Posted by: JohnnyRook | July 14, 2008

Book Review: Earth: The Sequel by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn

Earth: The Sequel The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming by Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, and Miriam Horn, is a good place to acquaint yourself with many of the alternative energy technologies currently under development. The style is easy to read and Krupp and Horn do a good job of explaining the complexities of a given technology in simple, easy-to-understand language. The focus is on future technologies that, in many cases, are still not proven, i.e. biofuels from algae, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). The book’s one notable flaw is that there is virtually no discussion of wind technology. In one sense this may be good news given Krupp’s enthusiasm for new technology. Perhaps he regards wind as too simple and well established a technology to merit detailed discussion in a book dedicated to complicated technical solutions to the problems posed by fossil fuels. In any case, it’s a curious omission.

The authors describe in detail a number of ongoing alternative-energy projects and the scientist-entrepreneurs who are developing them. Attention is paid to the challenges faced by these entrepreneurs in technology development, permitting and arranging the financing that they need to make their projects a reality.

At the end of the book, the authors discuss the policy changes they believe it will be necessary to implement if these projects are to succeed, chief of which is the enactment of some form of cap and trade program. They also briefly revisit some of the options already discussed, this time with a more critical eye, (I suspect the last chapters were written quite a bit later than the first ones) particularly as regards ethanol and hydrogen, both of which can now be clearly seen to have been way overhyped.

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