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Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  761 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
“We are the most fortunate generation that has ever lived. And we are the most fortunate generation that ever will.”
—George Monbiot

What George Monbiot means by this is that our civilization has leveraged the awesome power of fossil energy to create a world that only a short time ago would have been nearly unimaginable. Our health, our wealth, our leisure, our freedom from
Paperback, 277 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Anchor Canada (first published 2006)
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The most important teaching in these pages is that there is no coming technofix for climate change: the tech is here, we have the tech, and further developments will only be made if economic pressure throws the awesome power of human ingenuity behind making them. What is needed to create that pressure is political will, nothing else. From economic perspective, Tim Jackson points out more or less the same thing in Prosperity Without Growth.

Monbiot exposes the sneaky tactics (astroturfing, bribing
Aug 06, 2011 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite probably the most important book currently on the market. Only a few crackpots refuse to accept that global warming is happening, but it seems as though many who consider themselves environmentalists still refuse to believe that once a tipping point is reached, global catastrophe will occur. Monbiot illustrates these scenarios with accurate science and none of the histrionics of certain films, and he even takes the bold step of calling people to task for flying, an activity that seems inno ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well written, well-informed and, crucially, well-sourced book. Hardly a point is made without a footnote, and this is essential as Monbiot has to convince his reader that everything he is saying is founded in reality. To my knowledge he is one of very few who has made the assertion that it is not too late to tackle Climate Change AND demonstrate how it can be done. It drives him to an unpalatable conclusion: that government has to take control and force change upon society, something few polit ...more
Mar 14, 2013 Micah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most important book I have ever read, and I encourage everyone to deeply consider the points Monbiot has exhaustively researched and lucidly described. No issue today compares in importance to climate change - everything else is made irrelevant if it is not tackled. Monbiot illustrates why this is and what must be done to combat it. He is deeply sympathetic to the condition of industrialized societies, yet appropriately harsh and realistic. I honestly cannot stress enough the brillia ...more
Edward Kidder
Jul 08, 2007 Edward Kidder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Monbiot argues emissions must be reduced 90% by 2030 and shows how we can do it in several areas. Well written with passion and humor. Cement was a surprise. A ton of CO2 for a ton of cement cured. Who knew? Air travel was the only category with no constructive suggestions. He gets at the core of the matter for those of us using more than our share-- we need to learn to adapt voluntarily.
Ron Joniak
Jan 18, 2017 Ron Joniak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely well written book where Monbiot offers a plan to drastically cut our current carbon footprint by examining our transportation systems (cars / airplanes / boats), houses and construction infrastructure, energy, and distribution of goods.

In all parts of the book, the author offers a fair and balanced review of the current technology on hand and the political and economical structures available. Unfortunately, many of the solutions Monbiot offers is not currently being implemented, li
Betsy Stubblefield
Aug 13, 2007 Betsy Stubblefield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: lovedit
This is an essential book for anyone who cares about the planet and social justice... so that should be everyone.
Simon Wood
Aug 14, 2013 Simon Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

George Monbiot's Guardian columns are always well worth reading, as was his well received and best selling book on the links between big business and the state in Britain ("Captive State"). "Heat", whose subject matter is global warming, is likewise a well written, and informative read, dealing with some of the issues thrown up by the dangers of climate change.

The book begins by summarising the state of scientific knowledge at the time of its initial publication in 2006, and
Cedric Jean-marie
Jan 26, 2013 Cedric Jean-marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read quite a few books on the subject I approached this book thinking that I would reinforce what I already knew and while there was definitely some familiar subject matter I was pleasantly surprised to find that within it's pages are detailed steps to curtail global warming by addressing the greatest contributors to the warming of the planet.

The author acknowledges that much of what he proposes must be broached by the political leaders of the world through rigid policies strong leadershi
Jan 21, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We've got to do something about global warming. This book outlines the high carbon producing sectors of our daily lives, from industry, transportation, farming, and the costs associated with cutting CO2 emissions by 90%.

The author calls for improved home insulation/heating systems, an end to air travel, more local and seasonal farming, "carbon rationing", wind power generation, more mass transport and carbon sequestration.

