Issue 13, December 2010 | David Hodgkinson

Donna Green and Liz Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs: Smarter Ways to Save Australians Time and Money, UWA Publishing, 2010. 

1. ‘How rapidly can we cut carbon emissions if civilisation is at stake?’ The climate change problem

In explaining the science of climate change, the Australian National University’s Professor Andrew Glikson – an earth and paleo-climate scientist and a graduate of the University of Western Australia – states that the recent history of the atmosphere, which includes human-induced global warming, may lead toward mass extinction of species: on a ‘business-as-usual scenario,’ continuation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ‘will result in global warming of 3°C over the 21st century, eliminating a majority (60%) of species on the planet.’[1] He queries whether the human species is leading the biosphere to its sixth mass extinction, a question which Elizabeth Kolbert, writing in the New Yorker, also asks.[2]

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finds that, absent policy action, also on a business-as-usual course, the median probability of surface warming is 5.2°C by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees, compared to a median projected increase in an earlier 2003 MIT study of just 2.4 degrees – that is, twice as severe.[3]

And while there is no international consensus on what levels of climate change might be defined as ‘dangerous,’ there is widespread support for containing the rise in global temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels (known as the ‘2°C guardrail’); parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have adopted this global warming limit, with some of the most vulnerable states – small island states, for example – calling for temperature targets as low as 1.5°C. Even with temperature rises of less than 2°C, however, impacts can be significant, and beyond 2°C, ‘the possibilities for adaptation of society and ecosystems rapidly decline ...’[4]

The urgency of all this is further reinforced by a study by Meinshausen and others which finds that GHG emissions must be cut by more than 50% by 2050 as against 1990 levels if the danger of exceeding 2°C is to be limited to 25%. Meinshausen has said that

[i]n principle, it is the sum of all CO2 that matters. In practice, substantial reductions in global emissions have to begin soon, before 2020. If we wait any longer, the required phase-out of carbon emissions will involve tremendous economic costs and technological challenges – miles beyond what can be considered politically feasible today. The longer we wait, the more likely our path will lead us into dangerous territory.[5]

For the Royal Society, sufficient climate change mitigation actions might well not be introduced in time:

It is likely that global warming will exceed 2°C this century unless global greenhouse gas emissions are cut by at least 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, and by more thereafter. There is no credible emissions scenario under which global mean temperature would peak and then start to decline by 2100. Unless future efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are much more successful then they have been so far, additional action may be required should it become necessary to cool the Earth this century.[6]

Such additional action according to the Royal Society might involve geoengineering – deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system ‘in order to moderate global warming.’[7] ‘Geoengineering’ in the form of techniques for extracting atmospheric CO2 has also been considered by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber who, in the course of reviewing an article by Ramanathan and Feng in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences[8] – in which they suggest that the earth is already committed to anthropogenic warming in the range of 1.4-4.3°C (where 2.4°C is the most likely amount) and that no conceivable international strategy can avoid largely unmanageable climate impacts – says that

[m]y conclusion is that we are still left with a fair chance to hold the 2°C line, yet the race between climate dynamics and climate policy will be a close one ... However, the quintessential challenges remain, namely bending down the global Kyoto-GHG output curve in the 2015–2020 window (further procrastination would render necessary reduction gradients too steep thereafter) and phasing out carbon dioxide emissions completely by 2100. This requires an industrial revolution for sustainability starting now.[9]

Finally, the importance of early (or shorter-term) reductions is made by Parry and his colleagues:

[W]e now have the knowledge to make a more informed choice regarding the optimal balance between mitigation and adaptation, and we know that immediate investment in adaptation will be essential to buffer the worst impacts. This does not mean that mitigation can be delayed, but quite the opposite: the longer we delay mitigation, the more likely it is that global change will exceed our capacity to adapt.[10]

As Gwynne Dyer asks, ‘how rapidly can we cut emissions if civilisation is at stake?’[11]

2. ‘To screw, or not to screw’?[12]

