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Outgoing Ind. Gov. Daniels and incoming Purdue Univ. Pres. recommends “Energy for Future Presidents” by Richard Muller November 26, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

In my email this morning I received Mitch’s Final Christmas Book List. You might be interested in seeing the complete Christmas Book List but I am primarily concerned again with only the book on energy on his book list.

 Last year Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels put another book on his recommended Christmas Book List. It was Robert Bryce’s  book entitled, Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. This book doesn’t even pretend to be objective in my opinion so that’s why I am interested in this year’s choice of a book on the subject of energy.

Please find below two different reviews on this book recommended by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniel’s. Why is this of interest or importance? I think it is important because it gives some insight into the thinking of the next President of my “alma mater”, Purdue University.

I have not read this book yet but I plan to do so if I can. If you have read this book, please share your thoughts with IndianaDG Readers.


Laura Ann Arnold

Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

Hal Harris's picture
THU, 10/04/2012 – 14:52 — HAL HARRIS
Energy for Future Presidents

Four years ago, I gave a very positive review to Richard Muller’s “Physics for Future Presidents”, despite his very lukewarm treatment of climate change which, in my opinion, had more than enough scientific gravitas by that time to be treated as a legitimate national and international issue. Because of his status as one of the most credible scientific skeptics (although not really a “denier”), Muller was able to get a sizable grant from the ultraconservative Koch Brothers to fund further studies on the subject by Muller. The study’s goal was to extend backward in time the historical record of hand-measured temperatures, using data that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had thrown out because it was poorly documented or otherwise unreliable. I am sure that the Kochs assumed that Muller would be reinforcing his prior conclusion, that climate change was too little understood to be worth a sizable national investment.  However, Muller changed his position after his own very minimal contribution to the science reinforced the IPCC conclusion. Of course, that’s not all that you will find in “Energy for Future Presidents”, which includes topical information about the Fukushima accident, the Gulf oil spill, alternative energy sources, energy storage, and fission and fusion power, among other important issues. It is a shame that energy policy (other than some political questions about the Keystone XL pipeline and misleading statistics about investments in renewables) has not been featured in the campaigns. At least there is this year the presidential candidates responses to some of the key science policy questions, courtesy  of Scientific American. You can read them at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=obama-romney-science-debate. There is a lot of circumlocution there, but it is better than nothing.

Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

Richard A. Muller. Norton, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-08161-9
UC-Berkeley physicist Muller (Physics for Future Presidents), who made headlines for first criticizing and then vindicating global warming research, explores the contentious issues that will increasingly preoccupy politicians and citizens, in this no-nonsense scientific primer on energy policy. Muller brings fresh, often contrarian perspectives to topics that have been saturated in misinformation and hype, arguing, for example, that new techniques to extract the stupendous reserves of petroleum in shale and tar sands will eliminate all talk of peak oil; that wind power and photovoltaics will boom while corn ethanol, geothermal, and tidal power will fizzle; that household energy conservation is a great investment, while public transit is usually a bad one; and that China’s soaring carbon dioxide emissions will render America’s almost irrelevant—and that the best way to abate China’s emissions is by switching from coal to natural gas. Especially revealing is his positive assessment of nuclear energy, which effectively debunks the alarmism surrounding the March 2011 Fukushima accident. The author’s explanations of the science underlying energy production are lucid but never simplistic—and often fascinating in their own right. Policy makers and casual readers alike can benefit from Muller’s eye-opening briefing, which sheds lots of light with little wasted heat. Photos. Agent: John Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012


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