The final technology has been proven in limited cases (to extract oil from
Well written coverage of a number of behavioural, cultural and political changes that could be made to combat a uncomfortable level of climate change. Monbiot suggests that a 90% reduction in C02 emissions is needed to stop global warming from taking off to unsuitable levels. I tend to agree, but the stats and science he used (or at least how he showed it) didn't quite seem to provide as much statistical evidence for that position as I would have liked. Similarly all of his ideas on how to cut e ...more
Sep 21, 2009 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following the dismissal attempts by the world's politicians to reach some kind of agreement at last year's (2009) climate change summit, this book makes very interesting reading. Not only does Monbiot address what needs to be done on a global scale to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 450ppm (parts per million), which is the level needed to prevent run away global warming and a unmitigated ecological and global disaster, he also addresses why governments are so slow to actually take ...more
Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership
One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3,000 senior leaders from around the world. To find out more, click here.

Heat begins by making a powerful and compelling case that climate change is a threat to be taken extrememly seriously and is caused by human-made emissions. Exacerbating the problem is what Monbiot calls the 'denial industry': an active campaign of dissuasion by certain sectors of business, wealthy classes, media an
Rob Manwaring
Jun 18, 2009 Rob Manwaring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Monbiot on top form, and really quite worrying predictions about the lack of political will to tackle climate change. Monbiot is exhaustive in his pursuit of seeking solutions to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2030. And frankly, we're not going to make it. The section on nuclear power was surprising, as was the analysis on coal and 'carbon capture' technologies. My favourites though were his prescriptions for the transport sector. The notion of using Storkey's coach network was inspired, as w ...more
Aug 25, 2007 Franco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Making the choice
After reading on the internet a number of unsatisfactory articles about climate change, I decided to read a good book on this essential topic. I compared them basing my choice on the information I could find about the three books I’d been proposed, and on the need to verify some of my opinions: first, the opinion I had since thirty years ago that the industrial revolution has an important negative effect on climate - this lead me to easily trust those who fifteen years later sai
Feb 18, 2017 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a interesting personal relationship with this book. The year of the publication of the 2007 edition I graduated with a Bachelors Degree from Cardiff University in Modern History and Politics, where George Monboit (introduced as the author of this book) received a honourary doctorate at my graduation. In his speech he urged us all to follow the path we wanted in life, and not the path we should take because when we have the money to enable us to follow our dreams we are too old and tied do ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
With Heat, George Monbiot has moved past the obfuscating arguments being slung like mud back and forth across the globe, and faces not just the alarming truth of global warming but the seemingly impossible task of actually doing something about it.

This book is, as he points out in the introduction, a manifesto. It is a plan of action. The goal is to cut our carbon dioxide emissions by 90% by 2030. This is the "seemingly impossible" aspect, especially when you look at Canada's current situation (
Oct 24, 2007 Matthew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants some evidence on climate change
Upon finishing George Monbiot's Heat, I am reminded by what a public affairs executive at the Singapore office of an oil major whispered over at a conference: that the debate on global warming seems confusing because it involves so many issues. What do you think we can do? he said.

For a start, read Monbiot's book. Not because Heat will answer questions, or make them simpler, but it will help frame the issues.

Actually, global warming is easy to understand - the world is getting warmer as a result
Bruce Sanders
Aug 30, 2008 Bruce Sanders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book starts with a simple premise. Since a two degree centigrade increase in global temperatures by 2030 will have devastating effects on the climate, the world has to reduce it's carbon footprint drastically; and Britain's fair share in this regard is a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The rest of the book is an exercise in seeing if there is any way for Britain to do this and still maintain a modern economy. Monbiot writes clearly. The arguments are laid out well with lots of fo ...more
Dec 27, 2016 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best writers on the contradictions facing humanity in the 21st century. We are headed to destruction, not (only) because of greed and malice, but because of well-meaning liberal people going about their daily lives. Incisive, well-informed and devastating.
Jun 06, 2009 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Wow! This book is filled with so much awesomeness I'm having difficulty deciding how describe it.

Alright, well this is a book that promises the solution to climate-change, by the wicked George Monbiot. In a world where environmentalists are continually faced with depressing statistics and few real solutions, this seemed like an intriguing prospect, and I was not disappointed.

