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Energy Perspectives, Problems, and Prospects

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ISBN-10: 0195386116

ISBN-13: 9780195386110

Edition: 2010

Authors: Michael B. McElroy

List price: $88.00
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The book offers a comprehensive account of how the world evolved to its present state in which humans now exercise a powerful, in many cases dominant, influence for global environmental change. It outlines the history that led to this position of dominance, in particular the role played by our increasing reliance on fossil sources of energy, on coal, oil and natural gas, and the problems that we are now forced to confront as a result of this history. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is greater now than at any time over at least the past 650,000 years with prospects to increase over the next few decades to levels not seen since dinosaurs roamed the Earth 65 million years ago. Comparable changes for evident also for methane and nitrous oxide and for a variety of other constituents of the atmosphere including species such as the ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons for which there are no natural analogues. Increases in the concentrations of so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are responsible for important changes in global and regional climate with consequences for the future of global society which, though difficult to predict in detail, are potentially catastrophic for a world poorly equipped to cope. Changes of climate in the past were repetitively responsible for the demise of important civilizations. These changes, however, were generally natural in origin in contrast to the changes now underway for which humans are directly responsible. The challenge is to transition to a new energy economy in which fossil fuels will play a much smaller role. We need as a matter of urgency to cut back on emissions of climate altering gases such as carbon dioxide while at the same time reducing our dependence on unreliable, potentially disruptive, though currently indispensable, sources of energy such as oil, the lifeblood of the global transportation system. The book concludes with a discussion of options for a more sustainable energy future, highlighting the potential for contributions from wind, sun, biomass, geothermal and nuclear, supplanting currently unsustainable reliance on coal, oil and natural gas.
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Book details

List price: $88.00
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/21/2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 424
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.584
Language: English

From Hunter-Gathers to English factories
Energy: What Is It and How Do We Measure It
Wood, Photosynthesis, and the Carbon cycle
Coal: Origin, History, and Problems
Oil: Properties, Origin, History, Problems, and Prospects
Nature Gas: Origin, History, and Prospects
Energy from Water and Wind
Nuclear Power
Steam Power
Automobile, Trucks, and the Internal Combustion Enqine
The Challenge of Global Climate Change
Prospects for Carbon Capture and Sequestration
Ethanol from Biomass: Can It Substitute for Gasoline?
Current Patterns of Energy Use
Vision for a Low-Carbon Energy Future