Ten Technologies To Save The Planet

By Chris Goodall

Rating: 0 stars

Does exactly what it says on the tin. This book describes ten technologies that, when taken in combination, could help reduce the impact of climate change on the Earth. The technologies in question are: wind power, wave and current power, solar power, combined heat and power, super-insulated homes, electric cars, second-generation biofuels, carbon capture, biochar and sequestering carbon in soils and trees.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff here and the ways that the technologies can feed off and reinforce each other are described. Goodall is a pragmatist and although he discusses things like micro-generation of power he more or less dismisses it on the grounds that it’s just not efficient enough. Although he rejects nuclear power as one of his ten technologies, he’s quick to avoid the label of being a naive hippy, asserting instead that although all of the technologies he mentions are likely to come down in cost as the technology matures, this isn’t true of nuclear plants, whose costs has actually risen over the past 20 or so years.

I often felt a sense of frustration while reading this book – these are sensible ideas, why aren’t we don’t more to implement them? The biochar (burning organic matter into char and then turning it into the soil to increase its carbon content and usually make it better for crops) and soil sequestration ideas were particularly interesting, and cheap and easy to do as well. The problem is, as Goodall points out, political. It involves changing habits built up over many generations and especially these poorest people will need great incentives to do that such as including them in any large-scale carbon trading scheme.

In general he’s quite positive, not as doom-laden as someone like James Lovelock while not toning down the scale of the task in front of us. But we’re an inventive species, I suspect we’ll rise to the challenge. It’s not the technology that I’m that worried about, but the courage of our political leaders.

One issue that I have with the book is that there are no references at all, making it hard to read up on the technologies that are described and to ensure that Goodall isn’t talking out of his backside. That aside, this book has a lot to recommend it.

Book details

ISBN: 9781846688683
Publisher: Green Profile
Year of publication: 2008

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