As the climate crisis grows worse, many people question whether we can phase out human greenhouse-gas emissions before an irreversible feedback cycle begins. As a belated New Year’s present for 2008, I want to offer for free the full text of my book Cooling It! No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming, to increase optimism.
We not only have the technical capability to phase out fossil fuels over the course of 30 years, we can eliminate 94 percent of emissions within 20. The cost is close to zero: between savings from efficiency and renewable sources that are more expensive than fossil fuels (but not that much more expensive), the market cost will balance out to around what we pay now. That is before we gain benefits from less pollution and less climate chaos.
A lot of people worry (and rightfully so) not about the technical solutions, but about the politics of implementing them. They are right to do so; but the fact that we are missing huge opportunities for efficiency gains — even at current prices — shows that there is a political opportunity as well as a political danger. Let the people of the U.S. and the world understand the great opportunities green technology offers for better living and real wealth creation for the vast majority.
The old story that the Chinese character for “crisis” is composed of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity” is false — but the metaphor is too good to drop.
You can download the entire book as a single file (or chapter by chapter) here.