Best Energy And Sustainability Books
Best Books, Business & Money, Education, History, Natural History, Nature & Ecology, Nonfiction, Science & Nature

The Best Books About Energy And Sustainability

“What are the best books about Energy?” We looked at 181 of the top Energy-related books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 11 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Energy” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 150+ titles, as well as the lists we used, are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!

Top 11 Books About Energy

11 .) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make ThingsLists It Appears On:

  • Active Sustainability
  • Inc.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle,” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart point out in this provocative, visionary book, such an approach only perpetuates the one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model, dating to the Industrial Revolution, that creates such fantastic amounts of waste and pollution in the first place. Why not challenge the belief that human industry must damage the natural world? In fact, why not take nature itself as our model for making things? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we consider its abundance not wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective. Waste equals food. Guided by this principle, McDonough and Braungart explain how products can be designed from the outset so that, after their useful lives, they will provide nourishment for something new. They can be conceived as “biological nutrients” that will easily reenter the water or soil without depositing synthetic materials and toxins.

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10 .) Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties by Vaclav Smil

Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and UncertaintiesLists It Appears On:

  • CS Monitor
  • The Atlantic

An objective, comprehensive, and accessible examination of today’s most crucial problem: preserving the environment in the face of society’s insatiable demand for energy. In Energy at the Crossroads, Vaclav Smil considers the twenty-first century’s crucial question: how to reconcile the modern world’s unceasing demand for energy with the absolute necessity to preserve the integrity of the biosphere. With this book he offers a comprehensive, accessible guide to today’s complex energy issues–how to think clearly and logically about what is possible and what is desirable in our energy future. After a century of unprecedented production growth, technical innovation, and expanded consumption, the world faces a number of critical energy challenges arising from unequal resource distribution, changing demand patterns, and environmental limitations. The fundamental message of Energy at the Crossroads is that our dependence on fossil fuels must be reduced not because of any imminent resource shortages but because the widespread burning of oil, coal, and natural gas damages the biosphere and presents increasing economic and security problems as the world relies on more expensive supplies and Middle Eastern crude oil. Smil begins with an overview of the twentieth century’s long-term trends and achievements in energy production. He then discusses energy prices, the real cost of energy, and “energy linkages”–the effect energy issues have on the economy, on quality of life, on the environment, and in wartime. He discusses the pitfalls of forecasting, giving many examples of failed predictions and showing that unexpected events can disprove complex models. And he examines the pros and cons not only of fossil fuels but also of alternative fuels such as hydroenergy, biomass energy, wind power, and solar power. Finally, he considers the future, focusing on what really matters, what works, what is realistic, and which outcomes are most desirable.

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9 .) Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value and Build Competitive Advantage

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value and Build Competitive AdvantageLists It Appears On:

  • Active Sustainability
  • Inc.

“The essential guide for forward-thinking business leaders who see the Green Wave coming and want to profit from it
This book explores what every executive must know to manage the environmental challenges facing society and business. Based on the authors’ years of experience and hundreds of interviews with corporate leaders around the world, Green to Gold shows how companies generate lasting value, cutting costs, reducing risk, increasing revenues, and creating strong brands, by building environmental thinking into their business strategies. Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston provide clear how-to advice and concrete examples from companies like BP, Toyota, IKEA, GE, and Nike that are achieving both environmental and business success.”

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8 .) Handbook on the Politics of Antarctica

Handbook on the Politics of AntarcticaLists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • E-Elgar

The Antarctic and Southern Ocean are hotspots for contemporary endeavours to oversee ‘the last frontier’ of the Earth. The Handbook on the Politics of Antarctica offers a wide-ranging and comprehensive overview of the governance, geopolitics, international law, cultural studies and history of the region. Four thematic sections take readers from the earliest human encounters to contemporary resource exploitation and climate change. Written by leading experts, the Handbook brings together the very best interdisciplinary social science and humanities scholarship on the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.

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7 .) Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage – Revised and Updated Edition by Kenneth S. Deffeyes

Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage - Revised and Updated EditionLists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • The Atlantic

Geophysicist M. King Hubbert predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil production would reach its highest level in the early 1970s. Though roundly criticized by oil experts and economists, Hubbert’s prediction came true in 1970. In this revised and updated edition reflecting the latest information on the world supply of oil, Kenneth Deffeyes uses Hubbert’s methods to find that world oil production will peak in this decade–and there isn’t anything we can do to stop it. While long-term solutions exist in the form of conservation and alternative energy sources, they probably cannot–and almost certainly will not–be enacted in time to evade a short-term catastrophe.

