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After reading this I understood that the level of effort required to transition to renewable energy must be way, way higher that what we're doing right now.
What I liked the most about it is that the book starts with first principles like how big are the energy flows we can tap to create electricity (solar radiation, wind, geothermal, water runoff, etc). Then what their power density is. Then how efficient our solar panels and wind turbines are. Then how fast we could put them in place. Then what materials are required for their construction. Then what do we do about things we can't create using electricity like plastics and steel. Then the pace of past energy transitions in different countries. Then what is required to move to renewable energy.
According to author Vaclav Smil, President Barack Obama's energy policy has raised unrealistic expectations for rapid energy transitions. "The degree of disappointment will be phenomenal," Smil warned in an interview with the New York Times in November 2008. "There will be precious little rapid change, as energy systems are inherently inertial and energy transitions take decades to accomplish."
It is a great book. However, the webpage said it was in hardcover. The book delivered was paperback. It was a Christmas present so I was disappointed. Not what I was expecting for $60. The content is amazing though.