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A historic energy revolution is underway in the United States. Wind, sunlight, and other sustainable resources are now the fastest growing sources of energy in the U.S. and worldwide. American families are installing power plants on their roofs and entire communities are switching to 100 percent renewable energy. The urgent need to prevent climate change is causing people around the planet to question their reliance on carbon-intensive oil, coal, and natural gas. Author Bill Ritter, Jr., the 41st governor of Colorado and one of America's key thought leaders on this topic, discusses the forces behind the energy revolution, the new ways we must think about energy, and the future of fossil and renewable fuels. It is an essential read for any who want to understand one of history's biggest challenges to peace, prosperity, and security in the United States. Written in partnership with the Center for a New Energy Economy.
Rising fossil fuel prices and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions are fostering a nuclear power renaissance and a revitalized uranium mining industry across the American West. In The Price of Nuclear Power, environmental sociologist Stephanie Malin offers an on-the-ground portrait of several uranium communities caught between the harmful legacy of previous mining booms and the potential promise of new economic development. Using this context, she examines how shifting notions of environmental justice inspire divergent views about nuclear power’s sustainability and equally divisive forms of social activism. Drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted in rural isolated towns such as Monticello, Utah, and Nucla and Naturita, Colorado, as well as in upscale communities like Telluride, Colorado, and incorporating interviews with community leaders, environmental activists, radiation regulators, and mining executives, Malin uncovers a fundamental paradox of the nuclear renaissance: the communities most hurt by uranium’s legacy—such as high rates of cancers, respiratory ailments, and reproductive disorders—were actually quick to support industry renewal. She shows that many impoverished communities support mining not only because of the employment opportunities, but also out of a personal identification with uranium, a sense of patriotism, and new notions of environmentalism. But other communities, such as Telluride, have become sites of resistance, skeptical of industry and government promises of safe mining, fearing that regulatory enforcement won’t be strong enough. Indeed, Malin shows that the nuclear renaissance has exacerbated social divisions across the Colorado Plateau, threatening social cohesion. Malin further illustrates ways in which renewed uranium production is not a socially sustainable form of energy development for rural communities, as it is utterly dependent on unstable global markets. The Price of Nuclear Power is an insightful portrait of the local impact of the nuclear renaissance and the social and environmental tensions inherent in the rebirth of uranium mining.
Explains both the disaster and the decisions that led up to it and argues that for the future the emphasis needs to be on prevention and that risk-management policies be based on better understandings of humans and hardware.
Most Americans take for granted much of what is materially involved in the daily rituals of dwelling. In Dwelling in Resistance, Chelsea Schelly examines four alternative U.S. communities—“The Farm,” “Twin Oaks,” “Dancing Rabbit,” and “Earthships”—where electricity, water, heat, waste, food, and transportation practices differ markedly from those of the vast majority of Americans. Schelly portrays a wide range of residential living alternatives utilizing renewable, small-scale, de-centralized technologies. These technologies considerably change how individuals and communities interact with the material world, their natural environment, and one another. Using in depth interviews and compelling ethnographic observations, the book offers an insightful look at different communities’ practices and principles and their successful endeavors in sustainability and self-sufficiency.
