62 books like Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air

By David JC MacKay,

Here are 62 books that Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air fans have personally recommended if you like Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm

Caro Feely Author Of Cultivating Change: Regenerating Land and Love in the Age of Climate Crisis

From my list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a published author specializing in nature, travel, and wine writing, and I have been an organic farmer for nearly two decades on an award-winning estate in France. I’ve written four books about the transformation of our organic farm. In my latest, Cultivating Change, I explore how biodiversity helps us address climate change and how important it is to the health of the land. It is also a human story; like the books below, stories are key to bringing these subjects to life. My list is women authors, not because I set out to do that, but because these books are beautiful, intuitive, and deep, like the women who wrote them.

Caro's book list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

This book by Isabella Tree is the story of how Isabella and her husband, Charlie Burrell, transformed their massive 3500-acre farm in England (100 times the size of our organic farm in France) from an intensively farmed operation that was losing money into a conservation haven and an icon of rewilding or ‘wilding’ as Isabella has termed it. Questions remain about exactly how this model can work without subsidies and/or a heavy emphasis on tourism (they are less than 2 hours drive from London and offer glamping and more) and where/how serious food production fits into this picture.

That said, the other model of intensive farming at Knepp failed both economically and environmentally. Wilding at Knepp is far kinder to the land and the wider environment. It’s economically successful, employing far more people than it did as an intensive farm, and the environmental benefits are off the charts. This book…

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wilding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope' - Chris Packham

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment', a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on…


Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Akshat Rathi Author Of Climate Capitalism: Winning the Race to Zero Emissions and Solving the Crisis of Our Age

From my list on crash course in our climate choices.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, climate journalists share stories of disastrous extreme weather events made more extreme by climate change. But over the past decade, I’ve discovered that every sector of the economy and every country on the planet that I’ve had the privilege to explore has people working on climate solutions. Crucially, in many places, these are now working at scale. 

Akshat's book list on crash course in our climate choices

Akshat Rathi Why did Akshat love this book?

Robinson’s writing project has been to build utopias, but when faced with the climate crisis, he was forced to come up with an optimal outcome rather than an idealistic one.

It transforms a powerful set of ideas into a compelling human story that will undoubtedly influence the real world as it plays out.

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Book cover of The Great Soul of Siberia

Neil Kitching Author Of Carbon Choices: Common-sense Solutions to our Climate and Nature Crises

From my list on climate change and our natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish geographer and energy specialist. I love nature and snow and don't want to see it destroyed or lost. I wrote Carbon Choices, on the common-sense solutions to our climate and nature crises, to share my expertise and passion to help people to make a difference. People, businesses, and governments all need to understand the serious consequences of climate change. Education is the first step towards taking action. Carbon Choices focuses on the solutions, many of which are 'common sense', to protect people and nature upon which we all depend.

Neil's book list on climate change and our natural world

Neil Kitching Why did Neil love this book?

Sooyong Park spends years in the wilderness to monitor and track the last remaining Siberian tigers. He spends weeks in the middle of a freezing winter in a dug-out shelter to photograph these magnificent animals in their ever-diminishing wilderness. But neither the freezing weather nor climate change is the immediate problem for the tigers - poaching and human encroachment are destroying the habitat they need to live in to prevent interbreeding.  You could cry reading this book.

By Sooyong Park,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Soul of Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are five races of tiger on our planet and all but one live in tropical regions: the Siberian Tiger Panthera tigris altaica is the exception. Mysterious and elusive, and with only 350 remaining in the wild, the Siberian tiger remains a complete enigma. One man has set out to change this.

Sooyong Park has spent twenty years tracking and observing these elusive tigers. Each year he spends six months braving sub-zero temperatures, buried in grave-like underground bunkers, fearlessly immersing himself in the lives of Siberian tigers. As he watches the brutal, day-to-day struggle to survive the harsh landscape, threatened…


Book cover of The Carbon Footprint of Everything

Hans Ohanian Author Of Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius

From my list on the climate-change disaster and how to avoid it.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hans Ohanian is a physicist who has taught at several universities before retiring to engage in full-time research, writing, and acting as reviewer for several scientific journals. In one of his first books he included two chapters on “Energy, entropy, and environment” and “Nuclear energy.” This gave him valuable expertise for reviewing the five great books he recommends here.