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6 .) Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial RevolutionLists It Appears On:

  • Active Sustainability
  • Inc.

This groundbreaking book reveals how today’s global businesses can be both environmentally responsible and highly profitable.

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5 .) Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter PlanetLists It Appears On:

  • Climate Solution
  • Strom Report

Possibly the most graphic treatment of global warming that has yet been published, Six Degrees is what readers of Al Gore’s best-selling An Inconvenient Truth or Ross Gelbspan’s Boiling Point will turn to next. Written by the acclaimed author of High Tide, this highly relevant and compelling book uses accessible journalistic prose to distill what environmental scientists portend about the consequences of human pollution for the next hundred years.

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4 .) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The ClimateLists It Appears On:

  • Climate Solution
  • Strom Report

Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better. In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, exposes the myths that are clouding climate debate. You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. You have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it – it just requires breaking every rule in the ‘free-market’ playbook. You have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring. It’s about changing the world, before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe.

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3 .) Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice by Anne Korin

Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel ChoiceLists It Appears On:

  • Climate Solution
  • Goodreads

Throughout history the pursuit of strategic commodities has governed world affairs. Centuries ago salt enjoyed a monopoly over food preservation, and securing access to the white mineral shaped the great empires’ international behavior. Today, it is oil that monopolizes our transportation system giving those who control it inordinate power on the world stage. Breaking the oil cartel and oil’s monopoly over transportation fuel is the only way to bring about energy independence, insulate our economy against future oil shocks and win the war on radical Islam, argue two of America’s leading energy security advocates Gal Luft and Anne Korin in Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice.

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2 .) Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil

Energy and Civilization: A HistoryLists It Appears On:

  • Dexma
  • Five books
  • Goodreads

A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today’s fossil fuel-driven civilization. “I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next ‘Star Wars’ movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans’ ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. –Bill Gates, Gates Notes , Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows–ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity–for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today’s fossil fuel-driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts–from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity’s energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview.

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1 .) The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power by Daniel Yergin

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and PowerLists It Appears On:

  • Five books
  • Goodreads
  • The Atlantic

The Prize recounts the panoramic history of oil — and the struggle for wealth and power that has always surrounded oil. This struggle has shaken the world economy, dictated the outcome of wars, and transformed the destiny of men and nations. The Prize is as much a history of the twentieth century as of the oil industry itself. The canvas of history is enormous — from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania through two great world wars to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Operation Desert Storm.

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The 150+ Additional Energy And Sustainability Books


