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The first book review of “Straight Up”

Solar Today: “Climate Progress blogger says: Deploy without delay”

Buried on page 95, midway through his chapter titled “The Clean Energy Solution,” Joe Romm summarizes the only workable strategy for saving the planet from catastrophic climate change. That strategy focuses on rapid commercialization of existing renewable energy technologies. Our plan, he says, must be “Deployment, deployment, deployment, R&D, deployment, deployment, deployment.”

That’s a powerful message for wind, solar and geothermal businesses to run with.

Seth Masia, Deputy Editor of Solar Today, has a review of my new book Straight Up (click here to buy).

There’ll be a lot of reviews in the next couple of weeks, and I won’t print them all. But since the book cuts through the crap on a broad set of subjects, I’m most interested in the different takeaways people have. Here’s more from Masia:

Straight Up is a collection of short articles from Romm’s blog ClimateProgress.org. If you read that blog, you’re probably a passionate fan. If you don’t, you should know that Romm, an MIT Ph.D. in physics, ran a number of renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy from 1993 to 1998. Since then, he has consulted with a number of major corporations on energy issues, written several books and joined the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow. He has consistently beaten the drum for fast commercialization of concentrating solar power (CSP), wind, photovoltaics (PV) and geothermal energy sources. These are mature, scalable technologies that must overcome policy barriers, not technical hurdles.

Straight Up, however, is not mainly a book advocating policy and tax code changes. It’s a collection of spirited and readable critiques of the delaying forces — the corporations and institutions who want to see no changes in national policies and tax codes that now work to make them rich. In particular, Romm eviscerates the American news establishment for ignoring climate catastrophe issues, even while journalists around the world have made climate the story of the century….

Romm notes that a favorite delaying tactic is to call for research breakthroughs before carbon-neutral energy sources can be competitive. He summarizes critical data proving that mature and scalable renewable sources are at grid parity now and can be profitably commercialized wherever utilities have incentive to use them.

Straight Up probably won’t convert true believers in a fossil fuel future, but it may stiffen the spines of some renewable energy advocates. It’s full of solid fact-based arguments, properly referenced within the text (no footnotes!), along with a lot of low-carbon fire and brimstone.

The book’s release date is April 19, in time for Earth Day, but it can be ordered at Amazon.com now at a pre-publication price of $19.75.

This is my first book without an extensive set of notes. The point of notes is to allow readers to go to original sources to check the accuracy of what is written (or to follow up on a subject of interest). It seemed like a waste of paper in an age when people can use Google to look up a fact or quote and when I have active links in all the original blog posts on which the book is based. It seemed redundant to reprint the references in the book in a less useful form.

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So I decided to put the references either in the text or refer people to posts here. I will try to do a post in the coming week with links to some of the key references to the book.

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