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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


November-December 2010

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The Powers that Be: Global Energy for the Twenty-First Century and Beyond by Scott L. Montgomery, Chicago: of Chicago Press, 2010.

This timely book offers a highly accessible window into global energy use, past, present, and future. Although a little cumbersome at times—the abbreviations list is a must, as I found myself returning to it frequently—and somewhat repetitive in places, it is insightful and of interest to a wide audience. The book introduces and discusses the concept of energy security at the national scale, as well as environmental issues, such as climate change, currently on the global agenda.

Montgomery highlights how economic or political shifts in the past have led to major changes in our perception and use of energy over time and place. He suggests that a new major shift may be needed to reduce our current worryingly high dependence on finite resources, which are also largely politically and environmentally on insecure ground.

Leanne Cullen-Unsworth, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Queensland, Australia.

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