levels cannot be met, should we abandon it for an "alternative solution". George Monbiot says that's the wrong question. The proper query is: "Have we really tried?" Monbiot thinks not and lists numerous cases of inattention, indifference and downright dishonesty in why our society continues to pour greenhouse gases into the air we breathe. However, unlike so many viewing our climate situation with alarm, Monbiot is neither a "calamity howler" nor a hand-wringing commentator waiting for somebody else to set a good example. Instead, this book is a catalogue of solutions to the problem.

None of the correctives proposed here are beyond us, either as individuals or nations. Monbiot, with admirable clarity and understanding of how to accomplish them, lines out easily implemented steps we can take and/or propose to our neighbours. After introductory comments on various "alternate" energy options, Monbiot discusses how we reached the energy consumption levels we enjoy. He deems our situation a "Faustian Pact" and heads each chapter with a quote from Christopher Marlowe's play "Doctor Faustus". Like Faust, we have made a deal, but it's with Nature, not with a devil. For Monbiot, Mephistopheles is fossil fuel and our use of it has advanced. The time for settling up on the bargain is now.

After a massive research effort, Monbiot is able to describe the problem in graphic detail and targets the means of continuing our existence. He quickly dismisses the "envirosceptics" as people who are as out of touch as those who believe in magic. There are some imposing numbers involved. The UK uses 400 terawatt hours per year. A terawatt is a one with twelve zeros trailing after it.
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Format: Hardcover
An oddly disappointing book. Chiefly because GM talks mostly about the UK, not the world.

I guess GM isnt flying 'abroad' much these days, as jet aircraft are the most noxious carbon emitters he has discovered.

His columns pack a wallop, they are diffused in his book.

However, it is likely one of the most important books around.

.......... T CO2 per person

china..... 2.7

UK........ 9.5

USA....... 20.0

"micro wind turbines a waste of time and money"

I recall staying in a hippie hovel on Great Barrier Island. On the roof was a bicycle wheel with a hub generator. Pieces of tin as vanes, in the spokes. Fantastically inefficient, but on an island miles from any grid, a zero-cost way to run a radio, or charge a cell phone (which didnt exist then).

Tens of thousands of outback farms used small windmills to pump water. Way less investment than pv/electric.

GM reckons that emissions trading is like shoving food around your plate & pretending its eaten.

Taxes are unfair. What we need is rations & regulations. I cant fault him, but on my bicycle in clouds of carbon, it seems unlikely.

At present: Huge subsidies to carbon, falling investment in alternatives.

GM scatters mentions of good things being done in Germany & Sweden & Switzerland etc.

Then he returns to Leaky houses in gloomy England venting scads of carbon.

Giant Plasma TVs 5x crt

Vacuum panel fridges 12% of current fridge energy use.

Smart meters: an idea he doesnt develop.

We have the smart sensors to turn streetlights, roomlights on only when something moves nearby.
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Format: Paperback
I have yet to find a more illuminating write up on the subject of Global Warming.

Monbiot is convincing and challenging at the same time; this book flat out asks the reader to either pay attention or go out and find a better examination on the issue.

Precise and without fanfare, Monbiot brings a most burning problem close to every home and incites discussion and interest.

Buy one for yourself and three to give to the most important persons in your life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heat is an optimistic response to more pessimistic works such as Lovelock's The Revenge of Gaia which suggest we should prepare for the consequences because it is too late. Monbiot asks the hard question: what specific solutions could reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2050 and thus save the world from the worst impacts of global warming?

He examines electricity production, transportation, housing and in some case examples, retail stores and concrete production. Relying on government reports, think tanks and other sources he discovers that it may "just" be possible, so long as a society we approach it like we did WWII, with a massive and focused effort and some sacrifices. Except for long distance travel (by air, train or ship), everything else it should be possible, says Monbiot, to reduce by 90%.

Monbiot mainly addresses England. However, England is one of the worlds best organized countries politically and economically, so anything difficult for England is going to nearly impossible for other nations - can Georgia or Belarus or Chile or China reduce carbon emissions by 90%? It is a global problem and Monbiot doesn't look beyond England and the US, thus it is difficult to see how the entire world can turn around in such a short period of time. There are big areas that Monbiot does not address, such as agriculture.
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