The Solar Economy

Posted: 1 December 2003

Author: Hermann Scheer
Earthscan, London, 2002, £17.99 / $29.95 hb

The global economy and the way of life it has created are based on the exploitation of fossil fuels - coal, oil and, more recently, natural gas - and fossil fuels will be the engine of the collapse of that economy, warns Hermann Scheer . Without fundamental change, he says, it has no future.

cover_solar economyFossil energy not only threatens massive environmental and social disruption through global warming but, at present rates of consumption, it will run out within decades, causing huge industrial dislocation, says the author of The Solar Economy.

Even before then, the conflicts and imbalances it causes in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world's economy will be frighteningly exacerbated, he warns.

The alternative exists: renewable energy from renewable sources - above all solar. Substituting renewable for fossil resources will take a new industrial revolution, which is imperative if the worst of the damage is to be averted, and which also offers an unprecedented chance to restructure the international order, revitalize regional economies and prevent environmental devastation.It can be done, and it can be done in time, says Scheer.

Awarded the title of 'Hero of the Green Century' for his national and international commitment to Renewable Energy by Time magazine, Hermann Scheer lays out the blueprints, showing how the political, economic and technological challenges can be met using indigenous, renewable and universally available resources, and the enormous opportunities and benefits that will flow from doing so.

Indeed, Scheer does not believe the world can afford to wait for the market alone to make wind and solar power competitive with fossil fuels. Renewable energy, he says, "is necessary for the assurance of life on earth. There is no time to waste."