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By Burton Richter

International weather swap is likely one of the most crucial matters humanity faces this present day. This up to date, moment variation assesses the practical, mindless and biased proposals for keeping off the possibly disastrous effects of worldwide warming, permitting the reader to attract their very own conclusions on switching to extra sustainable strength provision. Burton Richter is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who has served on many US and foreign evaluate committees on weather swap and effort concerns. He presents a concise evaluate of our wisdom and uncertainties inside weather swap technological know-how, discusses present strength call for and provide styles, and the strength recommendations to be had to chop emissions of greenhouse gases. Written in non-technical language, this publication offers a balanced view of concepts for relocating from our heavy reliance on fossil fuels right into a even more sustainable power process, and is available to quite a lot of readers with out medical backgrounds - scholars, policymakers and the involved citizen.

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Extra info for Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century

Sample text

We could wait to see how bad things became, change our ways as needed, and have everything return to normal in a short time. Regrettably, it doesn’t work that way. The removal time of some of the main greenhouse gases is measured in centuries.  Removal time and percentage contribution to climate forcing of several greenhouse gases in the year  Agent Removal time Approximate contribution Carbon dioxide Methane Tropospheric ozone Nitrous oxide Fluorocarbons Sulfate aerosols Black carbon > years  years  days  years > years  days  days % % % % <% −% þ% consequences for a very long time, no matter how hard we try to fix things.

For the  summer Olympics, China shut down every coalfired power plant within  miles of Beijing because of air pollution. They now require the most efficient coalfired power plants for all new builds (higher efficiency than we require in the United States), and are building nuclear power plants, large wind farms, and large solar installations, not because of climate change, but to reduce the air pollution that affects the health of their population. The US National Academy of Sciences in  published a book called Hidden Costs of Energy [].

That balance gave a CO concentration in the atmosphere of about  ppm that lasted until the dawn of the industrial age and the beginnings of large-scale use of fossil fuel. Some analysts believe that the beginning of agriculture about  years ago began to upset the balance. However, there is no evidence of any significant change in CO concentration back then. Though the effect of land use changes is real, it was not large enough to be significant until our recent population explosion. Now, agriculture and land use changes are estimated to be responsible for about % of greenhouse gas emissions.

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