Out of the energy labyrinth

Out of the energy labyrinth 

David Howell and Carole Nakhle 

London, UK: I B Taurus | 2007 | 204pp | ?8.99 (SB) | ISBN 9781845115388 

Reviewed by James Mitchell Crow

When it comes to weaning ourselves off oil, action is needed right now, argue authors David Howell and Carole Nakhle. Not because fossil fuels are about to run out - an energy myth the book sets out to deflate. And not just because of climate concerns, which is a long-term issue. 

It is our increasingly shaky energy supply that is the immediate threat, the authors persuasively argue. Most oil comes from politically unstable regions of the world; two thirds of it from the Middle East, for example. As we’re now consuming oil just as fast as it can be produced - with demand continuing to rise - any further disruption to supply could have severe consequences.  

Having set the scene, an informative look at oil alternatives follows, from biofuels to nuclear. With appropriate support, they contend, several energy alternatives could be introduced almost immediately that would reduce our oil dependency. Other carbon-neutral energy sources are on the horizon - address energy security, they say, and climate security follows.  

The authors have a frustrating tendency to argue a point, and then argue it all over again a few pages later. But, overall, this is an engaging and candid look at our current energy predicament, and what individuals, but in particular our leaders, must start to do about it.