Screw Light Bulbs, by Donna Green and Liz Minchin – the book reviewed here – does deal with mitigation but not, alas, with adaptation. The authors talk about ‘solving’ climate change (but don’t address geoengineering) rather than addressing the climate change problem. It is one of a number of curious aspects about the book which, notwithstanding its good intentions, struggles to provide a consistent tone and approach, takes up some important climate-change related matters but not others (without any real explanation as to why), and fails to provide a framework for ‘Australians who want to know about solutions [my emphasis] that go beyond changing light bulbs.’[13] The back cover blurb states that the book is based on years of research. Yet, by way of conclusion, in a final chapter titled ‘To screw, or not to screw?,’ which really does focus almost entirely on light bulbs, it provides ten ‘tips for smarter solutions to tackle climate change’ across two pages[14] – which are also presumably the ‘smarter ways to save Australians time and money’ referred to in the book’s subtitle (but note the absence of any reference to climate change …). This conclusion belies the authors’ stated intention in their introduction to ‘look at what we really need to do to get serious about climate change.[15]

In my view the most interesting chapter is the first one which provides an overview of climate change issues at the international and national level and the only chapter which doesn’t deal with individual action.

Presumably with a view to making climate change more ‘accessible’, the authors pose distinctive questions: ‘Should we stop eating chocolate for the good of the planet?’ ‘How can anyone become a super hero?’ ‘How did Arnold Schwarzengger become a real action hero?’ ‘How did we all get air-conned?’ And so on. My own favourite is ‘Was Al Gore’s lunch really carbon neutral’ which heads a section detailing Al Gore’s 2007 visit to Sydney and provides details of, amongst other things, the food consumed. I was reminded of an altogether different book – Julian Cribb’s excellent The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It, in which he begins as follows with regard to a G8 (Group of Eight) meeting:

Digging into a mountain of caviar, sea urchin roe, succulent Kyoto beef, rare conger eels, truffles, and fine champagne, the leaders of the world’s richest and most powerful countries shook their heads over soaring grocery prices in the developed world and spreading hunger in Africa, India, and Asia. Over an eighteen-course banquet prepared for them by sixty chefs, the eight global potentates declared, “We are deeply concerned that the steep rise in global food prices coupled with availability problems in a number of developing countries is threatening global food security. The negative impacts of this recent trend could push millions more back into poverty.[16]

Another G8 dinner, the ‘Blessings of the Earth and the Sea Social Dinner,’ is subsequently described by Cribb in similar terms.[17]

In Screw Light Bulbs, two pages in total are devoted to reducing emissions from what we eat and to answering the question, ‘Who says less meat means less heat?’ By contrast, almost a quarter of the book (chapter 4) is devoted to traffic issues – or, rather, ‘how to stay on the move while driving down emissions.’[18] For potential purchasers of the book perhaps some indication of this content and its emphases would have been useful – or perhaps a traffic-related subtitle could have been included. In the traffic chapter readers are invited to imagine being invited onto a game show called “Who Wants To Be a Transport Millionaire” where some contestants are guaranteed to win a prize worth $750,000 (notwithstanding the disparity between the game show’s title and the reward on offer).

In the same chapter 2 – ‘Retail Therapy’ – as that which deals with food, the serious issue of credits for unborn babies is also discussed, and dismissed, quickly. It’s indicative of other parts of the book where interesting and important issues (and for a general readership) are given short shrift. In terms of ‘population credits’ (as it were), I recommend Paul Murtagh and Michael Schlax’s excellent 2009 article in Global Environmental Change, ‘Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals’.[19]

In chapter 2, before the discussion of unborn baby credits, the authors also suggest that it’s a good idea on occasion to ‘do an occasional wardrobe clear-out’ and, to ‘even end up with a better wardrobe for free … by taking part in a clothes-swapping party ...’[20]

Chapter 3 offers a useful survey of energy issues (useful but for nuclear issues). In their discussion of coal the authors make reference to ‘[l]ong-time US government adviser and chief climatologist at NASA,’[21] Dr James Hansen. Dr Hansen’s influence on the climate change debate, of course, has been immense, and his recent (and first!) book, Storms of My Grandchildren,[22] should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand the climate change problem.

