Idea Almanac

“We need to act five times faster to avoid dangerous climate change. This is a daunting challenge, but it is one that we must meet. We have the technology, the resources, and the know-how to do it. What we need is the political will.” – Simon Sharpe

Here are some key takeaways from the book Five Times Faster :

  • We need to act five times faster to avoid dangerous climate change.
  • We need to invest in new technologies to decarbonize our economy.
  • We need to change our lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • We need to work together to solve climate change.
  • Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution.
Idea Almanac

“The poorest lignites (lighter colored and crumbly) have an energy density lower than wood, because most of their mass is moisture and ash. In elemental composition, the poorest lignites are less than fifty per cent carbon, anthracites more than ninety per cent, and bituminous coals mostly between seventy to seventy-five per cent. This means that the most commonly used bituminous coals have energy densities about fifty per cent higher than air-dried wood.
Consequently, energy stored as coal will occupy less space, require less frequent stoking of stoves and furnaces, and untended fires will last longer. On the other hand, underground mining, costly and dangerous, is the most obvious disadvantage of coal extraction, while the presence of relatively large volumes of ash (bituminous coals typically contain about ten per cent of incombustibles, mostly oxides of iron, silica, and alkaline elements) and sulfur are its great­est environmental drawbacks.”

Excerpt From: Vaclav Smil. “Energy.”

Idea Almanac

“Markets have gone off the rails for three reasons: externalities are not properly priced, many people no longer have the skills necessary to give them genuine freedom of opportunity, and firms are increasingly able to fix the rules of the game in their own favor. Energy is cheap because we don’t pay its full costs. American consumers pay roughly five cents per kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh) for electricity from coal-fired power plants. But burning coal emits enormous quantities of CO2 (coal is essentially fossilized carbon)—one of the leading causes of global warming. ”

Excerpt From: Rebecca Henderson. “Reimagining Capitalism.”

Idea Almanac

“How does the world get from one powered by fossil fuels to one that runs entirely on energy from the wind, sun, earth’s heat, and water’s movement? Part of the answer is biomass energy generation. It is a “bridge” solution from status quo to desired state—imperfect, riddled with caveats, and probably necessary. Necessary because biomass energy can produce electricity on demand, helping the grid meet predictable changes in load and complementing variable sources of power, like wind and solar. Biomass can aid the shift away from fossil fuels and buy time for flexible grid solutions to come online, while utilizing wastes that might otherwise become environmental problems. In the near-term, substituting biomass for fossil fuels can prevent carbon stocks in the atmosphere from rising.”

Excerpt From: Paul Hawken. “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.”

Book Review

“The Power of Starting Something Stupid” by Richie Norton is a compelling guide that challenges conventional perceptions of ‘stupid’ ideas, presenting them as potential gateways to extraordinary success.