The Energy of Nations
Risk Blindness and the Road to Renaissance
Read the preface and first chapter.
Systemic risks of oil supply, climate shock and financial collapse threaten tomorrow’s economies and mean businesses and policy makers face huge challenges in fuelling tomorrow’s world.
Jeremy Leggett gives a personal testimony of the dangers often ignored and incompletely understood – a journey through the human mind, the institutionalization of denial, and the reasons civilizations fail. It is also an account of tantalizing hope, because mobiliizing renewables and redeploying energy funding can soften the crash of modern capitalism and set us on a road to renaissance.
“A story very well told. As far as I am aware there is no one on this planet who has a comparable all-encompassing, multi-disciplinary view and understanding of these issues to Leggett’s.”
Stephan Schmidheiny, founder, World Council for Sustainable Development
“Vivid, insightful, riveting – an eyewitness despatch from the front lines of the energy war. Official misinformation, self-delusion and denial about the true state of world oil and gas threaten us with global chaos, within the coming decade. Jeremy Leggett foresees the chaos jolting governments to cooperate at last, on sensible policies. We have to hope he’s right.”
Walt Patterson, Associate Fellow, Royal Institution for International Affairs
“It really is a terrific read – very unveiling of our human struggle between greed and legacy.”
Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director, Vantage Point Capital Partners.
“I was so captivated by it. The narrative device of running the years and the oil price gives it power and tension. The inter-weaving of account and candid diary makes one feel one has a front-row seat at the places where things almost happen.”
Adam Poole, Analyst, Buro-Happold
“I was hooked within the first few pages.”
Pamela Hartigan, Director, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, University of Oxford
“The narrative flows compellingly, filmically, almost like an airport thriller.”
Mark Prain, Executive Director, Hillary Institute of International Leadership
“To understand what is going on you need to be a polymath who has worked at the highest levels on all sides. Jeremy Leggett is that person, and he provides clarity of thinking in a consistently delightful written style.”
Paul Dickinson, Chairman, Carbon Disclosure Project.
“This has to be the first real peak oil pageturner. It’s gripping stuff. Leggett may well have a future career as a writer of thrillers.”
Rob Hopkins, founder, Transition Network.
“At a time when most people view tomorrow’s energy prospects through dark lenses of coal, oil, fracked gas or even methane hydrates, Jeremy Leggett shines a brilliant light on the path towards low or zero carbon energy. Illuminating. And a joy to read.”
John Elkington, cofounder of ENDS, SustainAbility and Volans.
“Brilliant–a real roadmap to the future. And a perfect reminder of why we must leave most fossil fuel safely in the ground.”
Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org
“Jeremy Leggett is one of great entrepreneurs of the emerging solar era, a man driven by his passion for the environment and for social justice in the developing world to set up a new business (and a new charity) to give expression to those ideas. ‘ The Energy of Nations’ tells it as it needs to be heard, with new – and genuinely sustainable – business models at the heart of the transformation going on today in the global economy.”
Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future
“Leggett has the great gift of making his subject – the energy sector and its impact on climate change – as readable as any good novel.”
Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network
“As Jeremy Leggett outlines in his latest book, The Energy of Nations, businesses, including ours, need to accept that climate change presents direct and substantial risks. From direct economic shocks caused by changes to the climate system, to a ‘carbon bubble’ when climate policy eventually catches up with emitters and forces them to pay for the greenhouse gases they’ve released. However ‘good’ or ‘bad’ your business may currently be – everybody has a responsibility to do something about it.”
Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
“The Energy of Nations is the key to the “next big thing” for investors and asset managers worldwide.”
Hazel Henderson, President, Ethical Markets Media
“As close to a real-time thriller as the energy sector gets. ….What makes Leggett’s take compelling is his argument that the human and technological preconditions are coming into place, as the costs of clean-tech fall, and community innovation grows on the back of internet-enabled peer-to-peer lending.”
Nick Robins, head of HSBC Climate Change Centre of Excellence.
“A fantastic book. Jeremy Leggett is one of the few who straddles peak oil, climate change, and the world of business.”
Asher Miller, Executive Director, Post Carbon Institute.
