The Burning Question reveals climate change to be the most fascinating scientific, political and social puzzle in history. It shows that carbon emissions are still accelerating upwards, following an exponential curve that goes back centuries. One reason is that saving energy is like squeezing a balloon: reductions in one place lead to increases elsewhere. Another reason is that clean energy sources don't in themselves slow the rate of fossil fuel extraction.
Tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon oil, coal and gas reserves worth many trillions of dollars – at least until we have the means to put carbon back in the ground. The burning question is whether that can be done. What mix of politics, psychology, economics and technology might be required? Are the energy companies massively overvalued, and how will carbon-cuts affect the global economy? Will we wake up to the threat in time? And who can do what to make it all happen?
Mike Berners-Lee is a leading carbon consultant and author of How Bad Are Bananas. Duncan Clark is a Guardian environment journalist and author of various successful books, including The Rough Guide to Green Living. Both live in the U.K.
"The Burning Question is a fascinating examination of the forces that have led to our current predicament and it presents an important framework for a sustainable future. I recommend it highly."
– Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of the United States
"There have been many books on this issue but The Burning Question lives up to the urgency of its title. Clearly set out, steely with the numbers but fair and humane in its assessments of human strengths and weaknesses, it is a book to reignite the debate."
– Peter Forbes, The Guardian
"sensible and well documented [...] recommended to those new to this topic."
– Publishers Weekly
"The issues explored in The Burning Question are hugely important. Policymakers and the public urgently need to be engaging in this kind of big-picture conversation"
– Jim Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
"This is a book that needed to be written it asks the right question then seeks the most effective ways of answering it. An essential contribution to our thinking about climate change."
– George Monbiot, Writer and campaigner
"Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark have lit a beacon for the wayward, listing ships of climate thinking [...] and their strategy for action is nuanced and evidence-based"
"Probably the best synthesis of the key arguments over climate change that I've read. [...] Clark and Berners-Lee have managed to bring a refreshing new clarity to the debate."
– Joss Garman, Greenpeace