Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World

This is the title of a new book by Tom Rand. I have heard of Tom Rand – he is involved with Clean Tech in Toronto, and has a profile in the clean energy space. So I though I would read his book.

The book has 10 chapters each of which outlines the potential for various technologies to reduce our fossil emissions. The chapters include solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, hydropower, ocean energy (wave and tide), smart buildings, transportation, conservation and efficiency, and the energy internet (smart grid). At a 30,000 foot level, the book assesses the potential of each technology, and assesses the cost. Along the way, the book covers some basics of climate science, and some comments on financing clean energy, hydrogen, nuclear, peak oil, and other relevant topics.

The book is easy to read, and accessible even to those new to the concepts presented. By far the book’s greatest strength is its illustrations. Each technology has wonderful photographs, that helps the reader comprehend concepts. The book is full of useful information, but is also a coffee table quality picture book that can enlighten even someone with a casual interest.

I have spent a great deal of time in the detail policy area, and so I can’t help but wonder if the author is underestimating the complexity of effecting societal change at the detailed level, so that these techologies can be widely deployed. But underestimating the difficulty of change doesn’t change the central message – which is that the solutions to climate change are at hand – we just need to get on with deploying them.

In the author’s words, “Please be part of the solution. Your kids and grandkids will want to know where you stood, because it (climate change) will dominate their personal and professional lives. Understand why we need to kick the fossil fuel habit. See that there are solutions, but know that they’re difficult to achieve and require effort. Talk to your friends and neighbours, and co-workers. Because we aren’t going to solve this problem if we don’t all believe it is necessary – and possible.”

Well done, Mr. Rand.

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