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National Geographic Magazine Publishes Special Energy Issue


Newsstand-Only Issue, ’Energy for Tomorrow: Repowering the Planet,’
Presents Clear-Eyed Insight into Energy Challenges and Potential Solutions to Energy Security

Interviews Include Q&A with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in Which He Advocates Move Toward Nuclear Reactors in Place of Coal-Fired Power Plants

WASHINGTON - National Geographic magazine, long committed to in-depth coverage of the environment, is publishing an essential primer focusing on the current energy landscape and what it might look like in the future. The newsstand-only special issue, Energy for Tomorrow: Repowering the Planet, goes on sale around the country Tuesday, March 31.

Experts predict that world consumption of energy will increase by an astounding 50 percent by 2030. How can we meet this need without harming the planet? What alternative energy resources might we be able to tap into — and which ones make sense? In tackling these pressing questions, the special issue also sheds light on energy challenges we face today, the role of energy in our lives, the actual cost of power and the possible paths to the future.

Under the direction of National Geographic magazine’s senior environmental editing team of Dennis Dimick and Tim Appenzeller, the 96-page special issue explores the challenges of breaking America’s addiction to fossil fuels like coal and oil and investigates different ways we can harness renewable energy sources and become more responsible and efficient energy consumers. “Our country is at a crossroads in the journey towards energy security,” says Dimick. “National Geographic’s goal is to present well-researched data about the choices: the pros, the cons, the cost and the potential, so we can make our next critical move with the facts in hand.”

In addition to meticulous research and reporting on topics such as the reality of clean coal, energy conservation and renewable energy sources, the issue also features interviews with thought leaders, industry executives and government officials. President Obama’s new Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, speaks about the imperative for a large-scale commitment to technological change on the level seen during World War II, as well as why nuclear power might be preferable to coal. Energy industry executive Jim Rogers discusses making the transition to a low-carbon world. Colorado senator Mark Udall, a stanch advocate for renewable energy, presents another case for nuclear power, and energy expert Amory Lovins shares his thoughts on energy efficiency as key to improving the quality of life and strengthening our national security.

In an opening essay, Bill McKibben, author of “Deep Economy” and “The End of Nature,” takes a close look at the problem of global warming and examines why we must reduce the vast amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year. “Global warming is not a problem for the future; it’s a crisis for the moment,” he writes. In order to limit CO2 to a level the planet can handle (its 98.6 degrees, so to speak), McKibben reports that we need to stop burning coal anywhere on the planet by 2030. And unless fundamental shifts are under way in the next three years, climate change could take on an irrevocable life of its own.

Energy for Tomorrow drills down to explore how we use energy at home, in agriculture and in transportation. National Geographic reports that raising livestock for meat contributes 18 percent of global CO2 emissions — more than transportation and manufacturing combined — and, until last year, California used more natural gas than China.

The issue presents adaptations we can make in our current energy production and consumption, including the feasibility of developing and deploying clean coal technology, and the possibility of building a national “smart power grid” that matches energy supply to demand and allows home energy producers to sell their excess energy to the utility. Solutions to fossil fuel dependence, including carbon offsets and alternative biofuels derived from native switchgrass and algae, are explained.

Looking towards the future, the issue spotlights the need to find new ways of harnessing great untapped energy sources through giant solar towers, advanced photovoltaic cells, wind turbines, even the limitless power of nuclear fusion.

The special issue also includes energy-related charts, graphs and figures as well as a pullout poster illustrating “The Carbon You Keep” and “World Energy Flow.” Shell is the exclusive advertiser for the issue, which is also being published in Russia, Germany, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina.

Energy for Tomorrow costs $10.99 and will be available on newsstands until Monday, June 22, 2009. It can be ordered online at More information about the issue can be found March 31 at


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