While Green and Minchin conclude that ‘nuclear power is just not a practical or cost-efficient solution’,[23] Hansen disagrees. For him, the world needs

an urgent, substantial research and development program on fourth-generation nuclear power, so that we have at least one viable option in the likely event that efficiency and renewable cannot provide all needed energy … It is conceivable that next-generation nuclear power might begin to be broadly deployed in China or India as early as the 2020s … If you do not believe that such rapid development is feasible, you should read some of the stories about the Manhattan Project.[24]

Chapter 6, ‘Plan B,’ deals in just 13 pages with one of the most important climate change issues of all – putting a price on carbon. The authors clearly prefer a price-based mechanism (a tax) over a quantity-based mechanism (an emissions trading scheme) but, curiously, spend barely four pages discussing a carbon tax, with more or less the rest of the chapter devoted to emissions trading. I discuss below the virtues of a carbon tax and raise some issues which are not covered in chapter 6.

A final curiosity can be found in the book’s concluding chapter (the one devoted almost entirely to light bulbs). The authors refer to and rely on a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) on global electricity use for lighting. No mention is made, however, in the preceding chapter of an important IEA study on emissions trading which offers one of the most complete and readable analyses of emissions trading schemes both in terms of how they work in theory, their principles, and those in operation (or proposed) around the world at the EU, national and sub-national levels. I recommend the report – Reviewing Existing and Proposed Emissions Trading Schemes – unreservedly.[25]

The book does not come with an index, a curious omission given its desire to make information on climate change easy to get to and to understand. It also offers a slim bibliography which, while it contains some useful references, fails to include significant work accessible to the general reader.

3. Putting a price on carbon: A tax or an emissions trading scheme?

In Australia there has never really been a debate about climate change mitigation or, rather, the merits of particular policy instruments available to governments – price-based or quantity-based ones – to mitigate the effects of climate change.

A 2006 report from all of the Australian states on action to address climate change simply assumed an ETS without examining other options. And a 2007 report – this time from the Prime Minister’s taskforce – had as its main object the possible design of an ETS. That 2007 report proposed a cap-and-trade scheme to begin in 2011 (or 2012) and was accepted by Prime Minister Howard. And the Rudd Labor government, of course, planned to implement a national Australian emissions trading scheme, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), to begin (after some amendments to the legislation) on 1 July 2011. However, after being rejected twice by the federal parliament, the Commonwealth earlier this year adjourned debate on the ETS legislation for a number of months and eventually announced that it would not seek to reintroduce an ETS until 2012 or 2013 at the earliest.

Climate change mitigation involves reducing GHG emissions, reducing the rate and magnitude of global warming. Many of the impacts of climate change can be reduced or delayed by mitigation. The main economic requirement for effective mitigation is to put a price on carbon. At the moment people don’t – we don’t – pay for the current and future costs of our emissions. Thus, Lord Stern talks about a climate change ‘market failure.’

As one economist puts it,

we need to correct this market failure by ensuring that all people, everywhere, and for the indefinite future face a market price for the use of carbon that reflects the social costs of their activities. Economic participants [governments, firms, people] … need to face realistic prices for the use of carbon if their decisions about consumption, investment, and innovation are to be appropriate.[26]

The question is whether to rely on quantity-based or price-based instruments. A quantity-based instrument is an ETS, the most common example of which is a cap-and-trade system – the CPRS. A price-based instrument is a carbon tax. A tax sets a price on carbon, and emitters choose how much to emit; an ETS sets a total quota for emissions; emitters – the market – work out the price. The authors of Screw Light Bulbs (in chapter 6) clearly prefer a tax, but offer no real detail or analysis. Some of the points which they could have made I make here.

A carbon tax could begin at a relatively low level (so as to avoid disruption) and would increase steadily, and predictably, over time, providing incentives to affected corporations to lower emissions, and encouraging those corporations to use energy more efficiently – encouraging the move to lower emissions technology. And while there are a number of points at which to impose a carbon tax, there is some agreement that the most simple, efficient way is for it to be introduced as close to the source of the fuel as possible – that is, as far upstream in the energy supply chain as possible. One result of an upstream approach is that increased costs would be passed along by suppliers and would be borne, ultimately, by consumers; they would be passed into downstream prices of electricity, for example.