Hans' book list on the climate-change disaster and how to avoid it

Hans Ohanian Why did Hans love this book?

The first edition of this charming book was published in 2011 under the title How Bad are Bananas? For Mike Berners-Lee, this question is about the carbon footprint of bananas, but for me, it evokes the memory of some awful days I once spent on a riverboat on the Amazon with nothing to eat but bananas.

The book is a genuine delight, full of interesting carbon footprints arranged from small to large. Here are a few samples: short e-mail is 0.0004 kg CO2, Google search is 0.0006, grocery paper bag is 0.012, apple is 0.032, banana is 0.110, ice cream is 0.500, driving a midsize car 1 mile is 0.630, energy of 1 kW-hr taken from US electric grid is 0.650… The largest human carbon footprint listed is 56 trillion for all worldwide activity in a year.  

By Mike Berners-Lee,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Carbon Footprint of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Carbon Footprint of Everything breaks items down by the amount of carbon they produce, creating a calorie guide for the carbon-conscious. With engaging writing, leading carbon expert Mike Berners-Lee shares new carbon calculations based on recent research. He considers the impact of the pandemic on the carbon battle—especially the embattled global supply chain—and adds items we didn’t consider a decade ago, like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

Supported by solid research, cross-referenced with other expert sources, illustrated with easy-to-follow charts and graphs, and written with Berners-Lee’s trademark sense of humor, The Carbon Footprint of Everything should be on everyone’s bookshelf.


Book cover of Pole to Pole

Argyro Graphy Author Of Inspiring Children to be Kind

From my list on children’s books where kindness wins every time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I know first hand the damage that bullying can have on children, It weighs heavy on your psyche, and emotional well-being. I was determined to find a way to teach children important values to fight the root causes of bullying. I found an old "sketch" and it was my "aha" moment. With continued tweaking, my bubbly hippo was born that I named Bentley. Sporting his red running shoes, Bentley has become a positive role model for children. He represents resilience, friendship, joy, and kindness. We all grew up hugging a teddy bear, but now it's time for the World to Hug a Hippo. The books I've picked below inspire me and will help kids learn the value of kindness. 

Argyro's book list on children’s books where kindness wins every time

Argyro Graphy Why did Argyro love this book?

An entertaining and educational series where our friendly polar bear continues on his adventure teaching children about climate change and how being responsible and caring for our environment and the planet is a form of kindness that we all benefit from.

By Alan J. Hesse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pole to Pole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Driven from his melting Arctic home in search of food, Captain Polo once again takes to the ocean in his trusty boat. Little does he know about a hidden stowaway with a secret agenda...


"Must read. Fantastically enjoyable graphic novel with an eco-conscious theme - educational and thought-provoking for children and adults alike...[ ]..every bit as enjoyable as other contemporary and classic graphic novels." - Reedsy Discovery

Picking up from the previous books in the series, Pole to Pole sees the now well-seasoned globetrotter Captain Polo back on the ocean waves falling into one adventure after another. After nearly getting…


Book cover of Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency

Michael J. Albert Author Of Navigating the Polycrisis: Mapping the Futures of Capitalism and the Earth

From my list on books that help us make sense of the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lecturer in Global Environmental Politics at the University of Edinburgh. My work is driven by the conviction that we need more thorough and realistic maps of possible futures in an increasingly turbulent and uncertain world. Ever since learning about the intersections between climate, energy, and economic crises, I have been fascinated by the question of how our future will unfold and how we might create more just and liveable futures from the wreckage of the present world. And I have been driven to bring down artificial disciplinary divides in order to integrate knowledge across the sciences and humanities in ways that can illuminate the possible pathways ahead. 

Michael's book list on books that help us make sense of the future

Michael J. Albert Why did Michael love this book?

As one can tell from the title, this is not a book for the faint-hearted. But it is a masterful and nuanced synthesis of climate and earth system science that details what is likely to happen if the climate crisis continues unabated.

