Kicking the Carbon Habit: Global Warming and the Case for Renewable and Nuclear Energy

William Sweet, Author . Columbia Univ. $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-231-13710-2

Polar icecaps are melting, ocean levels are rising, greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating—and, says Sweet, the villain of catastrophic climate change is coal, whose sooty carbon emissions make it the single worst energy source. That's the essence of science journalist Sweet's sweeping survey of the America's energy options. He's no fan of oil but acknowledges that its use is too entrenched in our car-driven culture for consumption to be cut anytime soon. He's pessimistic about the time line for implementing fuel-cell technology and sees no fast fix through solar power. And while he agrees that natural gas is cleaner than oil or coal, transmission and storage costs, as well as Chinese and Indian competition for supplies, limit its usefulness for America. That leaves wind generation, among the cleanest energy sources, and nuclear plants, perhaps the most feared, as his chosen methods for powering America's future. Sweet points to Denmark and Great Britain among countries turning to wind farms as a major source of electric power. And in an argument that will dismay many, he cites the Chernobyl nuclear disaster as an aberration in the generally safe record of nuclear energy. It's a grim but realistic assessment. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-231-13711-9
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-231-51037-0
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