It is argued by those on both the left and the right that a carbon tax would provide government revenue which could then be used to reduce or offset other forms of taxation, primarily corporate and personal income taxes, thus making a carbon tax ‘revenue neutral.’ Revenue from a carbon tax could also be used to subsidise alternative fuel industries and projects.

In outline, claims which are made for the imposition of a carbon tax, both in isolation and as against an ETS, include the following, in no particular order:

  • Taxation is a proven instrument. Countries have used taxes for centuries, and their properties are well understood. For Yale University’s William Nordhaus, to whom I referred earlier, such advantages are even clearer when compared to the operation of an international ETS. As he says,

tax systems are mature and universally applied instruments of policy ... By contrast, there is no experience – as in zero – with international cap-and-trade systems ... [I]t would be ... perilous for the international community to rely on an untested system like international cap-and-trade to prevent dangerous climate change ... [27]

  • Taxes capture revenue more easily than quantitative instruments, and are less costly. Tax infrastructure is in place; pre-existing collection mechanisms exist. Taxation has lower administrative and compliance costs than does carbon trading.
  • Taxation is more direct and more transparent than emissions trading (so it’s said), and affords less opportunity for corruption; money moves from polluters directly to the government.
  • A carbon tax provides price certainty and stability (as opposed to permit price volatility) and a fixed price for carbon emissions across all economic sectors and markets.
  • Carbon price certainty which a tax provides allows corporations more easily to determine new, clean technology investment.
  • A carbon tax would provide revenue which could be used to cut, offset or remove other taxes.

Finally, the argument for carbon taxation is concisely made by Harvard economist Richard Cooper:

Decisions to consume goods and services made with fossil fuels are made by over a billion households and firms in the world. The best and indeed only way to reach all these decision makers is through the prices they must pay. If we are to reduce CO2-emitting activities, we must raise the prices of those activities. Levying a [tax] … does that directly.[28]

4. Adaptation

Again, mitigation involves reducing emissions. Climate change adaptation means coping with or adjusting to climate change. With mitigation, adaptation becomes easier (it should be noted that these are not alternatives). Notwithstanding that royalties from the sale of Screw Light Bulbs are donated to climate adaptation work in the Torres Strait (as stated on the book’s back cover), Green and Minchin are generally not concerned about adaptation. It’s a shame because, like the focus of the book under review, adaptation is about individuals and taking climate change action, and it’s hard not to talk about both. As Michael Mastrandrea and the late, great Stephen Schneider note in their slim 2010 volume, Preparing for Climate Change,

[a]longside mitigation … we also need policies focused on adaptation, on making sensible adjustments to the unavoidable changes that we now face. And we must coordinate adaptation with mitigation as the success of each will depend on the other. Today’s efforts to reduce emissions will, in due course, determine the severity of climate change, and thus the degree of adaptation required – or even possible – in the future.[29]

For Mastrandrea and Schneider, mitigation is not enough to address the climate change problem; mitigation and adaptation must be complementary and concurrent. ‘[W]hat cannot be prevented through mitigation must be adapted to; what we cannot cope with by adaptation, we must prevent.’[30] And adaptation involves many of the actions Green and Minchin describe, including infrastructure investment and energy planning.

In a themed issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, to be published in 2011, it is argued that achieving a limit of 2°C global warming above pre-industrial levels may be impossible, ‘raising the likelihood of global temperature rises of 3°C or 4°C within this century’ (this issue was raised in the introduction to this review). And

across many sectors —coastal cities, agriculture, water stress, ecosystems, migration—the impacts and adaptation challenges at 4°C will be larger than at 2°C. In some cases … a +4°C warming could result in the collapse of systems or require transformational adaptation out of systems, as we understand them today. The potential severity of impacts and the behavioural, institutional, societal and economic challenges involved in coping with these impacts argue for renewed efforts to reduce emissions, using all available mechanisms, to minimize the chances of high-end climate change … and how best to adapt to what would be unprecedented changes in the world we live in.[31]

