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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World » User review

Overwhelming evidence that we Americans need to change our wasteful ways.

  • Feb 6, 2010
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Imagine living in a third world country where a great percentage of your day consists of gathering twigs and sticks or animal dung to use for in preparing the food and keeping your family warm during cold weather.  Are you aware that one and a half billion people around the world exist in such abominable circumstances?  You can be pretty sure that such people must out of necessity carefully weigh the merits of every ounce of the energy they consume each day.  Now contrast this with the way that we in the United States utilize our energy resources.  The U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the freedom to be foolish.  And there is no doubt that a large percentage of us are.

Here in the land of the 30 minute shower, oversized SUVs that get 10 miles to the gallon and houses three times the size of the ones we grew up in, we Americans are squandering energy at an ever increasing rate.  In "The End of Oil:  On the Edge of a Perilous New World" Paul Roberts argues that this must change....and soon.  During the energy crisis of the mid 1970's most Americans began to slowly but surely wean themselves away from oil.  Jimmy Carter, not a particularly effective President but a man with considerable moral authority convinced the American people that conservation was both the moral and the patriotic thing to do.  The people followed the President's lead and in an incredibly short time cut back their consumption of oil dramatically.  But market forces took hold and oil prices plummeted.  Suddenly there was a glut of oil on the market again.  Gradually we got back to our old habits and subsequent administrations actually encouraged our short-sightedness.  Roberts argues that  George W. Bush administration continued to lead us down a treacherous path.  By totally dismissing conservation, failing to fund R&D for alternative fuels and encouraging increased production and consumption of fossil fuels, our government is setting us up for disaster.

According to Paul Roberts, the world is rapidly depleting stocks of fossil fuels.  Within the next 5-15 years the world is likely to reach peak production of oil.   Once that happens the world could be in for a very rough ride.  The oil that remains will be increasing harder to get to and as a result considerably more expensive.  Add to that the rapidly increasing demand in places like China and India and suddenly we have a much bigger problem to deal with.  Are not the people of China and India and other such nations entitled to their fair share of the worlds resources?  And even if many Americans couldn't care less about people halfway around the world do they not worry about their own children and grand-children? And what about the increased pollution that comes from our continued reliance on fossil fuels?  It seems to me that we are taking an awful lot for granted here.

In his incredibly well-research book, Roberts discusses the myriad facets of this most complicated problem.  Learn all about the current status and the prospects for alternative fuels like hydrogen, wind and solar among others.  A good bit of the book also delves into the politics of energy and who the important players are.  On a personal note I can tell you that as a result of reading "The End of Oil:  On the Edge of a Perilous New World" I am even more acutely aware of the energy I personally consume. This is an important book that needs to be read and digested by as many people as possible.     Very highly recommended!
Overwhelming evidence that Americans need to change. Overwhelming evidence that Americans need to change. Overwhelming evidence that Americans need to change. Overwhelming evidence that Americans need to change.

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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
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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 amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book

Wiki

About the Book

The situation is alarming and irrefutable: Within thirty years, even by conservative estimates, we will have burned our way through most of the oil that is readily available to us. Already, the costly side effects of dependence on fossil fuel are taking their toll. Even as oil-related conflict threatens entire nations, individual consumers are suffering from higher prices at the gas pump, rising health problems, and the grim prospect of long-term environmental damage.

In this frank and balanced investigation, Paul Roberts offers a timely wake-up call. Brisk, immediate, and accessible, this is essential reading for anyone who uses oil, which is to say every one of us.

Paul Roberts is a regular contributor to Harper's Magazine. A longtime observer of both business and environmental issues, he is an expert on the complex interplay of economics, technology, and the natural world.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0618562117
ISBN-13: 978-0618562114
Author: Paul Roberts
Genre: Economic Policy & Development, Oil & Energy, Business & Finance, International Relations, Public Policy, Purple Politics, Ecology
Publisher: Mariner Books
Date Published: April 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
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