September 23 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment Year: General Rating: 4
Carbon is a getting a lot of attention!
You’ve seen the references – carbon emissions, carbon footprint, carbon credits, carbon offsets, carbon calculators, carbon caps, carbon tax, low-carbon economy, post-carbon economy…
Why is this an important book?
Let’s start with Steven Colbert who asked Eric Roston- Is carbon the ‘Al Qaeda’ of elements?
What is The Carbon Age?
An accessible story of carbon across the ages – from its universal origins to the first biochemical bonds formed with hydrogen, to its combustion in our gasoline gas tank, and a bright future with new nanoscale applications. Roston tells the story of carbon through the lenses of physical cosmology, geochemistry, biology, engineering, energy science, and above all else- how this element has shaped human societies.
Why read it?
I always speak highly of this book! But be prepared. The subtitle ‘How Life’s Core Element Has Becomes Civilization’s Greatest Threat’ is misleading. This is not a book about a crisis. Is not anti-carbon. Roston is not trying to shock you. He is trying to reach your head, not your heart. Roston does not avoid the seriousness of climate change, but does not fall back on simple strategies that avoid the complexities of carbon science.
Roston’s voice and perspective on carbon is fresh. He is incredibly balanced in his delivery, and the undertones of how the carbon age story ends are optimistic. But the first step in addressing the challenges of this Industrial Age’s massive release of carbon into the atmosphere is to understand how it got there- and why chemical bonds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are so important to society. All this is delivered in under 250 pages!
[Continue – on my reaction to ‘The Carbon Age’ and the importance of chemical energy, time and biology.]