Reviewed 8/30/2013

A Newer World, by William F. Hewitt

Access to this book courtesy of the
Sunnyvale, CA Public Library
Politics, Money, Technology and What's Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis
William F. Hewitt
William K. Reilly (Fwd.)
Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, December 2012




ISBN-13 978-1-58465-963-1
ISBN 1-58465-963-7 321pp. HC/GSI $27.95


Page 21: "So even in the face of virulent denial, of the manifest reality of the climate crisis and its anthropogenic origins, Schmidt believes 'common sense gets through' in a democracy."
  Unwanted comma: S/B "virulent denial of the manifest reality".
Page 34: "There are a number of different solar power technologies... These include photovoltaic (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), solar thermal, passive solar, and even inexpensive, highly effective solar box cookers."
  The problem here, as we see on the next page and later in the book, is that the author defines CSP as purely thermal: it uses reflectors to concentrate sunlight for greater efficiency. This is a great way to collect heat, whether in a linear array of pipes or parabolic mirrors around a tower. But it can also be used with photovoltaic arrays, and indeed this is what Solyndra was making.
Page 37: "The cover of this book shows one of their two 'power tower' installations at Solucar, west of Seville."
  Uh, no; it shows an offshore wind farm.
Page 39: "In Iceland, as elsewhere, geothermal is used both for electricity generation and for direct uses."
  Wording: S/B "and for direct heating".
Page 43: "The garganutan quantities of concrete and steel used in the bigger plants is another concern relative to GHG emissions."
  Number error: S/B "are another concern".
Page 44: "Internationally, projects on the grand scale to 'run-of-the-river' to microhydro are moving forward..."
  Wording: S/B "projects running the gamut from the grand scale".
Page 47: "Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and General Electric were all involved in successful tests in early 2009 in which algae was part of a mix used to fly a big commercial jet."
  Terminology: S/B "algae-derived fuel".
Page 57: "The advent of the Industrial Revolution [...] served to diminish wind and water's role."
  Wording: S/B "the role of wind and water".
Page 61: "Figure 3.3 shows how energy has been consumed in America, but is analogous in many respects to what has happened in the other industrial economies as well."
  Missing word: S/B "but this is analogous".
Page 63: "EVs generated more than one hundred thousand in cumulative sales through 2011, but will rise to over five million by 2017."
  Wording: S/B "Cumulative sales of EVs numbered more than one hundred thousand through 2011, but sales will rise to over five million by 2017.".
Page 71: "From green roofs and white roofs; to..."
  Punctuation: S/B "?".
Page 81: O'Reilly quote:"Agenda 21 basically are the governance concepts..."
  Number error: S/B "basically is" or "basically embodies".
Page 90: "We will look much more closely at all three of the flexible mechanisms in the next chapter when we treat the critical role of international environmental finance."
  We are impressed. Royal "we": S/B "which treats the critical role".
Page 91: "They are already more than halfway there to the 20 percent target they have set for themselves."
  Extra word: S/B "more than halfway to".
Page 92: "...Australia joined its antipodean neighbor New Zealand, which instituted its own Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) in 2008."
  Definition: Antipodean is informally defined as "Australia and New Zealand", so this is correct. But its literal meaning is a point on the globe which is opposite the speaker, such that a line drawn through Earth's core would join both points.
Page 106: "There were 168 Republicans voting no and 44 Democrats."
  Clumsy: S/B "There were 168 Republicans and 44 Democrats voting no."
Page 110: "In 1993, President Clinton proposed a 'Btu tax' to be levied on energy sources based on their heat content."
  Capitalization: S/B "BTU tax".
Page 118: "...and apply to emissions from electrical and industrial power plants, manufacturers, and..."
  Terminology: S/B "electrical power and industrial plants".
Page 124: Segments of the pie chart in Figure 5.2 are hard to distinguish.
  The figure needs to be printed in color, or the shades chosen to better contrast the smaller segments.
Page 154: "Thankfully, a high percentage of these greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated by capturing them at the turbines..."
  Since these emissions come from decaying vegetation, it's unclear exactly how this would be done.
Page 154: "Noting as we have the terrible health implications of power and heat from coal and biomass..."
  Biomass is the wrong word; I suspect it S/B "natural gas". See the bottom of page 172, where the author calls biomass a good thing.
Page 154: "Unlike solar photovoltaic, which captures the sun's energy and turns it directly into electricity, CSP uses the sun to create a superheated medium..."
  Again the author misses the fact that CSP can mean photovoltaics.
Page 155: "Thankfully, a high percentage of these greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated by capturing them at the turbines..."
  Since these emissions come from decaying vegetation, it's unclear exactly how this would be done.
Page 174: "...nuclear still fell well below the footprint of 32 for PV or 10 for offshore wind farms."
  S/B "well above" since 66 is greater than 32.
Page 175: "Building new nuclear power in the United States has a price tag of trillions."
  The only way this could be accurate is if it's the total for all the NPPs needed to zero out CO2 emissions — and even then I'd question it.
Page 176: "Nuclear power may yet be recognized around the world as an unequivocally inappropriate antidote to greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector."
  Perhaps. But I hope not, and I wouldn't bet on that outcome.
Page 188: "The Republicans are, for the most part, the only major political party on Planet Earth that contests the reality of anthropogenically induced climate change."
  Too equivocal: Remove the highlighted phrase.
Page 201: "As we have noted, Indonesia's rainforest and peatlands destruction, plus the forest fires that are routine there, qualifies the country as the third-largest contributor of greenhouse gases."
  Number error: S/B "qualify".
Page 212: "She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her Homeric efforts."
  Wangari Maathai wrote epic poetry about ancient Greece?
Page 227: "Each of the four Assessment Reports have had, as you would imagine, a large amount of material on the impacts of climate change."
  Number error: S/B "has had".
Page 227: "The reports have become increasingly more thorough — and consistently more dire in what is being seen by thousands of scientists all over the planet."
  This wording doesn't reflect the true situation. I'd write "and steadily more dire as scientists all over the planet see deeper and more pervasive effects of climate change." I'd also strike the first "more" from the sentence.
Page 234: "As terrible as loss of life and property damage may be for communities in the developed world, it is exponentially worse for those in the developing world."
  Number error: S/B "they are exponentially worse".
Page 246: "...American politicians and educators felt the need, rightly or wrongly, to boost the levels of education in math and science."
  Is there anyone who feels it was wrong to boost math and science after Sputnik?
Page 249: "...created International Action on Global Warming (IGLO) in 2007..."
  What's wrong with "IAGW"?
Page 250: "You would not be surprised to learn, for instance, that there is a 'Teaching Climate Change Law & Policy' blog."
  No, I wouldn't. But I am surprised to note that you don't give us the URL for it. Googling on the words of that title turns up many hits. The first two blogs are at Johns Hopkins; both are run by Dr. Wil Burns. The rest of the first page of hits is filled with links to solicitations by Dr. Burns or to various publications and seminars. Not until page 2 do I find Columbia's Center for Climate Change Law, directed by Michael Gerrard. It has no blog, but does provide plenty of resources.
Page 254: "Gallup has surveyed people in 111 countries..."
  This entry serves to introduce my evaluation of the index of the book.

Index of the book

The name "Gallup" does not appear in the index, but page 254 is indexed under the term "public opinion." This term does not appear on page 254. The index as a whole is so sparse as to tempt me to call it perfunctory. For example:

I really hope the author will do a proper index for the paperback.

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