Eye Opening to a Better Understanding of Alterative Energy Options, June 24, 2008
Simple Solutions for Planet Earth is a must read for many if for no other reason than that its author, Patrick Takahashi, is a now retired PhD in Chemical Engineering who has spent his entire career in renewable energy. Among many other things, it explains in clear terms how the release of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 to 62 times worse than carbon-dioxide, from the continental shelf and arctic tundra could turn the earth's atmosphere into the 460 degree centigrade hell like the planet Venus that once had an atmosphere like Earth's. (By the way, the book notes that when Steven Hawking was asked his thoughts on the environment, he stated it was that the Earth "might end up like Venus, at 250 degrees centigrade and raining sulfuric acid.") Simple Solutions is a sometimes stream of consciousness personal narrative with frequent gems of insight from analysis of the post peak oil energy alternatives and their relative potential for actually being implemented. It is also a practical treatise on the national and international politics of getting science done. This book is a "must read" for any investor, policymaker, CEO, aspiring CEO or business student. Every citizen in a democracy should also read it. Alas, that's not likely to happen. You will read it now but find yourself referring to its gems of insight, history and fact for years to come (I finished it 2 months ago and already my copy has more dog-ears than a mid-sized kennel). Its informal and personal style makes its high science accessible to everyone including those who might think a logarithm is something you find in a forest. The book does need an index but its strengths in facts and science far outweigh anything a copy editor could do for it.