Rifkin, who has long studied how Europe is reducing its dependence on fossil fuel energies (and how the U.S. is failing to keep up), makes an important, impeccably argued call for wide-scale societal collaboration to forestall devastating climate change. Industrial civilization, he says, is at a crossroads; our reliance on carbon-based energy has created debt, destruction, and a plummeting living standard, and we need a new paradigm—a third Industrial Revolution. He proposes steps that would help us avert catastrophic climate change: a shift to renewable energy, the worldwide creation of micro–power plants, updating energy storage technologies, creating an energy-sharing intergrid, and transitioning to electric plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles. In his dense, thoughtful style, Rifkin discusses the benefits of actions big and small—from vegetarianism to microlending for local green energy generation—and how, given the U.S.'s worrying refusal to acknowledge the gravity of the situation, a true fix will require a powerful renewable energy lobby, big business, government, and civil society to come together on this issue. Though the average reader may find some of the science slow going at times, this is a compelling and cogent argument to overhaul our society and economy in favor of a distributed and collaborative model—to "begin to think of ourselves as a global family." (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011 Release date: 09/01/2011 Genre: Nonfiction
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