An informative why-and-how book about preventing climate change by making the transition to clean energy.
The former governor of Colorado and founder and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, Ritter expands on the center’s “Powering Forward” plan sent to President Barack Obama outlining actions the executive branch could take to help the United States meet climate and energy goals. First, the author describes the actions he took as governor to make Colorado a leader in clean energy—actions that other states might learn from. In straightforward prose interspersed with bulleted lists and numerous charts, diagrams, maps, and tables, Ritter tells it like it is, showing what the challenges are, where we have failed, and why. When Congress created the Department of Energy in 1977, it required the development of a coherent national energy plan. Today, however, “our de facto national energy policy consists of a hodgepodge of government market interventions, many of them created for the benefit of influential special interests.” Ritter faults Congress for failing to lead, arguing about the science, and collaborating with a denial campaign. Still, the author notes, an energy revolution is already underway, with states setting clean energy standards, communities and individuals turning to wind and solar energy, corporations adopting greening tactics, and entrepreneurs developing new technologies. Ritter writes persuasively that while Congress seems paralyzed, the United States can and should lead the world, and he calls for a redistribution of political power back to the voters to ensure that this happens. Interestingly, for readers of Gary Sernovitz’s The Green and the Black (2016), Ritter sees natural gas as an important part of the energy mix for decades to come.
Ritter lacks the pizzazz of Sernovitz, who sees another kind of energy revolution taking place, but he presents arguments cleanly and forcefully.