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Synopsis

In The Colours of Energy – Essays on the Future of Energy in Society, leading energy thinkers explore the future of energy in society. In 36 provoking and inspiring essays, they question established truths and chart possible paths towards a more sustainable future. They share their insights on how to provide energy to an increasingly affluent and growing world population within the boundaries of our planet. 

The 55 authors are thought leaders in industry, government and academia. Their thinking covers the full range of the issues related to energy transitions. Subjects are as varied as geopolitics, mobility, biomass, geologic climate records, nuclear energy and the ethics of oil recovery.

Jorgen Randers (Club of Rome) draws lessons from his seminal The Limits to Growth. Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute) paints energy efficiency as a disruptive technology. Jeremy Bentham (Shell’s scenario group) analyses how global carbon emissions may be reduced to a net zero. The book also contains a previously unpublished essay by James Lovelock (‘Gaia hypothesis’), written in 1966 about the year 2000.

Some essays focus on specific countries, which show how challenges and approaches differ from place to place. They analyse, for example, how Germany may cope with its excess of renewable power and how China could become the next world leader of green energy. 

Energy transitions offer a great deal of opportunities, but immense challenges at the same time, with few easy answers. These challenges merit an informed debate. This is the reason why Shell initiated this book and is publishing it for free. The book was edited by Gert Jan Kramer (Shell, Leiden University) and Bram Vermeer (science writer). It has a foreword by Ben van Beurden (CEO of Shell) and a preface by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (Co-President of the Club of Rome). 

Written in accessible non-technical language, The colours of energy is an essential read for anyone interested in the world of energy and energy transitions. ‘It is a true venture to debate the future on the basis of what the best energy experts in the world have come up with’ (Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker).

Disclaimer: The views expressed in The colours of energy – Essays on the future of energy in society are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Royal Dutch Shell plc nor any of its subsidiaries (Shell).

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