(Books Appear On 1 List Each)
A Guide to EU Renewable Energy Policy
13A Plague of PeopleJohn RobinsonGoodreads
14A Sand County AlmanacAldo Leopold,
15After Fukushima: What We Now KnowAndrew DanielsGoodreads
16After Oil: SF Visions of a Post-Petroleum WorldJohn Michael GreerGoodreads
17Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil FuelsRichard Heinberg
18Agenda 21 (1992)Wikipedia
19Aviation Law for Pilots
Book Depository
20Beautiful and Abundant
Active Sustainability
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
Active Sustainability
Blackout: Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis
CS Monitor
23Blood & Oil: A Prince’s Memoir of Iran, from the Shah to the AyatollahManucher FarmanfarmaianGoodreads
Brundtlandt Commission Report (1983)
Build Your Own Low-Budget Solar Power System
Best Solar Tech
26Burn Out: The Endgame for Fossil FuelsDieter HelmGoodreads
Business Lessons From a Radical Industrialist
Capacity Mechanisms in the EU Energy Market
Book Depository
29Carbon PricingE-Elgar
30Clean DisruptionDexma
Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal
CS Monitor
32Coal: A Human HistoryBarbara FreeseGoodreads
33Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush: The Best of The Archdruid ReportJohn Michael GreerGoodreads
34Consuming PowerDavid NyeThe Atlantic
Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)
36Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil PricesRobert McNallyGoodreads
Dispute Resolution in the Energy Sector
Book Depository
Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse
CS Monitor
Climate Solution
40Earth Summit (1992)Wikipedia
41Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in AgricultureDale Allen PfeifferGoodreads
Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics
Energy Democracy, Germany’s Energiewende to Renewables
Strom Report
44Energy Free: Homes for a Small PlanetAnn V. EdminsterElemental
45Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy DebateVaclav SmilGoodreads
46Energy Networks and the Law
Book Depository
47Energy Policy in America Since 1945Richard VietorThe Atlantic
Environmental Enforcement Networks
Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic
Environmental Taxation and Green Fiscal Reform
51Environmentalism: A Global HistoryRamachandra Guha
52Essential EU Climate LawE-Elgar
53Euratom at the Crossroads
Book Depository
54Europa im Erdölrausch: Die Folgen einer gefährlichen AbhängigkeitDaniele GanserGoodreads
European Energy Law and Policy
Book Depository
56Fire and Ice: Soot, Solidarity, and Survival on the Roof the WorldJonathan Mingle
57Flight Behavior
Climate Solution
58Fracking AmericaWalter M BraschGoodreads
59Gil Friend
Active Sustainability
60Handbook of Energy PoliticsE-Elgar
Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources
Handbook on Resilience of Socio-Technical Systems
Handbook on the Geographies of Energy
64Home Sweet Zero Energy Home: What It Takes to Develop Great Homes that Won’t Cost Anything to Heat, Cool or Light Up, Without Going Broke or CrazyBarry RehfeldElemental
65Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew AmericaThomas L. FriedmanGoodreads
66Houston, 2015: Miss UncertaintyMike McKayGoodreads
67How To Really Save Money And Energy In Cooling Your HomeGeorge S. BartonGoodreads
68I Rule WorldRuthz S.B.Goodreads
ICPD Programme of Action (1994)
Igniting Inspiration: A Persuasion Manual for Visionaries
Active Sustainability
Innovation and Disruption at the Grid’s Edge
Book Depository
Innovation in Energy Law and Technology
Book Depository
International Climate Change Law
Book Depository
International Energy Investment Law
Book Depository
75Joint Operating Agreements
Book Depository
Just Good Business: The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand
Active Sustainability
77Kellie McElhaney
Active Sustainability
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
79Life After Peak OilLife and LightGoodreads
80Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the EnvironmentSandra Steingraber,
81Long Term Contracts
Book Depository
82Merchants of Doubt
Climate Solution
83Mining and Energy Law
Book Depository
84Mining Law in Western Australia
Book Depository
85Musings of an Energy Nerd: Toward an Energy-Efficient HomeMartin HolladayElemental
86Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and NatureDavid Quammen
87NaturalistEdward O. Wilson
Navigating the Maze of Energy Efficiency Projects
89Nicht hungrig, nicht schläfrig/ Not hungry, Not sleepy!Ruthz S.B.Goodreads
90Night Fire: Big Oil, Poison Air, and Margie Richard’s Fight to Save Her TownRonnie GreeneGoodreads
91Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of ProgressJohn Michael GreerGoodreads
92Oil and Gas Decommissioning
Book Depository
93Oil!Upton SinclairGoodreads
94Oilfield Survival Guide, Volume One: For All Oilfield SituationsMatthew J. HatamiGoodreads
Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis
Active Sustainability
96Our Common Future (1987)Wikipedia
97Paying the Carbon PriceE-Elgar
98Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of DeclinesRichard HeinbergGoodreads
99PetroliaBrian BlackThe Atlantic
100Petropoly: The Collapse of America’s Energy Security ParadigmGal LuftGoodreads
Photovoltaic Design & Installation For Dummies
Best Solar Tech
102Plessy v. Ferguson
Book Depository
Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises
CS Monitor
104Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon WorldRichard HeinbergGoodreads
105PreludeKurt CobbGoodreads
106Privatizing Water
Book Depository
Protecting Forest and Marine Biodiversity
Reforming the Common Fisheries Policy
REN21: Renewables 2016 Global Status Report
