Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Stop the Planet From Burning

I've committed to writing this blog mostly about music, but I'm about halfway into George Monbiot's Heat: How to Stop The Planet From Burning and thought I'd just post a few quick thoughts on the book so far.

Chapter 1: Monbiot outlines the problem of global warming/or human induced anthropogenic climate change, and the staggering emission reductions that will be necessary for some semblance of the planet to remain in tact within the next 25 years. Increasing scarcity of water and other natural resources (which may mean resource wars - wait don't we have those now?), greater temperature extremes, rising sea-levels, and the more rapid spread of diseases are all things we have to look forward to. Rob is sad. Although, his Faust analogy is kind of neat, mostly because the German legend Faust is something I had seen mentioned, but never bothered to learn about. Faust is added to my reading list.

Chapter 2: He gives the most thorough explanation I've heard on the distortion of the scientific consensus surrounding climate change. Discussing the support of pseudo-scientific organizations supported by large oil companies, and the PR companies that developed Exxon's climate change denial strategies. Rob has decided he may be selling his soul - not unlike my new friend Faust - by doing a degree-program in Public Relations/Corporate Communications.

Chapter 3: Monbiot touches on some of the economic/ethical questions related to climate change, e.g. who is benefiting from CO2 emissions, who will pay costs - hint: they're not the same group of people - and examines some of the economic implications of different approaches to addressing, or not addressing climate change.

The simplest, most straight forward argument thing he has suggested thus far is: if we (the nation-states of the Western world) want to do something about global warming, a first step would be to eliminate government subsidies to corporations and government activities that contribute to the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. For example, he explains that while most Western states spend a significant amount on road expansions - this money might be spent on improving public transportation. Rob is wondering why we don't have Platonic Philosopher Kings like George Monbiot, Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Brad Gilbert and Bill Simmons running the planet.

Monbiot has a blog, fittingly at:, which I haven't gone through all that closely, but seems to cover a wide range of topics and looks pretty interesting.

1 comment:

Lan said...


I hear coal power is going to save the world. Have you seen this?