I loved the way it shows us in a systematic, step-by-step fashion how each additional degree of planetary heating will disrupt our world and steadily push us towards the brink. And it does so in a way that is sensitive to geographical variation and uneven vulnerabilities between the global north and south. This is an essential guide to an over-heating world and a warning of what is to come if we fail to rapidly bring down emissions.  

By Mark Lynas,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Our Final Warning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book must not be ignored. It really is our final warning.

Mark Lynas delivers a vital account of the future of our earth, and our civilisation, if current rates of global warming persist. And it's only looking worse.

We are living in a climate emergency. But how much worse could it get? Will civilisation collapse? Are we already past the point of no return? What kind of future can our children expect? Rigorously cataloguing the very latest climate science, Mark Lynas explores the course we have set for Earth over the next century and beyond. Degree by terrifying degree,…


Book cover of Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero is Not Enough

Why am I passionate about this?

I got energized about the environment, climate, and energy as a physics undergrad during the first energy crisis. Since then, I’ve worked in activist groups (Anti-nuclear, the wrong side: Now I fight climate change as penance for the sins of my youth), held policy positions in the governments of the United States and Canada, worked in two international organizations, and taught energy, climate, and environmental policy at Harvard, Michigan, and now UCLA. There’s so much written on climate change that it’s a rare pleasure to find something that cuts through the noise and says something original or important. So I’m delighted to recommend these, which include a couple of overlooked gems.

Edward's book list on deepening your understanding of climate change, what it means, and what to do about it, and give you hope

Edward A. Parson Why did Edward love this book?

I find reading this book like sitting with a wise friend who gently tells you you’re making a big mistake, but you can still fix it, and it can be OK.

Recent climate policy has gone off the rails with the idea of “net zero,” a sleight-of-hand that makes it look much easier: We don’t actually have to stop emitting; we can just offset emissions by removing them from the atmosphere later to pay back the debt. Yeah, right. This is true in theory but deeply problematic in practice: risky, and prone to error and deception. Some emissions can continue to be offset by removals to get to global net zero or net negative. But the current net-zero bandwagon, with everyone pretending their emissions can continue, is dangerous madness.

Buck brings her clear insight and ruthless honesty to this deeply confused area. She gently holds the popular delusions up for…

By Holly Jean Buck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ending Fossil Fuels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Around the world, countries and companies are setting net-zero carbon emissions targets. But "net-zero" is a term that conveniently obscures multiple futures. There could be a version of net-zero where the fossil fuel industry is still spewing tens of billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and has built a corresponding industry in sucking it back out again. Holly Buck argues that focusing on emissions draws our attention away from where we need to be looking: the point of production.

It is time to plan for the end of fossil fuel and the companies that profit from them. Fossil…


Book cover of The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World

Why am I passionate about this?

I got energized about the environment, climate, and energy as a physics undergrad during the first energy crisis. Since then, I’ve worked in activist groups (Anti-nuclear, the wrong side: Now I fight climate change as penance for the sins of my youth), held policy positions in the governments of the United States and Canada, worked in two international organizations, and taught energy, climate, and environmental policy at Harvard, Michigan, and now UCLA. There’s so much written on climate change that it’s a rare pleasure to find something that cuts through the noise and says something original or important. So I’m delighted to recommend these, which include a couple of overlooked gems.

Edward's book list on deepening your understanding of climate change, what it means, and what to do about it, and give you hope

Edward A. Parson Why did Edward love this book?

You’re probably wondering, if we can’t do what Buck and MacKay point us to in time to avoid the world that Lynas paints, what then?

I have good news: we’re still not (quite) out of options. It looks possible to cool the Earth a degree or two within a few years by spraying a mist of reflective aerosols – sort of like your plant sprayer – in the upper atmosphere to scatter a percent or so of incoming sunlight. This approach, solar geoengineering, is a band-aid, not a cure for climate change. It doesn’t avoid the need to slash emissions, and it brings a bunch of new uncertainties and potential problems. But it can buy time and might be the only way to avoid Lynas’s world quickly.