The things I liked most about the book are:

* The facts - The reason I found this book so useful is that Monbiot writes it

Feb 13, 2008 Ramorx rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How many light bulbs do we need to change in order to save the planet? None, points out Monbiot, so its too late, we're doomed! Unless we reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2030 which is of course completely unthinkable. The US war machine will probably still be on overdrive all over Mesopotamia in 2030. George positions himself as a somewhat fanciful alchemist coming up with lots of totally implausible measures - like no more flying - to put a break on global warming. There are a few good diehar ...more
Aug 07, 2008 Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, english
Monbiot is an evangelist and this is sermon on the evils of climate change. That may sound off putting, but it isn't. Really. This is one earnest message that engages the reader. I read this shortly after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, and this book backs up the documentary with a few more persuasive stats.

Monbiot writes a column for the Guardian; he's well-versed at sounding the alarm. His approach is comprehensive and well-researched. It's also a bit naïve because he often tries extrapolate wha
Angela Ansberry
Jun 13, 2009 Angela Ansberry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Monbiot examines the different ways in which we might reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90% in a economically practical way. He admits from the beginning that it will not be easy, but states that if we begin immediately, reducing carbon emissions to a level that will "stop the planet from burning" is possible. Monbiot seems to a have masterful handle on the science, which actually made it difficult for me to read since I am not a science minded person. However, I understood enough to understand ...more
Andrew Lee
George Monbiot provides well researched and indisputable arguments about climate change and how human activities and specific industries can cut back in order to prevent global collapse. He also provides a scathing assessment of human inaction, delving into the psychology, politics and greed behind our inability to take initiative. He occasionally pours scorn on ignorant individuals or corporations but, in the end, points the fingers at ourselves for our compliance with inaction in exchange for ...more
Glyn Longden
Jul 25, 2011 Glyn Longden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 8.5/10. Probably the most important book I'll read this year. Global warming is a fact!! He's English and approaches the topic from that perspective but his approach to solving the problems of global warming are universal. And guess what folks? You're not going to have to reduce by 10% or 20% or even 50%. Nope. All of us have to reduce by 90% and pretty damn soon or else the shit hits the fan. I've got news for you, George. Na-ga-ha!! To Monbiot's credit, he actually tries to show how, i ...more
Tai Viinikka
Jun 01, 2007 Tai Viinikka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tetrapods.
Shelves: read-and-owned
This is a thorough and careful book, but also amusing in places. Monbiot manages this well. He is unafraid to call a spade a spade, and correctly diagnoses the wishful thinking that sometimes afflicts environmental activists. Rooftop wind turbines are no solution to anything.

He makes a compelling case that that we should all demand that our economic system be issued new rules. Like NHL hockey players, no one (country/individual/business) wants to be the *first* to put on the helmet, yet we all
Frederik V.
Monbiot offers governments, industries and people like ourselves some valid solutions to fight global warming. But we lack the political will and insight to deploy them. In the mean time, the clock is ticking relentlessly...

I like Al Gore's documentary ('An inconvenient Truth') better. Unless you're a real and proactive global warming fighter, these matters can get a tad tedious. Especially when extended over more than 300 pages of depressing figures and estimations.

Our only hopes not to die of
Sep 16, 2007 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I was amazed by the thoughtfulness, thorough research, and full disclosure that Monbiot exhibited in his effort to show us how we can stop global warming by cutting our carbon footprint by 90%. I was especially affected by his chapter on transportation (save the world = stop flying).

Unfortunately, since so many of his specific suggestions rely on government policy and on governments "doing the right thing" for the environment, I'm not especially optimistic that his suggestions will be implement
Dec 15, 2007 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected a jeremiad, but this is a patient, empirical exploration of whether we can live a sustainably low-carbon life and preserve the benefits of industrial/technological civilization. Monbiot's conclusion: yes, but just barely, and it will require the kind of determined, concerted efforts that one might well doubt our governments are capable of. Monbiot admits he's not a scientist, but he tells you where he gets his info and how he comes to his conclusions. Best book I've read on climate ch ...more
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“Thinking like ethical people, dressing like ethical people, decorating our homes like ethical people makes not a damn of difference unless we also behave like ethical people.” 12 likes
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