Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know

Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know

Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know

Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know

Synopsis

Without a doubt, the topic of energy - from coal, oil, and nuclear to geothermal, solar and wind - is one of the most pressing across the globe. It is of paramount importance to policy makers, economists, environmentalists, and industry as they consider which technologies to invest in, how topromote use of renewable energy sources, and how to plan for dwindling reserves of non-renewable energy.In Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jose Goldemberg, a nuclear physicist who has been hailed by Time magazine as one of the world's top "leaders and visionaries on the environment," takes readers through the basics of the world energy system, its problems, and the technical as well asnon-technical solutions to the most pressing energy problems. Addressing the issues in a Q-and-A format, Goldemberg answers such questions as: What are wind, wave, and geothermal energy? What are the problems of nuclear waste disposal? What is acid rain? What is the greenhouse gas effect? What is Carbon Capture and Storage? What are smart grids? What is the Kyoto Protocol? What is "cap and trade"? The book sheds light on the role of population growth in energy consumption, renewable energy resources, the amount of available energy reserves (and when they will run out), geopolitical issues, environmental problems, the frequency of environmental disasters, energy efficiency, new technologies,and solutions to changing consumption patterns. It will be the first place to look for information on the vital topic of energy.

Excerpt

Energy is an essential ingredient of life. Without energy there is no movement, no moving machinery, no telecommunication— no human life. At the dawn of civilization, energy needs were very modest; humans only needed enough energy, which was obtained through the food they collected and ate, to remain alive. The amount of energy that one human needed per day at this time equaled the amount contained in a cup of petroleum. Today, each of us needs at least one hundred times more energy per day, which, worldwide, means billions of barrels of oil and coal per year to run our automobiles and trucks, and coal, hydroelectricity, and nuclear reactors to generate electricity. Without energy our civilization would come to a halt. The problem is that in the 21st century almost all of the energy we use originates in fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and gas). Such dependence creates serious problems that threaten our way of life: it exhausts the reserves of fossil fuels and results in environmental problems, particularly the warming of the Earth. In order to face such problems and do something about them, one should know more about energy. We will try to do that by answering a number of leading questions organized into five sections:

HOW IS ENERGY USED TODAY? What are the human
needs for energy, and how do they relate to economic
growth and other indicators of well-being?

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