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Before the Lights Go Out
ISBN
9780470876251
Uitgever
JOHN WILEY & SONS INC
Druk vanaf
1e
Verschenen
01-01-2012
Taal
Engels
Bladzijden
290 pp.
Bindwijze
Hardcover
Genre
Geografie & Landbouw
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Before the Lights Go Out

Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us

First the bad news: over the next twenty years, the United States must cut 20 quadrillion BTUs from its annual consumption of fossil fuels, more than 25 percent of the energy currently being used. This is a matter of both economic and environmental necessity. The good news is that we have the technology to pull it off. But where should we start? What exactly needs to be done? How much will it cost? And won't such a drastic reduction in energy use destroy the American way of life?

In Before the Lights Go Out, science blogger and journalist Maggie Koerth-Baker presents a comprehensive analysis of the ways in which America produces, distributes, and consumes energy. She explains how our current systems developed, points out their strengths and weaknesses, and offers candid assessments of the time, the difficulty, and the expense involved in making radical changes to the energy systems that have shaped our lives for a hundred years. And the new world that results will be neither business-as-usual nor a hippie utopia.

Drawing on more than two years of research and interviews with experts on everything from our electrical grid and electric cars to fracking and passive buildings, Koerth-Baker explains what we can do, what we can't do, and why "the solution" is really a lot of solutions working together.

This isn't about planting a tree, buying a Prius, and proving that you're a good person. Economic and social incentives got us a country full of gas-guzzling cars, long commutes, inefficient houses, and coal-fired power plants in the middle of nowhere, and economics and incentives will build our new world. Ultimately, change is inevitable. If we don't control it, it will control us.

Koerth-Baker argues that we're not going to solve the energy problem by convincing everyone to live like it's 1900—nobody wants to do that. Rather than reverting to the past, we will be building a future where we get energy from new places and use it in new ways and do more with less. But for all the new technology, we'll still need coal-fired, nuclear, and natural gas–burning power plants—and we'll still be pumping gasoline into our (far more fuel-efficient) cars for many decades to come.

She also looks at new battery technology, smart grids, decentralized generation, clean coal, and carbon sequestration—buzzwords now, but they'll be a part of our everyday life soon.

Yes, solving the energy problem is more urgent than ever before. Yes, we have the technology to do that—and the results may surprise you. Before the Lights Go Out reveals what that will look like.

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