Download Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the by Burton Richter PDF

By Burton Richter

ISBN-10: 0521763843

ISBN-13: 9780521763844

International weather switch is without doubt one of the most crucial concerns humanity faces this day. This ebook assesses the practical, mindless and biased proposals for warding off the doubtless disastrous results 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 assessment committees on weather switch and effort concerns. He offers a concise assessment of our wisdom and uncertainties inside of weather switch technological know-how, discusses present strength call for and provide styles, and the power strategies on hand to chop emissions of greenhouse gases. Written in non-technical language, this ebook offers a balanced view of techniques for relocating from our heavy reliance on fossil fuels right into a even more sustainable power method, and is on the market to a variety of readers with out medical backgrounds - scholars, policymakers, and the involved citizen.

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Additional resources for Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century

Example text

It was known back then that water vapor was an essential element in the Earth’s energy budget and had to be taken into account in any attempt to calculate what the climate might do. Carbon dioxide, one of several known greenhouse gases, was recognized as being particularly important because of its abundance and because it blocks outgoing radiation in some wavelengths where water vapor does not. There was little concern about climate change until the 1950s when two things happened to wake us all up.

Carbon dioxide concentration in parts per million by volume (left scale) and temperature in degrees centigrade (right scale) relative to today’s average temperature back through the last four ice ages. (Source: J. R. Petit et al. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420 000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399, 429–436, 1999). of two stable isotopes of oxygen, 16O and 18O, in the water that formed the ice. 4% of the oxygen in the air. Because of the difference in their mass, the two forms behave slightly differently on condensing into water from the vapor phase, or when evaporating from the liquid.

It is especially hard when you are trying to predict what will happen 100 years from now and the science behind the prediction is really only 50 years old. It was the work of Keeling and Revelle in the 1950s mentioned earlier that jump-started the science community’s work on climate change and global warming. It is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that does the predictions today. My own involvement in climate change research has been more as an observer than as a participant.

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