Seven essential books on energy and climate change

Looking for a summer read with a bit more substance than the latest mystery novel? These seven books are loaded with it. They probably won’t make you shiver, but they will give you insight into the greatest threat facing our planet as well as clear steps that can be taken to address it. Going for carbon neutrality would not only avert the suffering and deaths of million of people in the not-so-distant future, it would also save lives in the present. 

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Screw Business As Usual, by Richard Branson

Screw Business As Usual by Richard BransonRichard Branson is the serial entrepreneur of genius behind Virgin. Having studied him in my management classes at Audencia back to 2006, I have to say that I really wanted to read his latest book, Screw Business As Usual.

Having read it in a couple of days, I have to say that it is highly motivating as Sir Richard explains how so many people around the world are currently changing the world away from Business as Usual to a new, better, greener way to do business.

This has a name : Capitalism 24902, for the 24902 miles – 40,000 kilometers – that make the equatorial circumference of our beautiful Planet.

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Book review : Cradle to cradle

Cradle to cradle book coverInspiring : that’s the adjective that comes to mind as I have just finished reading Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. I had heard about that book for quite some time and I understand now why.

The book  was written  in 2002 –with a 2008 reedition – and is replete with enlightening examples of how we can re-imagine the way we design and produce our products, cities and way of life.

I believe Cradle to Cradle is just THE book that should be read by engineers and people working in related fields (including architects and designers)

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The Third Industrial Revolution

the third industrial revolutionHere is my review of The Third Industrial Revolution, by Jeremy Rifkin. After reading the 300 pages I daresay this book provides us a vision and a narrative to achieve it. Here are the five pillars of this revolution :

1. Shifting to renewable energy ; 2. Converting buildings into power plants 3. Hydrogen and other energy storage technology ; 4. Smart grid technology ; 5. Plug in, electric, hybrid, and fuel cell based transportation.

I quite enjoyed the two first parts where the author describe the world we are currently living in and how the second industrial revolution is coming to an end as our whole system is burning up.

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1,200 posts later, this blog turns five

Dear visitors, readers and subscribers. Today, January 2nd, this humble blog turns five. As this is the first 2012 post, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and sustainable year 2012 !

I have tried from day one to bring you a selection of the latest news and best researches on everything pertaining to climate, energy and sustainability. I hope you are enjoying reading it as I am writing it.

2011 has been a crucial year for me as I got my first real professional contract and as this blog has reached 200 subscribers. I am willing to go over and beyond this plateau.

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Book review : Uranium, by Tom Zoellner

Here is a post I should have published last year as I read Uranium, by Tom Zoellner. Here is my review. It offers a detailed history of the discovery and the use of the 92nd element in the periodic table of the chemical elements.

Will the 21st century be Uranium’s century like the 20th was oil’s and the 19th coal’s ? It is way to early to tell. The century is only ten years old and as oil and coal still account large parts of the world energy mix.

 (Nota : I wrote that review last year and pretty didn’t change anything about it. I am fully aware a huge nuclear accident took place in Fukushima in-between… )

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Book review : Environmental strategy and sustainable development

While looking for a new book in the shelves of the ESSEC Business School’s learning center, I found this one. With such a promising and current title, little was I doubting that it was written more than 15 years ago.

Indeed, published little after the Rio summit, the author – Richard Welford – outlines what he subtitled the corporate challenge for the 21st century. This couldn’t be more true today…

Despite being much shorter than books I reviewed until now, it is full with useful information on many subjects.

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Book review : The Sustainable MBA

Here is another book review as I just finished The Sustainable MBA, by Giselle Weybrecht. Albeit I believe it is a great book and am strongly recommending it, I don’t feel like I learned a lot.

But this might be explained by two facts : 1. I graduated very recently (2006) from a Master in Management from a top Business School – Audencia Nantes ; 2. I have been delving in sustainability for now seven years. (now for hire)

I still recommend this book to any person who would like to get involved in a greener business and anyone who would like to green his or her current job.

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Book review : The Plundered Planet

Here is a review of a book I finished in February. After reading Crossing The Energy Divide, I started right away  The Plundered Planet by Paul Collier, a professor of Economics at Oxford who worked for the World Bank.

This is the sequel of The Bottom Billion, which was published in 2007 and explained why some countries fail at reaching economic growth, preventing people to have access to food, water and electricity…

The Plundered Planet offers an interesting discussion on what is referred in economics and sustainability as the resource curse, a critical factor for least developed countries.

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