Our top ten reads on climate change and clean energy

Do you want to squeeze in one more book in the waning days of summer?

Do you want to get more informed about climate change but don’t know where to start?

Are you looking for a gift for someone who has it all?

If any of these apply to you, Climate Solutions offers our top picks among climate change and clean energy books. Enjoy and pass on!


Power Trip: The Story of America's Love Affair with Energy by Amanda Little

Ride along with Amanda Little on a cross-country road trip adventure to understand America’s energy crisis and emerging climate solutions – kind of like “Heart of Darkness” meets “On the Road” for clean energy enthusiasts.

Recommended by Owen Atkins, Grants Manager


The Infinite Resource:  The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet by Ramez Naam 

This book touches on climate as part of a larger set of challenges facing humanity, but provides an optimistic narrative about how our creative intellect can overcome our most immediate one—the climate crisis.  

Recommended by James Dailey, Board Member

Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

A few years back, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway saw a troubling similarity between the tobacco war of the 80s and 90s and the current climate change fight. They discovered a cadre of highly intelligent, distinguished, but also extremely conservative scientists behind both efforts, backed by an industry-financed public relations effort to sow doubt, undermine the truth, and slow the public’s response to emerging scientific truths. Read this book (or see the movie) to learn how the fossil fuel industry plays the game, and get motivated to deny the deniers their day and win the most important battle for sound science in all of history.

Recommended by Marc Daudon, Board President


Eaarth by Bill McKibben

In this truth-telling and eloquent book, McKibben describes how global warming has already transformed our planet into Eaarth, like Earth, but fundamentally different. In addition to ensuring that it doesn’t get any warmer than the couple of degrees that are already baked in, he explains how we must also adapt to Eaarth by reimagining and localizing our systems – energy, food, economic – and shares hopeful and compelling stories of communities already making this transition.

Recommended by Jenna Garmon, Research Analyst


This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

Klein starts from a twist: conservatives are right about climate in a sense. Stepping all the way up to the climate challenge DOES mean ambitious collective action; more public investment in solutions (as well as good climate policy that drives private investment in the right direction); greater commitment to social and economic equity; and curbs on corporate power. That’s why opposing climate action has become an ideological litmus test for the right. Will progressives now embrace the climate challenge, for precisely those reasons?

Recommended by KC Golden, Senior Policy Advisor


Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

This book spoke to my Appalachian farm-girl roots. In this work of fiction, 28-year-old Dellarobia Turnbow discovers how 15 million monarch butterflies come to roost on her family farm in Tennessee—an off-course move from the insects’ typical wintering spot in Mexico, due to climate change. The plight of the butterflies is real, but Kingsolver’s work of fiction is a sweet escape into the world of an Appalachian sheep farmer facing the reality of a changing world.

Recommended by Carrie Hearne, Oregon Business Partnerships Manager


Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice by Anne Korin, Gaul Luft

I read this book when it first came out six years ago and I had just started at Climate Solutions. It’s a quick read and a fascinating book that describes how we can make oil as irrelevant a commodity in our lifetimes as salt became in ancient days.

Recommended by Eileen V. Quigley, Director of Strategic Innovation


Rooftop Revolution by Danny Kennedy

In what is arguably one of the most compelling calls-to-action of our time, Kennedy describes the ascent of solar energy and its amazing potential to create jobs, clean the air, and power our future. As Kennedy explains, solar already out-competes fossil fuels in both cost and reliability. To transition fully to this clean energy resource, we need a rooftop revolution to break the entrenched power of fossil fuels interests. Pick up the book and discover how you can be part of the revolution.

Recommended by Kristen Sheeran, Oregon Director


Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas 

My top pick because it really pays attention to feedbacks and how we can’t afford to be even a little bit pregnant about warming the earth.

Recommended by Daniel Weise, Board Treasurer


The Collapse of Western Civilization by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

I loved this book, an imagined account of how a Chinese historian in 2393 would view our mishandling of the climate predicament. By stepping out of the present day, it holds up a mirror to the unnecessary obstacles that we have thrown up in front of our ability to solve this problem. 

Recommended by Seth Zuckerman, Senior Writer/Research Analyst


Author Bio

Jenna is a former staff member at Climate Solutions, where she provided the Strategic Innovation team with research on and analysis of the pathways to a low carbon future. She also coordinated Climate Solutions' Knowledge Management.

Jenna’s career spans 18 years in the environmental field, with extensive experience leading collaborative efforts, as well as creating and advocating for public policy. She hails from California and received her BA in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on Natural Resources Management from UC Santa Barbara in 1994. After working as a land use policy planner for Santa Barbara County and as the Community Affairs Director for the Environmental Defense Center in CA, Jenna headed north to the University of Oregon, where she attained an MS in Environmental Studies & Graduate Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management in 2006. After graduate school, she directed stewardship and outreach activities for an Oregon watershed council, and worked to advance sustainable building practices for the City of Eugene, where she developed and managed the City's Green Building Incentive Program.

When not working, she likes to play outside, listen to live music, and explore new places.

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