Peter Cook
CRC Press
2012 | 320pp | £25.99 (PB)
ISBN 9780415621069

This is an excellent introduction to many topics in the field of climate change, with a particular focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The first few chapters offer a brief discussion of the underlying causes of climate change. The book discusses some of the controversies that have recently beset climate change and competing theories to explain it, followed by a discussion of the evidence.

In the debate about clean energy, a key step is to describe the reasons why we can’t simply switch overnight to fully renewable energy. The book explains this well, with a balanced assessment of the potential for different clean technologies (and a sensible discussion of the place of nuclear energy, post Fukishima). It has a strong discussion of intermittency and the need for reliable backup power or the requirement for the development of storage technologies for renewable energy.

The basic technologies for CCS are described for the general reader. A more detailed description would be necessary for those on a specialist clean energy or CCS MSc programme. Issues associated with the transport and storage of carbon dioxide are dealt with in some detail for non-geologists, though this may be too simplistic for specialist readers.

There is a brief discussion of the importance of industrial CCS. The author relies heavily on figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) throughout.

The book concludes with a discussion of the technology and politics of clean energy, making many reasonable and well thought-out points (the most important being that governments should ‘stop announcing how much money they will spend and actually start spending it on projects’). At the end, the book makes a clear call for the development of CCS technologies: some people will disagree, some will agree, but the book does a good job of explaining the issues surrounding the technology.

In summary, the book explains the background to climate change and CCS well for the interested reader, but the specialist in either field may find that it is a little simplistic in parts.

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