An account, written with colleagues at Solarcentury and SolarAid in 2009, of how solar energy can play a key role in global renaissance: how an acceleration of growth in the solar industries – and their sisters in sustainable energy – can ameliorate the climate crisis, soften the energy crisis, help rebuild the damage caused by the financial crisis, and spread much hope besides.
“An incredibly inspiring read …a compelling, exciting and inspiring case for solar as a central thrust of a renewable energy future.”
My account (1997 – 2005) of the peak oil threat: how the global oil industry is overblowing both its reserves and resources assessment and its ability to deliver oil to market in a timely manner, how the growing numbers of whistleblowers in an around the oil industry are faring with their warnings about the great global energy crisis that looms as a consequence, and how peak oil conflates with climate change.
“Oil depletion is now meeting global warming …it’s scary….a mix of a textbook and a call to arms ….Few people could make the transition from geologist to oil consultant to chief scientist for Greenpeace and then to boss of Britain’s largest solar energy company ….his personal insights are fascinating ….the writing is always clear and conveys complicated but important technicalities in very accessible terms.”
“Jeremy Leggett, former oil geologist and a fine writer, spells out the reality in Half Gone – and very different it is from the official blandishments from on high, in which the incompetence seems beyond belief and deception is a way of life.”
“Leggett knows what he is talking about. ….The resulting book is a fast-moving, easily readable polemic whose unashamed populism doesn’t obscure the weight of it arguments.”
“His arguments are so powerfully and persuasively drawn that his statements begin to seem obvious. ….a compelling must-read for politicians, pundits and punters alike.”
“If you want one book that ….. really deals with this and attempts to explain the complications of it, I recommend it to you.”
President Bill Clinton
“Really excellent. Personal and passionate, but strong on the science and eminently reasonable. Certainly the best account of the Peak Oil debate that I have come across so far, and I really hope that it is having the impact on key people that it deserves.”
Jonathon Porritt, Commission on Sustainable Development
“Among the shelf full of books on the oil situation that have been published in the last year or so, (this) is far and away the best.”
Lester Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute
“What makes Half Gone important is that it goes beyond the conventional clarion call about “peak oil” to consider also the other great fossil-fuel-related crisis we face – global warming. ….Despite its gloomy topic, (it) is an impressive and jaunty read and should be mandatory for politicians and planners ….a detailed, finely poised, buoyantly optimistic and ultimately plausible vision of how increased energy efficiency and renewable energy sources can lead to an ecologically viable and soft, rather than hard, landing.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“Leggett’s case is equally convincing and frightening. ….gives a fresh, keen understanding of the imminent need to alleviate our economic dependency on oil.”
Internationalist: Journal of Culture and Currents, Winter 2005 (US)
“Leggett summarizes data…. that convincingly indicate that world oil production is in irreversible decline.”
Gilbert Taylor, Booklist (US)
Book of the year: Ian Irvine, Independent-on-Sunday
Bookseller magazine votes Half Gone one of the top 50 environmental books ever (November 2009).
My account (1989-2000) of the first decade of international effort to negotiate a global climate change treaty, as I witnessed it in and around the negotiations. As far as I know, it remains the only eye-witness acount of the climate talks, and the way the fossil-fuel vested-interests (the “carbon club”) tried to derail them.
“Vastly broadens our understanding. For the unscientific, this account of events from the International Panel on Climate Change set up by the United Nations in 1988, to the summit in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, is a revelation. Suddenly the apparently contradictory nature of so much we have heard and read falls into place.”
“a page-turning story in racy prose” …“the final chapter is not only nail biting, but moves the reader to tears.”
“The best book yet about the politics of global warming …essential reading.”
“Racy… a powerful and highly readable book. Those who want a crash course on the nature of today’s environmental movement and the politics of the climate negotiations can be assured of an excellent, reliable read”
“The Carbon War is a must for anyone interested in observing how a few global oil corporations hijacked governments over the climate negotiations.”
“provides ample evidence, much of it drawn from the author’s first-hand experience, to support its assertions. Mr Leggett knows both sides of the street.”