Jeremy Leggett gives an insider’s perspective into the worlds of big energy, international finance, and climate change negotiations. With a background that started with working for the oil and gas industry, he went on to Greenpeace and then became a founder of solar company SolarCentury and its associated charity SolarAid, and is also chair of CarbonTracker.
Drawing on his diaries from 2004 to 2013, and recording meetings with politicians, energy executives, and climate change negotiators, Leggett reveals how he sees a blindness to risk. The blindness isn’t just towards climate change, but also about the risks to our economic system from unbridled and dishonest financial sector capitalism (which led us to the recent global financial crisis), the denial of peak oil and limited fossil fuels as a reality, and the carbon bubble (if we are to prevent irreversible climate change, the world’s largest energy companies can only use a small proportion of their reserves, at a grave risk to their share prices). Leggett argues that we have the technologies to slow climate change through existing renewable technologies, energy efficiency and better buildings, and need to redirect the massive global fossil-fuel subsidies towards investing in a sustainable future. He is palpably frustrated by the lack of political will to make the necessary changes, despite the signs of the need for transformation.
Although not a light read, this book gave me much more insight into the causes and devastating consequences of the global financial crisis in 2008-2010. In Australia we were somewhat sheltered from the shockwaves that brought many countries to the financial brink. Leggett also looks at how the different risks in the system might intersect with disastrous results. I found the book at Sunshine Coast Libraries.
There is a talk here by Jeremy Leggett about his book and the thinking behind it.