The papers in the 2011 issue ‘add urgency to the need to swiftly curb emissions, and on the other, they suggest the importance of research and investment in adaptation’.[32]

5. Sustainability: ‘The practicalities are daunting’

James Gustave Speth, the Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University asks this question: How to balance economic growth with sustainability? For him, one measure of the problem is this:

[A]ll we have to do [he says] to destroy the planet’s climate ... and leave a ruined world to our children and grandchildren is to keep doing exactly what we are doing today, with no growth in the human population or the world economy. Just continue to release greenhouse gases at current rates ... and the world in the latter part of this century won’t be fit to live in. But, of course, human activities are not holding at current levels - they are accelerating, dramatically ... At current rates of growth, the world economy will double in size in a mere fourteen years.[33]

How, then, to reconcile – in Australia (and the world) - expectations of economic growth with a desire for a sustainable future, if at all? This question, it seems to me, goes to the core of the matter of any sustainable future. Sustainability should also go to the core of Green and Minchin’s book, but I look in vain for any discussion of it, or what a sustainable Australia might look like. One must look elsewhere – and there are some good places to look.

In Eaarth, Bill McKibben (founder of asks if we can imagine smaller, if we can adjust to the fact that we’re not going to get bigger. He talks about ‘maintenance, graceful decline, hunkering down’ and says we need to think not about ‘continents and vast nations’ but about states, towns, neighbourhoods and blocks.[34] He talks about ‘a different kind of civilization.’[35] So too, in a way, does Oxford’s Paul Collier in The Plundered Planet, when he refers to the need to ‘compose common rules for an era in which nature is valuable … [i]f people recognize a common responsibility for the custody of the natural world then governments will have to deliver it,’ he says.[36] Tim Jackson in Prosperity without Growth writes about sustainability and prosperity in terms of ‘our ability to flourish as human beings … within the ecological limits of a finite planet.’[37] And Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, to whom I referred earlier, calls for ‘an industrial revolution for sustainability starting now.’[38]

Screw Light Bulbs is rife with anecdotes and statistics – ‘the amount of electricity going to waste each year through inefficient lighting was more than all the electricity produced by all the world’s 440 nuclear power plants’, for example[39] – such that I feel able to cite from a statistic-laden profile of the engineer Saul Griffith in a recent issue the New Yorker magazine.[40] David Owen, the author, wrote that Griffith has estimated that the human race

currently consumes energy at an average rate of approximately sixteen trillion watts, or sixteen terawatts — the equivalent of a hundred and sixty billion hundred-watt light bulbs burning all the time. Capping greenhouse gas at a level that climatologists hope may be consistent with a global temperature increase of only two degrees Celsius would necessitate replacing all but three of those sixteen terawatts with energy generated from a combination of the most promising renewable and non-carbon-based sources: photovoltaics, solar, thermal, wind, biofuels, geothermal, and nuclear fission. And doing that, Griffith said, would require building the equivalent of all the following: a hundred square metres of new solar cells, fifty square metres of new solar-thermal reflectors, and one Olympic swimming pool’s volume of genetically engineered algae (for biofuels) every second for the next twenty-five years; one three-hundred-foot-diameter wind turbine every five minutes; one hundred-megawatt geothermal-powered steam turbine every eight hours; and one three-gigawatt nuclear power plant every week. Such a construction program … is at least theoretically achievable, but the practicalities are daunting …[41]

The author of the New Yorker profile writes of Griffith’s focus ‘on ways in which affluent societies can make dramatic reductions in energy use without reducing their perceived quality of life,’ a challenge, says Owen, ‘that involves wrestling with human nature as well as physics.’[42]

It’s a challenge – a sustainability challenge – which Green and Minchin don’t take up.

