RESOURCES: “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” Free Book

Dispatch from SSC Intern Emilia Pramova

As humankind has finally realized that conventional energy resources are both finite and dirty, sustainable energy has emerged as the hottest topic for both industries and governments! We all know that clean energy is the only way to go but how can we scientifically argue for this cause and persuade opinion leaders to take action? In other words, how can we get our facts and figures straight without having to engage in the boring activity of crunching big impressive numbers during endless nights?

The book “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” can equip us with all we need! This extraordinary book illustrates, with outstanding clarity and objectivity, the various alternative low-carbon pathways that are open to humanity. It is a book that reveals the true facts about sustainable energy in a form that is both highly readable and entertaining.

Written by David MacKay, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of
Physics at the University of Cambridge, "Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air" is a 382-page, yet very fun to read, book that presents all the facts and figures needed to answer critical questions such as:

  • How big do renewable energy facilities have to be, to make a significant contribution?
  • How big would our energy consumption be if we adopted strong efficiency measures?
  • Which efficiency measures offer big savings, and which offer only 5% or 10%?
  • Do new much-hyped technologies such as hydrogen or electric cars reduce energy consumption, or do they actually make our energy problem worse?

David MacKay stated in a recent summary:

The public discussion of energy options tends to be intensely emotional, polarized, mistrustful, and destructive. Every option is strongly opposed: the public seem to be anti-wind, anti-coal,anti-waste-to-energy, anti-tidal-barrage, anti-fuel-duty, and anti-nuclear.

We can't be anti-everything! We need an energy plan that adds up. But there's a lack of numeracy in the public discussion of energy. Where people do use numbers, they select them to sound big, to make an impression, and to score points in arguments, rather than to aid thoughtful discussion.

My motivation in writing "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air"(available both on paper, and for free in electronic form at is to promote constructive conversations about energy, instead of the perpetual Punch and Judy show. I've tried to
write an honest, educational and fun book. I hope the book will help build a cross-party consensus in favour of urgently making an energy plan that adds up.

Don’t waste time (and energy) and download the free PDF version of the book by clicking here.