Franco's Reviews > Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning

Heat by George Monbiot
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Sep 22, 07

it was amazing
Read in September, 2007

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 said that the reduction amount agreement in Kyoto was just a symbolic act because of the irrelevant quantity; second, the opinion that the data published by the FAO about animal farming, which would be responsible of 18% of the CO2 equivalent emissions, is correct and is just a little further confirmation we need to considerably change our lifestyle.

I scannedd 'Heat!' in a library to find the data I was looking for. What I read on the internet about it made me sure it was at least good for an important step: understanding the real needs in terms of reduction.
One of the first things I read were the tables at the end of the book. I got the impression that the book was not very good for me: it seemed not to mention the animal farming contributes, ascribe to the traffic part of the emissions which are probably due to other fuel combustion and one of the first things the author says is he doesn’t want to change his lifestyle. But, he sais, It’s possible and easy to quickly reduce the emissions by 90% and save the human race this way. In my quick search I couldn’t find positive suggestions or solutions, but only the demolition of suggestions made by others, and an apparently useless report on untrue writings. No way to believe it would say the things I wanted to find. Anyway, it certainly said something important. Well then, I thought, I’ll have to read it all.

Surprising though known
Monbiot chose very well his sources and writes very well. He points out that science reports need to be selected by peer review to be considered valid, while politicians and journalists (not scientists) make a tremendous confusion and get victims of false reports especially for a main reason: they attribute the more importance and credibility to a speaker the more he appears in the media. He shows how some big industries like Philip Morris and Exxon can manipulate the public opinion. It’s enough to get the information selected by peer review, that is, all the articles published by scientists’ magazines as Science and Nature to understand what is happening and will happen in the very next decades according to all scientific contributes, none excluded.

At the end of the second chapter, Monbiot even easily explains the psychology that brings scientists to accept politicians’ decisions even if they know they are a simply ridiculous and mad suicide.

Achieved results
The quick reduction of greenhouse gases emission must become the most important task of our governments. We must ask for this. The reduction must involve everybody. Most of it has to take place before 2012.

Monbiot succeeds in his scopes: convince that in the case of climate change and fighting is worth the trouble, and find the most politically efficacious ways to reduce our energy need and its CO2 content. His comparison among all the suggested solutions brings to evidence which are the best solutions for behaviours and policies in the main fields to take into account: energy production and use, transport and building trade. Only in one sentence, though, it speaks about animal gases production, and as in the case of Al Gore not a word is spent to say how important vegetarianism among the necessary solutions. We can forgive him just because of its starting point (I don't want to change my lifestyle), which he thought so important to attract readers. He got me, and I'm happy about that.
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