6. ‘Why aren’t people freaking out?’: The last little palm sapling

At the end of Screw Light Bulbs, the authors propose 10 tips for smarter individual solutions to tackle climate change (which again, presumably, are their ‘smarter ways to save Australian time and money’) but evince no real sense of the urgency of the climate problem as set out in the introduction to this review or of the importance of both mitigation and adaptation. Their tips are:

  1. Boost business leadership
  2. Do something super[43]
  3. Choose quality over quantity
  4. Weigh up what you eat
  5. Protect yourself from rising bills
  6. Demand higher standards
  7. Beware of the VAMPIRE[44]
  8. Make your vote count
  9. Support an effective carbon price[45]
  10. Help direct the news.[46]

Jim Hansen wrote Storms of My Grandchildren, to which reference was made earlier, in part to get individuals (and especially young people) involved in addressing the climate change problem and to fight for strong action on climate change. Hansen refers to this fight as ‘the most urgent … of our lives.’ And while it is perhaps unfair to compare Screw Light Bulbs with Hansen’s book, one never gets the sense from Green and Minchin that civilisation is at stake or even that an urgent fight has to be waged. One does get a pretty good idea of smarter ways to save time and money. Maybe that’s enough. But if we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction … maybe not.


I referred to ‘dangerous climate change’ at the outset of this review, and I also refer to it now by way of conclusion because of this question which an editor of the Los Angeles Times newspaper asked Harvard psychologist Professor Daniel Gilbert: ‘If global warming is the devastating threat that Al Gore says it is, then why aren’t people freaking out about it?’[47]

Professor Gilbert’s response was that there are a number of answers to the question. Global warming

doesn't violate our moral sensibilities. It doesn't cause our blood to boil (at least not figuratively) because it doesn't force us to entertain thoughts that we find indecent ... or repulsive ... Although all human societies have moral rules about food and sex, none has a moral rule about atmospheric chemistry. And so we are outraged about every breach of protocol except Kyoto.[48]

Also, Professor Gilbert wrote, ‘we see [global warming] … as a threat to our futures — not our afternoons.’[49]

Jared Diamond in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed asks this question:

‘What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say as he was doing it?’ We unconsciously imagine a sudden change: one year, the island still covered with a forest of tall palm trees being used to produce wine, fruit, and timber to transport and erect statues; the next year, just a single tree left, which an islander proceeds to fell in an act of incredibly self-damaging stupidity. Much more likely, though, the changes in forest cover from year to year would have been almost undetectable … [and g]radually, Easter Island’s trees became fewer, smaller, and less important … No one would have noticed the falling of the last little palm sapling.[50]

Professor Gilbert’s final reason as to ‘why we just can't seem to get worked up about global warming’ mirrors Diamond’s question:

[t]he human brain is exquisitely sensitive to changes in light, sound, temperature, pressure … and just about everything else. But if the rate of change is slow enough, the change will go undetected ... Because we barely notice changes that happen gradually, we accept gradual changes that we would reject if they happened abruptly...[51]

Many of us worry, as Daniel Gilbert does, that climate change is happening so fast but, on Professor Gilbert’s view, ‘it isn't happening fast enough.’[52]

David Hodgkinson is Special Counsel with Australian law firm Clayton Utz and Associate Professor, Law School, The University of Western Australia; co-author of Global Climate Change: Australian Law and Policy, LexisNexis, 2008, and general editor of Climate Change Law and Policy in Australia, LexisNexis, 2009 (online).

[1] Andrew Glikson, ‘The Science of Climate Change,’ in Hodgkinson (ed), Climate Change Law and Policy in Australia, LexisNexis, 2009.

[2] ‘It is now generally agreed among biologists that another mass extinction is under way. Though it’s difficult to put a precise figure on the losses, it is estimated that, if current trends continue, by the end of this century as many as half of earth’s species will be gone ... In the end, the most deadly aspect of human activity may simply be the pace of it. Just in the past century, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have changed by as much – a hundred parts per million – as they normally do in a hundred-thousand-year glacial cycle. Meanwhile, the drop in ocean pH levels that has occurred over the past fifty years may well exceed anything that happened in the seas during the previous fifty million:’ Elizabeth Kolbert, ‘The Sixth Extinction?,’ The New Yorker, 25 May 2009, pp 54 and 63.

