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The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success
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Book description

Sometimes solving climate change seems impossibly complex, and it is hard to know what changes we all can and should make to help. This book offers hope. Drawing on the latest research, Mark Jaccard shows us how to recognize the absolutely essential actions (decarbonizing electricity and transport) and policies (regulations that phase out coal plants and gasoline vehicles, carbon tariffs). Rather than feeling paralyzed and pursuing ineffective efforts, we can all make a few key changes in our lifestyles to reduce emissions, to contribute to the urgently needed affordable energy transition in developed and developing countries. More importantly, Jaccard shows how to distinguish climate-sincere from insincere politicians and increase the chance of electing and sustaining these leaders in power. In combining the personal and the political, The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success offers a clear and simple strategic path to solving the greatest problem of our times. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


‘Mark Jaccard gives us very direct, practical steps to make a real difference in the climate crisis – both in our daily lives and with our political powers. This is a potent, smart book that draws on Mark's decades of leadership on climate change, economics, and politics. A crucial read to learn what actions will effectively transform our world from climate crisis to a bright livable future.'

Gregor Robertson - Mayor of Vancouver (2008–2018), and Global Ambassador for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

‘… compulsory reading for armchair theorists.'

Pilita Clark Source: Financial Times

‘A gem. Jaccard welds an activist's passion to a bullshit detector honed by decades of practical experience in the muck of energy policy. Mark has forged a uniquely personal voice out of decades of academic work tempered by hard-won experience in the energy-climate wars. It's smart and relevant yet also fun – finding time to explore the carbon footprint of our sex lives. A bucket of ice water to the face after too many soporific climate books. An impassioned yet dispassionate call to action.'

David Keith - Harvard University, and author of A Case for Climate Engineering

‘Mark Jaccard draws on three decades of extensive expertise and experience from the forefront of academic, national, and international energy policy to dismantle the common myths and skewer the sacred cows that hold us back from the clean energy transition. He doesn't shy away from discussing the difficult, thorny issues of justice and equality, the dirty politics behind policies, and the risks of putting all our eggs in one basket, whether it's nuclear power or carbon pricing. If you've ever wondered what it will take to fix climate change, this book offers the facts, the analysis, and, ultimately, the clarity we need to understand fully the challenges that confront us and the solutions that will lead us to a better future.'

Katharine Hayhoe - climate scientist, Texas Tech University

‘Besides taking an axe to the clichés that dominate the current climate change debate, Mark Jaccard tackles head-on the challenge of creating climate change policies that can achieve sustained political support. This is the book to read if you want a realistic, attainable, and sustainable climate change agenda. It's also a master class in teaching about climate science.'

Michael Ignatieff - President, Central European University

‘Mark Jaccard's new book is essential reading for the concerned citizen. Some of the described 'myths' were deliberate lies, but, armed with this deeply thoughtful book, bringing science and human bias and political foibles together, the engaged voter can find the path to meaningful climate action.'

Elizabeth May - Canadian Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party of Canada

‘At a time when all too many have given up hope in the battle to avert catastrophic climate change, Mark Jaccard's important new book The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success provides a roadmap for success. Jaccard details a viable strategy for citizens working together, placing collective pressure on politicians, to adopt policies that will lead to rapid decarbonization of our economy and the avoidance of truly dangerous planetary warming.'

Michael E. Mann - Director, Penn State Earth System Science Center, and co-author of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy

‘If you're looking for a book that cuts through the contention and cant surrounding our climate crisis, this is the place to start. Renowned economist Mark Jaccard identifies and demolishes ten common myths about climate change and humanity's transition to a low-carbon future. Then he shows what steps we should take, as individuals and societies, to address this critical problem effectively. Fearless in challenging received wisdom, and bold in his prescriptions, Jaccard speaks with a clear, brilliantly informed voice about the greatest challenge of our time.'

Thomas Homer-Dixon - University of Waterloo, and author of The Ingenuity Gap

‘I cannot think of another book that covers this ground. Mark Jaccard has done a huge service, helping to lay out the vexed ground of climate information, disinformation, and conflicting conclusions. In doing so, he helps pave the way for a meaningful conversation on effective solutions to the climate crisis. This is a must-read and must-teach book.'

Naomi Oreskes - Harvard University, and author of Why Trust Science?

‘There could not be a more timely guide to taking effective climate action.'

Tim Flannery - author of The Weather Makers

'This is a most useful primer on climate change and its consequences for the slow-learners amongst us … the particular virtue of the present book - that which makes it so valuable - is that it is not just one more off-putting advocacy-driven screed. This is no lawyer’s brief, devoted to clever arguments drawing solely on the evidence on one side. Rather, it is the dispassionate work of a scientist.'

G. T. Dempsey Source: Geography Realm

‘A refreshingly peppy writer … Jaccard is persuasive.’

Pilita Clark Source: Financial Times

‘The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success is an excellent easy-to-read and politically balanced book (with one foot in the moderate camp). It also serves as an important fact-checking resource. And, as for relevancy and timeliness, it’s indispensable as a solid source. Don’t leave home without it.’

Robert Hunziker Source:

‘… he backs his conclusions up with the latest science and delivers a book worth reading and discussing …’

John R. Platt Source: The Revelator

‘The title of Jaccard’s latest, The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success, is reassuringly upbeat (success!) and promises practicality (a guide!) for readers …'

John Geddes Source: Maclean’s

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Full book PDF
  • The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success
    pp i-i
  • Advance Praise for The Citizen’s Guide To Climate Success
    pp ii-iv
  • The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success - Title page
    pp v-v
  • Overcoming Myths That Hinder Progress
  • Copyright page
    pp vi-vi
  • Dedication
    pp vii-viii
  • Contents
    pp ix-ix
  • Figures
    pp x-xiii
  • Acknowledgments
    pp xiv-xiv
  • Chapter 1 - The Role of Myths in Our Climate-Energy Challenge
    pp 1-28
  • Chapter 2 - The Art of Deluding Ourselves and Others
    pp 29-38
  • Chapter 3 - Climate Scientists Are Conspirators
    pp 39-57
  • Chapter 4 - All Countries Will Agree on Climate Fairness
    pp 58-75
  • Chapter 5 - This Fossil Fuel Project Is Essential
    pp 76-94
  • Chapter 6 - We Must Price Carbon Emissions
    pp 95-127
  • Chapter 7 - Peak Oil Will Get Us First Anyway
    pp 128-143
  • Chapter 8 - We Must Change Our Behavior
    pp 144-164
  • Chapter 9 - We Can Be Carbon Neutral
    pp 165-182
  • Chapter 10 - Energy Efficiency Is Profitable
    pp 183-199
  • Chapter 11 - Renewables Have Won
    pp 200-223
  • Chapter 12 - We Must Abolish Capitalism
    pp 224-238
  • Chapter 13 - The Simple Path to Success with Our Climate-Energy Challenge
    pp 239-265
  • Notes
    pp 266-276
  • Bibliography
    pp 277-285
  • Index
    pp 286-292


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