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Sustainable Energy - without the hot air



Sustainable Energy - without the hot air
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Review by Wolfgang Rindler, University of Texas at Dallas

One of the main themes of David MacKay's wonderful new book is that the old adage "every little bit helps" is dead wrong in the case of energy, where "if everyone does a little, we'll achieve only a little." What is needed instead, and in a hurry, is every one of the big items, like solar, wind, tides, nuclear, etc., and even then the outcome is iffy. This is a real eye-opener and an urgent call to action, hammering home the immensity of the problem. It is pristinely free of demagoguery. Readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions, having seen every major claim justified by simple back-of-the-envelope calculations that everyone can follow. "Sustainable Energy" is great fun to read. I couldn't lay it down for hours. It's written in an irreverent style and leavened with hundreds of clever and beautiful cartoons, graphs, and photos. But the author is dead serious. His amazing stance of making the book available for free on the internet adds immensely to his moral impact. If only enough people would read his book, and read it soon, that would already be a valuable first step towards salvation.

Wolfgang Rindler
Professor of Physics,
University of Texas at Dallas


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