Must Read Book

Debunking myths and supplying fact and figures about sustainability in general is not a primary purpose of the Zero-Carbon web site - although the site does contain some information with these aims. The amount of misunderstandings and downright misinformation bandied about in this area is staggering, a situation Professor David JC MacKay from the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge has now undertaken to seek to rectify by supplying a huge collection of facts. To this end he has written Sustainable Energy – without the hot air, an excellent and extremely useful book. What Professor MacKay basically does is to examine energy consumption against existing and proposed generation methods to assess the viability of each of these, chiefly from simple facts of physics - resulting in pies dropping out of the sky all around the reader.

The book has two main parts, one which can be understood without knowledge of maths and physics, and one containing the formulae and reasoning. Additionally, it contains lists of constants, facts and figures, most of which have not been presented within a single resource before.

This is potentially a very important book, provided enough people read it, because it brings the whole energy debate into a new sphere of reality based on proper science. It also illustrates the uncertainties of the figures brought forward by some interested parties and their sensitivity to variations in assumptions. If people debating these issues learn from this book it opens the possibility that correct conclusions may be reached so that policies (of which Professor MacKay puts forward a few examples) may be defined to move the country (and world) in the right direction. Don't hold your breath, though. The figures clearly show that the situation regarding global warming is far more stark than any public voice dares to report.

The book's contents certainly support the veracity of our mantra: Use less energy - do not generate more!

You can learn more, and either purchase or download the book for free here.