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The Conundrum (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. Februar 2012

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'David Owen sounds a wake-up call for everyone who thinks they're solving the problems of climate change and resource depletion by eating local, buying more fuel-effi cient cars, and fitting their house with compact fluorescents' Publishers Weekly 'Owen's critique resonates far beyond the United States - He gently dismantles the foundation of standard environmental behaviour with a series of succinctly turned arguments that (are) - presented with considerable wit and self-deprecation' Freakonomics.com -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

David Owen is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of a dozen books. He lives in northwest Connecticut with his wife, the writer Ann Hodgman, and their two children.


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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen 44 Rezensionen
26 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Refreshingly Honest 14. Februar 2012
Von J. Ruscio - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
David Owen writes clearly, concisely, and insightfully about environmental challenges and the inadequacy of most proposed remedies. Owen explains the direction in which a society would have to move to become truly "green" (think NYC, not Vermont) and he also candidly admits that most people--including him and his wife--do not choose to live in those ways. Mainstream environmental beliefs and practices are examined, and Owen argues that many are either less helpful than widely believed or counterproductive. Research is complemented by anecdotes, including personal revelations that underscore Owen's appreciation for the difficulties involved in attempting to persuade (or coerce) people into making significant lifestyle changes, let alone genuine sacrifices. Though short on practical solutions, this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in considering the complexities encountered when confronting environmental challenges to do good rather than merely to feel good.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Read it because it's thought-provoking, but recognize that it's wrong. 19. Dezember 2014
Von Phillip Price - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a frustrating book. Like all of Owen's books, it is very clear and well-written. It's interesting and thought-provoking. And, although it would be an exaggeration to say that everything in it is wrong, it is nonetheless true that a lot that is in it is wrong, and a lot of what isn't wrong is misleading.

Much of the book is about the "rebound" of energy efficiency: if you use energy more efficiently --- if you get more productivity from it per unit --- then you tend to use more units. So energy efficiency improvements lead to less energy reduction than a naive calculation would suggest. This is a real effect, and in some highly energy-intensive industries it can be large. Also, if you save money on energy then you will spend it on something else, and that something else will also consume energy. These effects are real but not all that big on average: at the scale of the entire economy, averaged over all industries, rebound is around 8%. So if you improve productivity per unit energy by 20%, you don't cut energy use by 20%, you cut it by about 18.5%. Energy efficiency experts and economists have looked at it a lot of ways and they all get rebound of somewhere in that neighborhood. David Owen "knows" the experts are wrong, and he gives some examples to prove it...and they're utter nonsense. In one especially risible instance, Owen suggests that driving less energy-efficient cars would save energy: "If the only motor vehicles available today were 1920 Model Ts, how many miles do you think you'd drive each year, and how far do you think you'd live from where you work"? Owen is right that people would drive a lot less in these circumstances...but he's entirely wrong about the reason. People would drive a lot less because the Model T is loud, has uncomfortable seats, no air conditioning, no stereo system, has a lousy suspension, has poor acceleration and low top speed, etc. In fact, the Model T got about 20 mpg, which is not that bad compared to a lot of cars for sale today. Ridiculously, Owen blames all of the extra driving solely on an increase in fuel efficiency. Unfortunately the book is riddled with such nonsense.
13 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Thought provoking on a paradigm shift level 18. Februar 2012
Von Adam - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
David Owen does a fantastic job of highlighting some of the logical errors people choose to make regarding their energy use. He discusses the full-spectrum of decisions all the way from an individual's daily drive to work all the way to the grand plans of governments to make "green" transportation networks and cities.

Each of the chapters presents a different approach to the same fundamental problem: energy efficiency is not a means to reduce overall energy use. He takes a scientific approach using data and examples from the real world, and adds in his unique humor and anecdotes to make the painful truth easier to digest.

It's definitely worth a read and serious consideration, but if you choose to pick it up, be willing to be objective because it challenges some of the basic assumptions and beliefs of average Americans.
16 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Cross-purposes 19. April 2012
Von Stephen T. Hopkins - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If you're pretty smug about the ways in which you're green: recycling, locavore, hybrid, etc., be sure to avoid reading David Owen's book, The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse. Owen's basic premise is that we turn efficiencies into increased consumption and thereby make our problems worse. These usage changes don't lead to sustainability. The conundrum entails our inability, thus far, to commit to taking steps that would actually make a lasting difference on a global scale. According to Owen, we need to find ways globally to live smaller, closer to each other, and to drive less. Readers who enjoy gathering a broader perspective on issues are those most likely to enjoy this book.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Useful for promoting debate and discussion 3. Juni 2012
Von David Reid - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is a broad critique of environmentalism, in particular the idea that increased efficiency is a solution to environmental ills. Owen's argument is based around Jevons Paradox, which is described in the book as "Promoting energy efficiency without doing anything to constrain overall energy consumption will not cause overall energy consumption to fall." Owen gives examples such as how increased efficiency of cars simply leads to people driving further and also acts as an enabler of greater consumption.

Owen promotes the idea that residents of densely populated cities use less energy. This was the subject of another book he wrote, Green Metropolis (which I have not read). While there is certainly some truth to this argument it conveniently ignores how cities shift their demands for food production, waste disposal and other things elsewhere. This also highlights the weak point of this book -- it largely consists of the author asserting his opinions without engaging in detailed research. References and endnotes are conspicuously absent from the book.

Despite this weakness the book does challenge many of the key tenets of environmentalism. It is useful for encouraging much needed debate and discussion. There is still a large amount of truth in its arguments even if it lacks references.

(Originally published at David reads books.)
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