MacKay, a Cambridge Physics prof, approaches the subject of carbon and sustainability with a scientific, numeric eye. First, in a section called “Numbers, not adjectives,” he looks at all the energy and carbon inputs and outputs in Britain and the rest of the world: this is how many kWh of energy are needed to power all of Britain’s vehicles. This is how many kWh you would get if you covered the entire British shore with windmills, or wave-farms. This is Britain’s geothermal potential. Here’s how much carbon vegetarianism offsets. Here’s how much carbon unplugging your idle appliances saves (0.25%, making the campaign to switch off energy vampires into a largely pointless exercise — as MacKay says, “If everyone does a little bit, we’ll get a little bit done”). This is the carbon-footprint of all of Britain’s imports, gadgets, office towers, and so on.

Without Hot Air — MacKay’s site for the book, including the whole book as a free download