“Welcome to life without fossil fuels.”
Afterburn is a collection of fifteen essays in a trade paperback by Richard Heinberg, a Senior Fellow of the Vancouver-based Post Carbon Institute. His topic is clear: what happens to society after fossil fuels run out? His writing is less so. This is academic writing, not written for easy reading. Who the target readers are is also unclear. The essays have previously been published on various websites; some were delivered as speeches, and thus the material is not new. In fact, for those familiar with the subject, not much new information is presented. It contains the same topics we’ve all heard about in detail for several decades. Heinberg uses a negative, black-and-white tone. He heavily criticizes all governmental energy (and other) policies and all big businesses, focusing on the negatives. The short introduction, in which he summarizes all fifteen chapters, is very good, and many readers may be satisfied just reading that. The book is full of quotes and has only a few illustrations; the text is dry and filled with repetitions. It also has errors that a good editor would’ve corrected. Heinberg’s frequent repeating of “we must do . . .” becomes tiresome. He has chapter-by-chapter notes, which are nearly all web links.
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