Thursday, March 29, 2007

Book Review: How To Live A Low Carbon Life, Chris Goodall

This is a brilliant book. 300 odd pages bristling with facts, statistics and meticulous analysis of the make up of our average UK carbon footprint and how we can reduce it to a sustainable level.

Goodall - Green Party candidate, MBA and ex-director of Which? Ltd - covers Home Heating, Water Heating & Cooking, Lighting, Appliances, Car Travel, Public Transport, Air Travel, Food, Microrenewables and Offsetting - trying valiantly to put sensible numbers to each aspect and evaluating solutions. The facts are fired out thick and fast: a sky box left on all year has the same carbon emissions as the average Afghani, the top 10% of travellers are responsible for 42% of transport related emissions, a pressure cooker will reduce carbon emissions by 50% - it goes on and on. I will be using this book as a reference on a weekly if not daily basis for blogging, work and checking my own random thoughts.

While inevitably I have a number of minor quibbles (the lack of detail on Heat Pumps, the idea that Government can't address climate change, the zero tolerance on flying*), the only real problem I have is with the full title - "How To Live A Low Carbon Life: the individual's guide to stopping climate change" as this is what it is not. The layman is not going to wade through such exhaustive arguments, backed up by tables of statistics (but virtually no diagrams or pictures), in order to find out what actions they should take. So, I'll rephrase my first statement:

This is a brilliant book - for me and other eco-obsessives.

* I will explain myself in a later post...

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At 5:33 PM, Blogger Chris Goodall said...

Dear Gareth,

Thanks for the very positive comments on my book.

You are right, there should have been more graphs and charts. The next edition will contain a greater number of visual aids. (Like the pie chart you so helpfully have on your site!)

I also should have dealt with heat pumps in less cursory way.

And you are absolutely correct to say that this is a book for obsessives, and not just the general reader. I noticed that there were a host of very good general guides and I wanted to write a book that might function as a reference work. This means that some parts of it may be heavy going for those not really interested in the topic. I tried to summarise the main conclusions for the general reader where possible.

Thanks again for the comments. Much appreciated.

Chris Goodall

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Gareth Kane said...

Thanks Chris - and apologies, I've just noticed I've spelt your name wrongly in both posts - now fixed.


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