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Environmental Science

The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere--most dramatically since the 1970s. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus.

In this new edition of his authoritative book, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel--a political conservative--outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. He also covers two major developments that have occurred since the first edition: the most recent round of updated projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate simulations, and the so-called “climategate” incident that heralded the subsequent collapse of popular and political support in the United States for dealing with climate change.

Choosing Among Options

Human survival depends on a continuing supply of energy, but the need for ever-increasing amounts of it poses a dilemma: How can we find energy sources that are sustainable and ways to convert and utilize energy that are more efficient? This widely used textbook is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students as well as others who have an interest in exploring energy resource options and technologies with a view toward achieving sustainability on local, national, and global scales. It clearly presents the tradeoffs and uncertainties inherent in evaluating and choosing sound energy portfolios and provides a framework for assessing policy solutions.

The second edition examines the broader aspects of energy use, including resource estimation, environmental effects, and economic evaluations; reviews the main energy sources of today and tomorrow, from fossil fuels and nuclear power to biomass, hydropower, and solar energy; treats energy carriers and energy storage, transmission, and distribution; addresses end-use patterns in the transportation, industrial, and building sectors; and considers synergistic complex systems. This new edition also offers updated statistical data and references; a new chapter on the complex interactions among energy, water, and land use; expanded coverage of renewable energy; and new color illustrations. Sustainable Energy addresses the challenges of making responsible energy choices for a more sustainable future.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual, problems, and file of figures in the book

General Energetics of Complex Systems

Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the major energy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere and civilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density and energy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (the study of energy flows and their transformations). The book explores not only planetary energetics (such as solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis, for example) but also human energetics (such as metabolism and thermoregulation), tracing them from hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies through modern-day industrial civilization. Included are chapters on heterotrophic conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification, fossil fuels, fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of energetics for the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general patterns, trends, and socioeconomic considerations of energy use today, looking at correlations between energy and value, energy and the economy, energy and quality of life, and energy futures.

Throughout the book, Smil chooses to emphasize the complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitive outcomes of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Society provides a unique, comprehensive, single-volume analysis and reference source on all important energy matters, from natural to industrial energy flows, from fuels to food, from the Earth's formation to possible energy futures, and can serve as a text for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systems science, biology, and chemistry.

Effects of the Origin and Evolution of Life on Planet Earth

In this book fifteen distinguished scientists discuss the effects of life—past and present—on planet Earth. Unlike other earth science and biology books, Environmental Evolution describes the impact of life on the Earth's rocky surfaces presenting an integrated view of how our planet evolved. Modeled on the Environmental Evolution course developed by Lynn Margulis and colleagues, it provides a unique synthesis of atmospheric, biological, and geological hypotheses that explain the present condition of the biosphere. The book develops scientific concepts essential to the reconstruction of the intertwined history of Earth's air, rocks, water, and life.

After an introduction by James E. Lovelock on Gaia theory, the material proceeds in roughly chronological order from the origin of life in the early Archean Eon to the emergence of new environmental diseases in today's industrialized world. The second edition has been thoroughly revised, with more comprehensive chapters, additional illustrations, and new references.

Elso S. Barghoorn, Robert Buchsbaum, David Deamer, Stjepko Golubic, Jonathan King, Antonio Lazcano, James E. Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Clifford Matthews, Michael McElroy, Mark McMenamin, Raymond Siever, Paul Strother, Tony Swain, Neil Todd.

How do Americans view environmental issues? From EarthFirst! members to sawmill workers, this study by a team of cognitive anthropologists offers both good and bad news for those addressing environmental issues in the public arena. On the one hand it reveals surprising similarities in the way different groups of Americans view long-term global environmental change, and on the other it shows that Americans have serious misunderstandings about these issues, which skews public support for policies.

Using research techniques developed in the study of other cultures, Environmental Values in American Culture explores the reasons for the recent increase in environmental sentiments among Americans, and shows that current views attributing public environmentalism to a single cause are greatly oversimplified. It investigates the components of public environmentalism: beliefs (what people think the world is like), values (what is moral or desirable), and cultural models (the organization of beliefs or values into explanations or justifications).

The authors document how scientific information on such issues as global warming, ozone depletion, and species extinctions is interpreted and transformed by the public, and how underlying beliefs and values influence preferences for or against environmental policies.

The interviews with and surveys of groups such as EarthFirst!, Sierra Club members, the general public, congressional staff, coal miners, and sawmill workers yield rich insights about how people conceptualize - and misconceptualize - major environmental issues. They also reveal public beliefs and values that differ sharply from those of environmental scientists and economists, identify what is shared by Americans and what is idiosyncratic to extreme groups, and show that religious and spiritual values concerning the environment and concerns for one's descendants are as important as economic tradeoffs.