Energy revolution, junk rafts and legal activism: inspiring summer reads

Junk Raft. Image via Flickr: davidg
Junk Raft. Image via Flickr: davidg

As much of Europe heads off on vacation, we’ve chosen five books on climate action that are a must-summer read. From Bloomberg’s pro-city and business approach to legal activism and sailing on a junk raft, these five authors offer a diverse range of approaches to tackling climate change.


Climate of Hope – Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope

Cities must take the lead in action on climate change. In “Climate of Hope”, the former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg and former chairman of the US environmental group, the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, both of whom have campaigned extensively on climate change, integrate their business acumen and familiarity with public policy to explore how cities, businesses, and citizens can take practical steps.

There is also much discussion at the national level on phasing out coal, reforming subsidies to fossil fuel producers, disrupting utility monopolies to enable renewables to compete, boosting transparency on the risk from climate change and unlocking investment for climate-friendly projects.

With stories from their own experience in government, business, and advocacy, the authors provide an inspiring roadmap for climate action.


Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution – Marcus Eriksen

“Junk Raft” tells the tale of two scientists setting out on an expedition across the Pacific on a junk raft, ,made from plastic waste — one of the more unusual approaches to campaigning against plastic pollution in the oceans.

Eriksen and his co-navigator, Joel Paschal, recount both their struggles to keep afloat, and the history of the plastic pollution, as they drift from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

The tide is turning in the battle to save the world’s oceans, according to Eriksen, detailing the successes he and others have had. Junk Raft offers actionable solutions and an empowering message, demonstrating how we can change our throw-away culture.



Client Earth – James Thornton, Martin Goodman

ClientEarth lawyers across London, Brussels and Warsaw have hit the headlines recently for challenging numerous European governments over failures on air pollution, chemical regulations and transparency.

The book by the same name, “Client Earth”, charts the rise of this environmental legal group, advocating a legal activism approach, and demonstrating how people around the world are increasingly drawing on public interest law to safeguard ecological and environmental health.

The book journeys from Poland to Ghana, from Alaska to China, to see how environmental law is being used to take a stand on clean water, air pollution, the building of new coal power stations and climate change.

You can order a copy online or Download the ebook


Burn Out: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels – Dieter Helm

In “Burn Out”, energy industry commentator Professor Dieter Helm explores the major trends disrupting the energy sector and bringing an end to fossil fuels. 

Helm discusses how China’s economic slowdown, low oil prices and the pace of technological innovation — the internet of things, battery improvements and the advance of artificial intelligence — will catalyse an energy revolution that will bypass oil and gas, and transform our current approaches to averting climate change.

The book ends with advice for government and business on what they can and should do to prepare for a very different energy future.

Read more and buy a copy here


Energy Democracy – Craig Morris and Arne Jungjohann

“Energy Democracy” explores the idea of ownership in energy efficiency at a local level, and traces the origins of Germany’s low-carbon energy transition,”Energiewende”.

Morris, a researcher a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, and Jungjohann, an energy consultant, explore how community groups have become key actors in bottom-up action against climate change through community wind farms, local heat supply, walkable cities and more.

The book uses the German example to show how the transition to renewables is an opportunity to strengthen communities and democratise the energy sector around the world.

Read more here.

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