Business

Al Gore's new book 'Our Choice' — a review by John Doerr

[John Doerr is a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He submitted this review to VentureBeat. Al Gore was named a partner at Kleiner Perkins two years ago. Both will be speaking at GreenBeat, our conference on the smart grid on Nov.19]

Al Gore’s new book – Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis – is the perfect and powerful sequel to An Inconvenient Truth.

It is wonderfully accessible and pragmatic. Its 18 chapters, lavishly illustrated, are a comprehensive menu of choices which is at once expansive and credible. Gore clearly conveys the scope of solutions to the climate crisis, solutions which are promising, practical and potent. His solutions, taken together, can meet the climate challenge, with speed and at scale.

I’m particularly struck by Gore’s tone in Our Choice: he is sober and thoughtful and opinionated but not pedantic.

our choiceThe book is not another superficial, how-to “101 Ways to Go Green,” or an encyclopedic compendium of mind-numbing minutiae. Rather, Our Choice is a survey at just the right level of detail. It is a good guide with a clear view of both the forest and the trees. It covers our sources of energy, how we use it, and the obstacles we must overcome. An important highlight is Gore’s discussion of living systems: our forests, soil, and population, which is missing in most writing about climate crisis.

Gore’s work comes at a crucial moment in time. The U.S. is vigorously debating climate legislation. Policy makers and parents, students and teachers, entrepreneurs and scientists are all energized. For example, fully one-third of the faculty at MIT wants to work on clean energy technologies. Our Choice will tempt and magnify those passions. It is a manual and manifesto for change. It comes on the road to Copenhagen, but its best use is the path beyond.

OK, I’ll admit that I’m a huge fan of Al Gore’s. But not withstanding our friendship, this remarkable work IS the real thing. It is the product of countless hours of research and interviews, reading and listening, writing and rewriting, debate and critical thinking.

My daughter said with anger “Dad, your generation created this problem. You’d better fix it.” Our Choice is the Field Guide to fixing the climate crisis, a set of solutions worthy of your consideration.

Read this book. If you must, burn (and sequester) the others. And recycle the rest!

When mankind confronts and conquers the climate crisis it will be because one man made Our Choice clear.


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