Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Book Bill Gates Sent Me

"Climate change is real. The largest challenge and opportunity of our lifetime is inventing the future of energy - the technologies we will need to push CO2 emissions near zero by 2050. Those who contribute to these discoveries, and there will be many, will have helped lift the poor out of poverty while simultaneously ensuring the long-term health and prosperity of our planet. It's an incredible opportunity to work toward something of this magnitude and importance." ... Bill Gates

Readers of this blog will know that I raved about Bill Gates' talk at TED this year about how the planet might tackle the problem of climate change. Cogent, rational, and well articulated, its message was thought-provoking, and its delivery was a model of how a great talk should unfold. Gates is bringing his analytical mind to bear on the problem of climate change, in the same way he thought out how his Foundation could have maximum impact in improving the world.

During his talk, Gates said he would send TEDsters some relevant reading material. The quote above is from the note that accompanied Sustainble Energy - Without the Hot Air by David MacKay. MacKay takes a hard-headed approach to energy questions. He doesn't comment on the political appropriateness of different kinds of renewable energy - he simply works out the physical coefficients to determine if the projections for renewable energy are physically possible, or simply wishful thinking.

This book got a rave review in The Economist, and I've been intending to read it for months. Now I have the pleasure of having it delivered to my doorstep! With these endorsements, I can't wait. I would love to hear comments from others who've read this book.

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