5 Sokolov et al, ‘Probabilistic Forecast for 21st Century Climate Based on Uncertainties in Emissions (Without Policy) and Climate Parameters,’ Journal of Climate, vol 22, no 19, October 2009, pp 5175-5204, at

[4] International Association of Research Universities (IARU), Synthesis Report: Climate Change Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions, University of Copenhagen, 2009, p 12.

[5] ‘On the way to phasing out emissions: More than 50% reductions needed by 2050 to respect 2°C climate target,’ 30 April 2009, at

[6] The Royal Society, Geoengineering the climate: science, governance and uncertainty, the Royal Society, September 2009, p ix.

[7] Ibid.

[8] V Ramanathan and Y Feng, ‘On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: Formidable challenges ahead,’ PNAS, vol 105, no 38, 23 September 2008, pp 14245-14250.

[9] Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, ‘Global warming: Stop worrying, start panicking?,’ PNAS, vol 105, no 38, 23 September 2008, p 14240.

[10] M Parry et al, ‘Squaring up to reality,’ Nature Reports, vol 2, June 2008, pp 69-70; emphasis added.

[11] Gwynne Dyer, Climate Wars, 2008, p 131.

[12] This is the title of Screw Light Bulbs’ concluding chapter.

[13] Green and Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs, UWA Publishing, 2010, back cover.

[14] Ibid, pp 184-186.

[15] Ibid, p vii.

[16] Julian Cribb, The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It, CSIRO Publishing, 2010, p 1.

[17] Ibid, p 2.

[18] Green and Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs, UWA Publishing, 2010, p 87.

[19] Paul A Murtagh and Michael G Schlax, ‘Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals,’ Global Environmental Change 19 (2009), pp 14-20.

[20] Green and Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs, UWA Publishing, 2010, p 27.

[21] Ibid, p 77.

[22] James Hansen, Storms of My Grandchildren, Bloomsbury USA, 2009.

[23] Green and Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs, UWA Publishing, 2010, p 83.

[24] James Hansen, Storms of My Grandchildren, Bloomsbury USA, 2009, p 204.

[25] International Energy Agency (IEA), Reviewing Existing and Proposed Emissions Trading Systems, IEA, 2010. It is possible that the book under review may have been published before the report was released.

[26] William Nordhaus, ‘Economic Issues in a Designing a Global Agreement on Global Warming,’ Keynote Address Prepared for Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges, and Decisions Copenhagen, Denmark March 10-12, 2009, p 3, at

[27] Ibid, p 8.

[28] R N Cooper, ‘The Case for Charges on Greenhouse Gas Emissions,’ Discussion Paper 08-10, Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, October 2008, p 5.

[29] Michael Mastrandrea and Stephen Schneider, Preparing for Climate Change, MIT Press, 2010, p 14.

[30] Ibid, p 63.

[31] M New et al, ‘Introduction’, in ‘Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications,’ Phil Trans R Soc A 2011 369, p 6.

[32] Ibid, p 16.

[33] James Gustave Speth, The Bridge at the End of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability, Yale University Press, 2008, p x.

[34] Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, Times Books, 2010, p 124.

[35] Ibid, p 125.

[36] Paul Collier, The Plundered Planet, Oxford University Press, 2010, p 243.

[37] Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Earthscan, 2009, p 16.

[38] Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, ‘Global warming: Stop worrying, start panicking?,’ PNAS, vol 105, no 38, 23 September 2008, p 14240.

[39] Green and Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs, UWA Publishing, 2010, p 176.

[40] David Owen, ‘Annals of Design: The Inventor’s Dilemma,’ The New Yorker, 17 May, 2010, p 42.

[41] Ibid, p 50.

[42] Ibid.

[43] ‘Super’ meaning superannuation.

[44] The Vulnerability Assessment for Mortgage, Petroleum, and Inflation Risks and Expenditure.

[45] Which is, for the authors, a carbon tax.

[46] Green and Minchin, Screw Light Bulbs, UWA Publishing, 2010, pp 184-186.

[48] Daniel Gilbert, ‘If only gay sex caused global warming,’ Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2006.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking, 2005, p 426.

[51] Daniel Gilbert, ‘If only gay sex caused global warming,’ Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2006.

[52] Ibid.