FIRST TIME IN PAPERBACK.This is quite possibly the most important book about energy in a generation. For over thirty years Americans have been fed a steady diet of half-truths, misinformation, urban legends and outright fabrications about energy. The small amount of accurate information that does reach us is often obscured by scientific terminology or one-sided political posturing.When faced with a dramatic increase in energy demand, uncertain supplies and the potentially harmful effects of carbon emissions how are we to make informed choices? Veteran journalist William Tucker has relied on years of research and investigation to help us make sense of America s energy predicament without the burdens of political pressures or predetermined outcomes.It seems odd that nuclear energy has to be reintroduced to America. After all, today, thirty years after we began construction of our last new nuclear reactor, it still supplies nearly 20 percent of our electrical energy needs. And surprisingly, all this output is from plants that were once considered relics, but are now being run with an efficiency and safety record that was hard to envision a decade ago.Perhaps the misgivings have always been with us. Since dawn of the Atomic era, nuclear power has been inextricably associated with nuclear weapons--each reactor a bomb waiting to go off. The accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and its amazing convergence of timing with the film, The China Syndrome reinforced the idea that a nuclear meltdown is a real, terrifying possibility that could kill thousands of people. The later, catastrophic disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine heightened these fears.And so the use of atomic energy became controversial. Yet as Tucker makes absolutely clear, nuclear is the same process that heats the center of the earth to 7,000oF, hotter than the surface of the sun.The concentration of power in the nucleus of the atom is incredible. The disintegration of a single uranium atom produces 2 million times more energy than the breaking of a carbon-hydrogen atom in coal, oil, or natural gas, all with zero carbon emissions and zero greenhouse gases.In Terrestrial Energy, Tucker is not content to merely give an argument about why nuclear is the best choice for our energy future. Instead he meticulously surveys entire the energy scene that has frustrated Americans for the past 30 years. Is there such a thing as clean coal? Can we expect that onservation will ever reduce our energy consumption? And what about the renewable energy sources (wind, solar energy, hydropower, and biofuels) and their promise of clean, plentiful power? Each has its place in America s energy mix but each of these sources also has serious problems. The limiting factor of all these technologies will not be the amount of energy radiating from the sun but the amount of land that will be required to capture and store it.And what are the real dangers of an increase in the use of nuclear power? We have learned to become fearful of radiation at any dose, when in reality, we are regularly exposed to its effects, it is naturally occurring, often benign and in some cases even beneficial. Then there is the waste that supposedly makes nuclear technology unmanageable. It is much less alarming when you consider that the reason America has a nuclear waste problem is because we fail to recycle our spent fuel rods.At the same time that world energy demand steadily increases, Americans are also being asked to be better stewards of the environment. Now is the perfect moment to renew our commitment to use the greatest scientific discovery of the 20th century as the forward-thinking solution. Terrestrial energy is without doubt, the only realistic, practical answer to our energy dilemma.
Electricity, supplied reliably and affordably, is foundational to the U.S. economy and is utterly indispensable to modern society. However, emissions resulting from many forms of electricity generation create environmental risks that could have significant negative economic, security, and human health consequences. Large-scale installation of cleaner power generation has been generally hampered because greener technologies are more expensive than the technologies that currently produce most of our power. Rather than trade affordability and reliability for low emissions, is there a way to balance all three? The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Energy Technologies considers how to speed up innovations that would dramatically improve the performance and lower the cost of currently available technologies while also developing new advanced cleaner energy technologies. According to this report, there is an opportunity for the United States to continue to lead in the pursuit of increasingly clean, more efficient electricity through innovation in advanced technologies. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Energy Technologies makes the case that America’s advantagesâ€"world-class universities and national laboratories, a vibrant private sector, and innovative states, cities, and regions that are free to experiment with a variety of public policy approachesâ€"position the United States to create and lead a new clean energy revolution. This study focuses on five paths to accelerate the market adoption of increasing clean energy and efficiency technologies: (1) expanding the portfolio of cleaner energy technology options; (2) leveraging the advantages of energy efficiency; (3) facilitating the development of increasing clean technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and cleaner fossil; (4) improving the existing technologies, systems, and infrastructure; and (5) leveling the playing field for cleaner energy technologies. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Energy Technologies is a call for leadership to transform the United States energy sector in order to both mitigate the risks of greenhouse gas and other pollutants and to spur future economic growth. This study’s focus on science, technology, and economic policy makes it a valuable resource to guide support that produces innovation to meet energy challenges now and for the future.
Solar energy, once a niche application for a limited market, has become the cheapest and fastest-growing power source on earth. What's more, its potential is nearly limitless -- every hour the sun beams down more energy than the world uses in a year. But in Taming the Sun, energy expert Varun Sivaram warns that the world is not yet equipped to harness erratic sunshine to meet most of its energy needs. And if solar's current surge peters out, prospects for replacing fossil fuels and averting catastrophic climate change will dim. Innovation can brighten those prospects, Sivaram explains, drawing on firsthand experience and original research spanning science, business, and government. Financial innovation is already enticing deep-pocketed investors to fund solar projects around the world, from the sunniest deserts to the poorest villages. Technological innovation could replace today's solar panels with coatings as cheap as paint and employ artificial photosynthesis to store intermittent sunshine as convenient fuels. And systemic innovation could add flexibility to the world's power grids and other energy systems so they can dependably channel the sun's unreliable energy. Unleashing all this innovation will require visionary public policy: funding researchers developing next-generation solar technologies, refashioning energy systems and economic markets, and putting together a diverse clean energy portfolio. Although solar can't power the planet by itself, it can be the centerpiece of a global clean energy revolution. A Council on Foreign Relations Book

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