Posts Tagged ‘Energy policy’

Books on the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

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Today (April 20) is the one year anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil disaster in American waters in history. The catastrophe began with a series of explosions on the drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 crew members and caused an massive eruption on the wellhead on the ocean floor. The oil gushed for 10 weeks, releasing 20 times more oil than the Exxon Valdez, killing wildlife and ruining the livelihoods of thousands of people who make their living in and around the Gulf.

The two books below provide clear accounts of the disaster, detailing what actually happened and why. BP is one of the largest and most profitable oil companies in the world and promotes its green efforts. Yet corporate policies for cost cutting and for rushing to pump oil led to shortchanged safety features that protect both drilling employees and the environment. Routine maintenance was shoddy and safety improvements were postponed. Federal regulators also share in the blame for not noticing.

BP has paid billions of dollars to victims, yet management has admitted nothing that would lead to a reform of corporate culture. This disaster is ripe for repeat.

Steffy, Loren C. Drowning in oil : BP and the reckless pursuit of profit. McGraw-Hill, 2011.

Business journalist from the Houston Chronicle provides a clear, thorough and readable account of the disaster, analyzing its roots and implications.

Freudenburg, William R. Blowout in the Gulf : the BP oil spill disaster and the future of energy in America. MIT Press, 2011.

Two environmental scholars provide insights into BP, industrial risk-taking, and the histories of oil exploration and US energy policy.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Reviews: Tech Innovation and Insight in the Triangle

Friday, November 5th, 2010


These two titles prove that technological innovation and insight can be “locally grown” in our market of ideas just down the road from Durham, in Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, NC.

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.

  • Brilliant: Shuji Nakamura and the revolution in lighting technology. by Bob Johnstone. Prometheus Books, 2007..
    Inspirational story of a young researcher from rural Japan, who invented the technology that underlies the solid-state lighting industry, energy-saving LED’s. After an impressive string of achievements in semiconductor research, he left his Japanese company, which then sued him for leaking trade secrets to Cree Research, based in Research Triangle Park, NC.
  • On the grid : a plot of land, an average neighborhood, and the systems that make our world work. by Scott Huler. Rodale / McMillan, 2010.
    Beginning with the systems in his Raleigh, NC home, author Scott Huler investigates the infrastructure and the workers who make his existence livable. He discusses water, electricity, and the internet; sewage removal; street and highway construction, while providing insight into why this complicated structure doesn’t collapse, or why it works as well as it does.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Reviews: “Going Green”

Monday, June 7th, 2010

going green logo

Here are a set of mini-reviews of four important new books on “going green.”

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.

  • Global warming is good for business by Kimberly B. Keilbach. Quill Driver Books, 2009.Provides practical advice on identifying entrepreneurial opportunities, and describes new green technologies that have the potential to power a new generation of innovation.
  • Two billion cars: driving toward sustainability by Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon. Oxford University Press, 2009.Describes the reluctance of auto manufacturers to employ promising new technologies for reducing the auto’s carbon footprint and recommends solutions for change.
  • How to cool the planet : geoengineering and the audacious quest to fix earth’s climate. by Jeff Goodell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.Explores options for cooling earth’s climate in a hurry, focusing on strange and promising ideas that are beginning to attract research dollars, such as “cloud brightening,” pumping water droplets into the air to buffer ocean clouds’ reflectivity.
  • Strategy for sustainability: a business manifesto by Adam Werbach. Harvard Business Press, 2009.Shows business leaders how to formulate a green strategy attuned to social, economic and cultural trends, and to implement it by engaging people inside the company and within the community..

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Monday, October 27th, 2008

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Hot, flat, and crowded : why we need a green revolution– and how it can renew America by Thomas L. Friedman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Following his blockbuster book on globalization, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman has written another destined for a multi-year stay on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Hot, Flat, and Crowded focuses on three global trends that will soon undermine the quality of life of earth: Global warming, the rise of the middle class world-wide and rapid population growth. As billions more people adopt middle class consumption patterns, the effect on climate, natural resources and biodiversity will be devastating. In addition, the world will experience tighter energy supplies, a division between electricity haves and have-nots, and a transfer of wealth to petro-powers, which are largely anti-democratic.

After focusing on the problems of global warming, population growth, and consumerism in the first half of the book, Friedman outlines his solution in the second. He proposes “Code Green” to transform our our current Dirty Fuels System to a clean-powered, energy-efficient, conservation-based system. Friedman calls for a revolution, the largest innovation project in American history.

Overall, this is an optimistic book. Friedman says that thirty years ago, America could be counted on to lead the world in response to the important challenges of the day, but recently the US lost its way. The green revolution is an opportunity to become that city on the hill once again, providing leadership on healing the earth.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

Book Review: Earth: The Sequel

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

© amazon book cover image

Krupp, Fred and Miriam Horn. Earth: The Sequel, the race to reinvent energy and stop global warming. Norton, 2008.

In the 1980’s, author Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund proposed the world’s first cap and trade system to reduce the levels of acid rain. The cap and trade system placed a limit on sulfur dioxide, divided the total among polluters and allowed them to trade on the market. Companies learned they could make money by not emitting pollutants. Innovation was inspired throughout the market and within five years, emissions were 30% lower than the cap required by law. Krupp and Horn’s new book, Earth: the sequel, makes the case that the same market forces can be brought to bear on the problem of global warming.

After making the case for a new cap and trade system, the authors discuss new and emerging energy technologies, including solar, biofuel and geothermal technologies. Most of the book is about the challenges and successes of the companies and people who make up the new clean energy industry — inventors and investors; visionaries and venture capitalists; entrepreneurs and their start-ups. This upbeat book is hopeful about the opportunities to reduce greenhouse emissions and resolve our environmental problems.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.