Strom Report
Research Handbook on Emissions Trading
Research Handbook on International Energy Law
Book Depository
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
113Rising from the PlainsJohn McPhee
Risk Governance of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations
Book Depository
115Rooftop Revolution
Climate Solution
Shale Gas and the Future of Energy
117Shale Gas: The Promise and the PerilVikram RaoGoodreads
118Sharing the Water
Book Depository
Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
120Soft Energy PathsAmory LovinsThe Atlantic
121Solar Energy
Best Solar Tech
122Solar Energy Myths & Facts
Best Solar Tech
123Solar II
Best Solar Tech
124Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy IndustryTravis BradfordFive books
125SorryNihar MazumdarGoodreads
126Sorry Out of Gas: Architecture’s Response to the 1973 Oil CrisisCCAThe Atlantic
Sovereignty and Territorial Temptation
Book Depository
Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity
CS Monitor
Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto
Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution
CS Monitor
131Superfuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the FutureRichard MartinGoodreads
132Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot AirDavid J C MacKayFive books
Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World
134Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a ContinentAndrew NikiforukGoodreads
135Technology and Transformation in the American Electric Utility IndustryRichard HirshThe Atlantic
The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy,”
CS Monitor
137The Bulldozer in the CountrysideAdam RomeThe Atlantic
The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance
The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming
CS Monitor
140The Coal FaceTom DoigGoodreads
The Collapse of Western Civilization
Climate Solution
142The Discovery of Global WarmingSpencer WeartThe Atlantic
143The Doomsday Machine: The High Price of Nuclear Energy, the World’s Most Dangerous FuelMartin CohenGoodreads
The Encyclopaedia of Oil and Gas Law: Midstream and Downstream Volume 2
Book Depository
145The Energy-Smart HouseThe Editors of Fine HomebuildingElemental
146The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale RevolutionDaniel RaimiGoodreads
147The Great Acceleration:J.R. McNeill and Peter Engelke
148The Great Transition
Best Solar Tech
149The Green Market TransitionE-Elgar
150The Greenest Home: Superinsulated and Passive House DesignJulie Torres MoskovitzElemental
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future
152The HeirloomRichard DaviesGoodreads
The HIP Investor: Make Bigger Profits by Building a Better World
Active Sustainability
The Impact of Climate Change Mitigation on Indigenous and Forest Communities
Book Depository
The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet
Climate Solution
156The Law and Policy of BiofuelsE-Elgar
157The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First CenturyJames Howard KunstlerGoodreads
The Mekong: A Socio-legal Approach to River Basin Development
Book Depository
The New Entrants Problem in International Fisheries Law
Book Depository
161The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic CollapseRichard HeinbergGoodreads
162The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial SocietiesRichard HeinbergGoodreads
163The Planet RemadeOliver MortonFive books
164The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability CrisesRichard HeinbergGoodreads
165The Power of Zero: Learning from the World’s First Net Zero Energy BuildingsBrad LiljequistElemental
166The Price of Oil
Book Depository
167The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern WorldDaniel YerginGoodreads
The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win
169The Solar House: Passive Heating and CoolingDaniel ChirasElemental
The Switch: How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power For All
171The Truth About Green Business
Active Sustainability
172The Water KnifePaolo BacigalupiGoodreads
173Toward a Zero Energy Home: A Complete Guide to Energy Self-Sufficiency at HomeScott Gibson and David JohnstonElemental
UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm 1972)
UN Millennium Declaration (2000)
What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption
Whole Earth Discipline: An Eco­pragmatist Manifesto
CS Monitor
178Wind Energy Comes of AgePaul GipeThe Atlantic
179World Made by Hand (World Made by Hand #1)James Howard KunstlerGoodreads
180Wright on Time: Wyoming: Book 3Lisa M. Cottrell-BentleyGoodreads
181Хьюстон, 2030: Нулевой годMike McKayGoodreads

15 Best Renewable Energy Book Sources/Lists

Active Sustainability Top 10 books on sustainability | Sustainability for all
Best Solar Tech Best Solar Energy Books – Best Solar Tech
Book Depository Energy & Natural Resources Law Books | Book Depository
Climate Solution Our top ten reads on climate change and clean energy | Climate …
CS Monitor 10 “must-read” energy books –
Dexma The Energy Manager’s Reading List | DEXMA
E-Elgar Energy Policy and Regulation – Environment – Books
Elemental 9 Must-Read Net Zero Energy Home Books – Elemental.Green
Five books The Best Books on Energy Transitions | Five Books
Goodreads Best books about energy issues (49 books) – Goodreads
Inc. 10 Best Business Books on Environmental Sustainability |
Strom Report Top Books on Climate Change and Global Warming – Stromvergleich
Sustainability 9 Books that Will Change the Way You See the Environment | ILLINOIS
The Atlantic 13 Energy Books You Need to Read – The Atlantic
Wikipedia List of books about renewable energy – Wikipedia