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The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse

The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse

Written by David Owen

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor


The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse

Written by David Owen

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor

ratings:
3.5/5 (5 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 26, 2012
ISBN:
9781452677170
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Hybrid cars, fast trains, compact florescent lightbulbs, solar panels, carbon offsets: everything you've been told about being green is wrong. The quest for a breakthrough battery or a 100 mpg car is a dangerous fantasy. We are consumers, and we like to consume greenly and efficiently. But David Owen argues that our best intentions are still at cross-purposes to our true goal: living sustainably while caring for our environment and the future of the planet. Efficiency, once considered the holy grail of our environmental problems, turns out to be part of the problem-we have little trouble turning increases in efficiency into increases in consumption.

David Owen's elegant narrative, filled with fascinating information and anecdotes, takes you through the history of energy and the quest for efficiency. Owen introduces the listener to some of the smartest people working on solving our energy problems. He details the arguments of efficiency's proponents and its antagonists-and in the process overturns most traditional wisdom about being green.

This is a book that will change how you look at the world. Scientific geniuses will not invent our way out of the energy and economic crisis we're in. We already have the technology and knowledge we need to live sustainably. But will we do it? That is the conundrum.
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 26, 2012
ISBN:
9781452677170
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Raised in Pontypridd, South Wales. Went to Pontypridd Boys' Grammar School, then on to study at Bristol, Nottingham and Loughborough Universities, in English, Drama, ICT and Education. Has worked in several countries: Wales, England, Abu Dhabi, Togo, Nigeria, Malawi, The Caribbean, The Lebanon.Now lives in Manchester, with Nesta, Kynn, the Huffer and Wireni.


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3.4
5 ratings / 4 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Very interesting look at what activities are truly "green". David Owen enlightened readers in The Green Metropolis about urban living. The Conundrum goes further to look at supposed environmental projects which exacerbate global warming. Owen writes about about vast and complex obstacles to halt climate change in a way that is easy to understand. He challenges readers to rethink their notion of "being green". He calls for hard sacrifices, which are the only way to make any significant difference to global warming.
  • (1/5)
    David makes apoint in the first chapter about the unintended consequences of advances in technology toward efficiency and innovation on overall increased energy usage. He then makes this point over again and again using different examples of the same concept. Basically his premise that if we each used less energy and lived in compact environments it would help. Even more so if we were all living like cave men or were dead we would use less energy. So what. The author explains that he is affluent and is a heavy energy user. None of his limited suggestion on solutions to the problem are practical. I find this book disappointing.
  • (5/5)
    A concise narrative on the environment and why many of our " going green" practices are misguided. A history of our dependence on fossil fuels and what has to happen for real and actual sustainability based on global economic realities. There is a wonderful chapter on several innovative technologies being worked on by some of the smartest people, but this is tempered by the very harsh reality of their near insurmountable costs. The real path to sustainability is the herculean task of everyone reducing consumption, right now. A must read.
  • (3/5)
    David Owen attacks conventional "green" thinking with this rather bleak account of the challenges facing us in the battle against climate change. I liked that it exposes locavores and prius drivers for the superficial efforts that they are, they look nice, make you feel good, and give you cause to brag, but they miss the point. To Owen, increase efficiency is a dead end, applied to current models it seems an easy way to cut energy use, but really it encourages consumption, which is the greater evil after all. This is where it gets ugly. With no good answer to our energy problems in sight, and even when we do reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the biggest problem remains, energy consumption. To cut back on that would involve radical changes, not just to our daily behavior, but to the nature of ou society. Our economy is based on growth, but in order to stop climate change we need to shrink. Perhaps just as daunting is getting our environmentalists to actually agree (is the risk of nuclear energy worth getting off of fossil fuels? should we build giant wind turbines in nantucket? Should we continue to destroy hydroelectric dams to restore the natural habitat of the river?) The book is enlightening but as the title implies, it offers more problems than answers. To put it another way, it does have answers, but they are the problems themselves. It seems it would be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to get a rich society to instill a truly green initiative.