Morton digs into these technologies, what we know and don’t know about them, and the controversies, with erudition and wit. I love his…

By Oliver Morton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Planet Remade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The risks of global warming are pressing and potentially vast. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, possibly even insurmountable. So there is an urgent need to rethink our responses to the crisis. To meet that need, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system: a stratospheric veil against the sun, the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton, fleets of unmanned ships seeding the clouds. These are the technologies of geoengineering--and as Oliver Morton argues in this visionary book, it would be as irresponsible to ignore them as it…


Book cover of Electrify: An Optimist's Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future

Joseph P. O'Connor Author Of Off Grid Solar: A handbook for Photovoltaics with Lead-Acid or Lithium-Ion batteries

From my list on understand future potential of renewable energy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve dedicated my career to renewable energy, because I think it really will save us from climate change disaster. Solar, wind, and advanced energy storage will usher us into the 21st century. I’ve seen many innovative people and companies use technology to create a better future. We still have a long uphill battle to reverse climate change, but we now have the technology that can help save our planet. It is time to implement it. These five books (in very different ways) give us the tools and understanding of how renewable energy will shape the future.

Joseph's book list on understand future potential of renewable energy

Joseph P. O'Connor Why did Joseph love this book?

I’ve been working in the solar and battery industry for over 15 years and I can say firsthand that it is totally feasible to electrify everything in your home and live comfortably. Griffith recommends that you should never buy a new fossil fuel appliance ever again. Switching to an electric vehicle, all-electric kitchen appliances, and heat pumps primes us to have a carbon-free home in the future, even if our electrical usage currently relies on fossil fuels. Appliances with a life of 10 to 30 years will eventually be powered by renewables as they get installed on the grid.

Although this transition won't be easy. Appliance manufacturers need some time to improve the reliability of these new electric appliances. Imagine the frustration after installing an expensive, new heat pump water heater and it breaks after two weeks! In addition, some industries will have a very hard time going fully electric,…

By Saul Griffith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Electrify as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An optimistic--but realistic and feasible--action plan for fighting climate change while creating new jobs and a healthier environment: electrify everything.

Climate change is a planetary emergency. We have to do something now—but what? Saul Griffith has a plan. In Electrify, Griffith lays out a detailed blueprint—optimistic but feasible—for fighting climate change while creating millions of new jobs and a healthier environment. Griffith’s plan can be summed up simply: electrify everything. He explains exactly what it would take to transform our infrastructure, update our grid, and adapt our households to make this possible. Billionaires may contemplate escaping our worn-out planet on…


Book cover of The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations

Scott B. Macdonald Author Of The New Cold War, China, and the Caribbean: Economic Statecraft, China and Strategic Realignments

From my list on beach reads in an international relations hurricane.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise in Caribbean and Chinese affairs derives from having an interest in the two regions since college, which was then pursued through a MA in Asian Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. On the employment front, I worked for 3 regional banks (as an international economist), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Credit Suisse, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, KWR International, and Aladdin Capital Management (as head of Credit and Economics Research) and Mitsubishi Corporation. Since I left Mitsubishi I returned to my two favorite interests, Asia and the Caribbean. 

Scott's book list on beach reads in an international relations hurricane

Scott B. Macdonald Why did Scott love this book?

Yurgin is the grandmaster of global energy politics, starting with his seminal, The Prize, and most recently The New Map. The latter is an amazing sweep of where global energy markets are heading, which takes into consideration the shift away from oil, gas, and coal to green or alternative sources of energy. His outlook is that the transition to a carbon-lite world is going to be much bumpier and more time-consuming than many people wish for, considering the issues of climate change, economic realities, and geopolitics. An insightful and excellent read.

By Daniel Yergin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Map as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal besteller and a USA Today Best Book of 2020

Named Energy Writer of the Year for The New Map by the American Energy Society

"A master class on how the world works." -NPR

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and global energy expert, Daniel Yergin offers a revelatory new account of how energy revolutions, climate battles, and geopolitics are mapping our future

The world is being shaken by the collision of energy, climate change, and the clashing power of nations in a time of global crisis. Out of this tumult is emerging a new map of energy and geopolitics.…


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