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It would appear that much more modest lifestyles are probably inevitable for all of us.

  • Mar 30, 2010
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That in a nutshell neatly sums up what I took away from William Stewart's terrific new book "Climate of Uncertainty:  A Balanced Look at Global Warming and Renewable Energy."   When Mr. Stewart contacted me about the possibility of reading and reviewing his book I responded by saying that although I had read quite a few books about the subject of global warming a/ka climate change I had not reached any cut and dried conclusions about the issue and still maintained a relatively open mind.  This is an issue in a constant state of flux as new data is recorded and new technologies appear on the scene.  I figured that it would certainly do no harm to read yet another book on the subject.

The germ of the idea for "Climate of Uncertainty" came when the author's college-age daughter remarked "I think it's time I learn more about this global warming stuff--what book do you think I should read first?"  William Stewart cast about looking for a title that would present his daughter with a comprehensive look at these issues and found that the book he was looking for simply did not exist.  So he decided to write the book himself.  "Climate of Uncertainty" presents the facts in a very logical and objective manner.  Readers will be made aware not only of the case for global warming but also of the arguments put forth by the skeptics.  Meanwhile, Stewart also discusses the serious ramifications of a warming planet and the disastrous effects it could have on delicate ecosystems around the world.  You will learn about the very real issue of peak oil production and what might happen when there is no longer enough oil available to satisfy world demand.  With rising demand for oil in developing nations like China and India that day is probably a lot closer than most of us care to admit.  Stewart also talks about public policy issues such as "cap and trade" and a "carbon tax" both of which are designed to substantially reduce carbon emissions in our country.  He goes on to explain that the inevitable result of these policies is substantially higher taxes and prices,  a loss of jobs and a declining standard of living.  There seems to be not getting around it.

Finally, "Climate of Uncertainty" offers an up-to-the-minute assessment of the various renewable energy technologies that we are all kind of counting on to bail us out in future years.  Stewart covers the whole gamut from hydropower to solar and wind, biofuels, hydrogen to power our vehicles, wave energy and geothermal power. You will discover the current prognosis for each of these emerging technologies as well as the role that more established energy sources such as natural gas and nuclear power might play to help to bridge the gap.  In addition you will learn why stepped-up energy conservation must also play a key role in any solution to the long term dilemma that is facing us. 

Because I have read pretty extensively on the subject I did not find a whole lot of new information in "Climate of Uncertainty".  But for those who are just becoming interested in this topic this is probably the book you should read.  William Stewart presents his subject matter in concise, easy to understand language that is rarely bogged down with technical jargon.  As such I believe "Climate of Uncertainty" is apropos for both high school and college age students as well as for interested adults.  There is certainly a great deal of urgency that Stewart is trying to convey to his readers.  Regardless of the policies we choose to follow in the coming years Americans are ultimately going to have to learn to live with scaled back lifestyles, severe economic displacement and increasing demands for self-sacrifice for the good of all.  This represents an entirely different paradigm and the adjustments are going to be very painful.  But do we have any choice in these matters?  Probably not.  "Climate of Uncertainty:  A Balanced Look at Global Warming and Renewable Energy" is a great way to get up to speed on these monumentally important issues.     Very highly recommended!
Much more modest lifestyles are probably inevitable for all of us. Much more modest lifestyles are probably inevitable for all of us. Much more modest lifestyles are probably inevitable for all of us. Much more modest lifestyles are probably inevitable for all of us.

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June 05, 2010
I'm quite intrigued by your post. As someone who once believed that consensus existed among scientists about the causes of climate change, I'm becoming more and more confused about whom to believe. I don't have the time to become an expert myself, but I would really like to witness a conversation/debate that considered all of the facts (agreed as well as disputed), conclusions, arguments, questions, knowns, unknowns, etc. It drives me crazy when I hear someone say, "everyone agrees that...." only to hear the next person disagree with them. I don't want to start with an obsession in search of a justification; I want to understand what's going on and draw a conclusion as a RESULT of the learning... Given my rambling, would you suggest this book for me?
June 05, 2010
Absolutely would suggest this for you. Mr. Stewart's approach is very even-handed and fair. He presents powerful arguments on both sides of this issue.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on I never could … more
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About this book


The perfect book for anyone seeking an unbiased understanding of all sides of the climate change issue, Climate of Uncertainty explores the topic in a way all readers will understand. Without taking sides, Stewart examines the major questions of today: global warming, renewable energy, expanding populations, and sustainability. He has written to inform, not to persuade, and no viewpoint has been ignored, no opinion belittled, simply because it is not widely accepted. In short, this book is a step away from the fray, a fresh and balanced assessment of a debate that is all too often dominated by extremes. This is climate change for the layman, a book about some of the largest issues facing our world today, and what our options are in dealing with them.
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ISBN-10: 0976729164
ISBN-13: 978-0976729167
Author: William Stewartt
Genre: Environmental Science
Publisher: Ocean Publishing
Date Published: May 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
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