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Saturday, April 04, 2009

What is significant Innovation, What to Innovate, Where to Innovate, How to Innovate_ Back to Basics

In the spirit of "don't keep a good thing to ones-self", I introduced readers of my other management dedicated blog series "This-Above-All"_Energy Autonomy, Renewable Energies in France to two new books "My Energy Executive Choices 2008-2009". My early post was more of a parenthesis than a post truly dedicated book review. The reference to these two books gave me the chance to make a very short but well focused summary, However it in no way does justice to the importance and excellence of both books and their authors.

My Energy Executive Choices 2008-2009

Two very good back-ground books to read and more so, to use.
1."Without Hot Air" by David J.C.MacKay free online or buy the print edition.
treats the basics of energy, demystifying confusion over units of measure and Energy Balance _ Production capacity (hard work and Jobs?) vs Consumption (Too easy for human and planetary good?)

2. C'est maintenant, 3 ans pour sauver le monde par Jean-Mark Jancovici et Alain Grandjean
[Now is the time - 3 years to save the world, by J-M Jancovici and A.Grandjean]
Energy and Economy policy for "Human Economy is essentially about how mankind transforms limited natural resources to make useful desirable products and services." quoted from the authors.

There are many points in common between the views of the authors of both books. Both aim to get to the essentials and these are entirely based on sound physical scientific principles. Not surprisingly, since the first author D. MacKay is a Professor in Physics at the famous Cavendish Laboratories Cambridge Univ and the 2nd book's joint authors, Jean-Marc Jancovici and Alain Grandjean are graduates of the France's foremost Engineering School, L'Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. J-M Jancovici is a leading energy and climate consultant and lecturer. Both UK's MacKay from UK and France's Jancovivi are Myth-Killers. Jancovici's website
"Manicore" much of which he translates to english, is a wealth of fairly simple "Myth Killing comparative calculations" to help fix one's ideas "orders of magnitude" and allow sensible, intelligent action. The similarities in MacKay and Jancovici's thinking and approaches are quite uncanny.("Great minds think alike"?) A. Grandejean whose work I am less familiar with, is an Economist and appears to be a no-nonsense, myth-killing economist.

Whereas David MacKay avoids as far as possible economics or cost-financial considerations, the two french authors not only take a strong stance on the physical aspects underlying the human (worth remembering) economy drawing from contemporary best selling author the erudite Professor Jared Diamond (recently cited in these blogs)[Link 1] [Link 2]. They also attempt to draw conclusions as to what energy-climate policies, politics ( and of course politicians) must inevitably address and master. They present their perception in a simple and clear manner that both politicians and the general public can understand. Both approaches whether explicitly (french authors) or implicitly (MacKay) consider the universal nature of energy as the fundamental unit, as all thermodynamics students (sciences and engineering) well know.

MacKay seeks to draw-up his energy accountancy (Production vs Consumption) in terms of KWs (KWh's and KWh's/day) whose usefulness in everyday life he explains in great length."

MacKay's catch quote is "Every BIG Helps" whereby he discards such mythology as "If we all do a little bit it will add-up to a lot":
"A lot of small improvements add up to an overall small improvement eg. 1.5% reduction in GHG/person gives an overall 1.5% improvement!
"A lot of "Bigs"" let's say 20% reduction in GHG emissions per person adds up to an overall big (20%) in a relatively short period to boot!
Such is the extent of gigantic effort required by leading scientists and experts such as UN's IPCC and most serious national scientific and engineering bodies world wide.

Jancovici and Grandjean are quote as follows:
"Human Economy is essentially about how mankind transforms limited natural resources to make useful desirable products and services." [Link]

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