Hell and High Water: Joe Romm's new book
- Here's a suggestion for your first read of 2007 -- or your first gift
book. Readers of this list will know the name Joe Romm: former US
Energy Department official, founder of the Center for Energy &
Climate Solutions <www.energyandclimate.org>. He introduced many key
influencers to plug-in hybrids and was deeply involved in the
National Commission on Energy Policy, which provided important
validation for PHEVs. He is author of "The Hype About Hydrogen"
<http://www.cool-companies.com>, co-authored with Andy Frank
Scientific American's major article on PHEVs
<http://www.calcars.org/downloads.html> and writes a blog at
<http://climateprogress.org>. In his new book on the climate crisis.
Joe is promoting use of the phrase "Hell and High Water" instead of
global warming or climate change, as a more visceral way to think
about what will happen if we continue on a business-as-usual path.
Following is the press release for the book, which is on sale now. We
hope in the future to be able to send out excerpts from sections on PHEVs.
"Joe Romm knows what he is talking about. His message is urgent,
reasoned and informative--he delivers it with surprising clarity.
America had better listen up--this may be our last chance to stop
- James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
"Joe Romm has worked with the climate scientists, fought with the
politicians and objectively analyzed the technologies that may save
us. No one is as well qualified to tell us about climate change, the
technological options before us, and the political battle about to be joined."
- Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers
"If you buy only one book about global warming, make it HELL AND HIGH
WATER. Joe Romm has put together a highly readable explanation of our
climate predicament and the solution. We need to follow his advice
now -- starting with energy efficiency."
- Arthur Rosenfeld, California Energy Commissioner
"Joe Romm brings a unique combination of expertises in climate
science and energy technologies and policies to address the
challenges of enabling a clean energy future and reducing our
addition to oil. HELL AND HIGH WATER is an important and timely
contribution that deserves careful consideration in the dialogue and
debate on U.S. energy and climate policy."
- Judith Curry, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia
Institute of Technology
About the Author
Joseph Romm, Ph.D. is executive director and founder of the Center
for Energy and Climate Solutions and a senior fellow at the Center
for American Progress, the premier progressive think tank. During the
Clinton administration, Romm was Assistant Secretary at the
Department of Energy, where he headed the Office of Energy Efficiency
and Renewable Energy. He is the author of "The Hype about Hydrogen:
Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate" and stars in the
documentary film "Who Killed the Electric Car." Dr. Romm holds a
Ph.D. in physics from MIT.
HELL AND HIGH WATER
Global Warming-the Solution and the Politics-and What We Should Do
By Joseph Romm
William Morrow / An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
January 2, 2007; $24.95; Hardcover
Global warming has been thrust into the national spotlight as never
before. From devastating hurricanes to near daily headlines of
dramatic changes to the climate, the threat of super hurricanes,
mega-droughts, and sea levels rising 20 to 80 feet is looming larger
But as renowned physicist and energy technology expert Joseph Romm
argues, many people still don't get it. Fed a steady diet of
misinformation by pundits, ideologues, and conservative politicians,
most Americans don't believe-or don't realize-that climate change is,
perhaps, the most serious issues of our time. Yet, as Romm attests,
we have, at most, a decade to reverse course. If we fail to act,
global warming will profoundly and irreversibly remake every aspect
of our lives.
The question now is do we humans have the political will to take the
steps necessary to save the planet?
In HELL AND HIGH WATER: Global Warming-the Solution and the
Politics-and What We Should Do , Romm presents a searing indictment
of the policies and politics that are hastening the planet's
destruction and issues a clarion call for Americans to wake up and
demand action from our government before it's too late. Combining
scientific fact with well-reasoned political analysis, Romm cuts
through the rhetoric and debunks the myths to present a clear and
frighteningly candid assessment of our endangered climate. HELL AND
HIGH WATER bridges the gap between climate science and energy policy
and is an essential guide to preserving our world and our way of life.
In HELL AND HIGH WATER, Romm explains why the U.S. has inexplicably
failed to act on global warming. As he argues, the problem stems
from multiples sources, including weaknesses within the scientific
community, from environmentalists and progressives who've made
strategic mistakes, and the media's flawed coverage of science. The
successful exploitation of those weaknesses by conservative political
leaders and think tanks that are funded by oil companies has created
a virtual standstill in developing cost-saving, alternative energy
policies. "Global warming has also proved intractable because this
country has refused to adopt a sensible energy strategy," Romm
writes. "Our political leaders won't even require Detroit to build
fuel-efficient vehicles-which would not only reduce greenhouse gas
emissions but also save consumers money and cut oil imports during a
time of war in the Persian Gulf."
Romm discusses the country's future if wide scale environmental
changes are not enacted immediately. He explains why global warming
is so challenging because it is a vast and complex systems
problem-the environment is subject to vicious cycles whereby an
initial warming change leads to further warming. Romm reveals how
the oceans, soils, Arctic permafrost, and rainforests may eventually
become sources of greenhouse emissions and he discusses how sea
levels are on course to rise high enough to swallow up numerous
coastal communities and inland areas on both U.S. coasts by 2100.
HELL AND HIGH WATER also examines the politics behind global warming
and the solutions required to reverse its catastrophic effects. He
exposes the tactics of conservative politicians who deny the science
and delay genuine action on alternative energy initiatives. He cites
the media's sloppy reporting and unwillingness to probe behind the
rhetoric. Romm also delivers harsh criticism of the Clinton and Bush
administrations for failing to strengthen and support the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol and for the current administration's attempts to thwart
international efforts to further limit greenhouse gas
emissions. "The Bush Administration has not been content merely
blocking domestic efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions but has
been actively trying to block international negotiations aimed at
developing mandatory regulations beyond what Kyoto would require,"
Romm writes. "But as in our country, China's leaders operate under
the misguided belief that they can pollute all they want during this
time of rapid growth, and then use their future wealth to solve their
HELL AND HIGH WATER lays out a number of key solutions to avoiding
climate catastrophe including capturing carbon dioxide from coal
plants and storing it underground; building 1 million large wind
turbines and 700 new nuclear plants worldwide; launching massive
energy-efficiency programs for homes, office buildings, and heavy
industry; increasing the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks to
60 miles per gallon while also equipping them with advanced hybrid
technology; and ceasing all tropical deforestation while doubling the
rate of new tree planting. Though these strategies may seem
implausible, Romm attests, they are technically possible and can
significantly slow global warming while also buying more time for the
world to develop new technologies and a consensus for even stronger action.
Authoritative and persuasive, HELL AND HIGH WATER reveals just how
dire our climate predicament is while also offering the hope that we
can avert a global disaster by using the technology and resources we
have-now. "We have cost-effective technologies today that can
sharply reduce global-warming pollution," Romm writes. "We are on
the brink of taking the biggest gamble in human history, one that, if
we lose, will transform the lives of the next fifty generations."
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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