New Earthscan Books

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This month’s highlights

‘Scarcity has powerful meanings and uses. Lyla Mehta follows the political career of scarcity in the modern world and, in turn, makes us look at the shape of that world in a new light.’
Frank Trentmann, author of Free Trade Nation and Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London

The Limits to Scarcity looks at how scarcity has emerged as a totalizing discourse and questions its taken-for-granted nature. Chapters examine scarcity debates across three of the most important resources – food, water and energy – and their implications for theory, institutional arrangements, policy responses and innovation systems. The authors demonstrate that scarcity is not a natural condition: the problem lies in how we see scarcity and the ways in which it is socially generated.

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‘Whoever really cares for the future of mankind’s food should read this book. Crop wild relatives are essential for attaining a sustainable agriculture.’ Professor Jose Sarukhan, Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are plant species which are more or less closely related to crops. Providing a pool of genetic variation that can be used in breeding new and better adapted varieties of crops that are resistant to stress, disease, drought and other factors, they will be increasingly important in allowing crops to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Crop Wild Relatives presents new research into good practices and conditions for their effective conservation with case studies from around the world.

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‘Relevant, reliable, rigorous, robust… This is a very significant book indeed – it ought to have a major impact.’ – Professor Andy Gouldson, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

The United Kingdom is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, while at the same time there are anxieties about the security of energy provision. Energy 2050 explores in detail the factors which could help or hinder the attainment of these targets, and how these factors interact with the parallel objective of maintaining a robust and secure energy system. The results and recommendations are essential reading for policymakers, professionals, researchers, and anyone concerned with achieving large-scale reductions in carbon emissions, both from the UK and internationally.

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‘Anyone who cares about environmental policy must read this book.’ Richard D. Morgenstern, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future

The “Precautionary Principle” has sparked the central controversy over European and U.S. risk regulation. The Reality of Precaution is the most comprehensive study to go beyond precaution as an abstract principle and test its reality in practice. This groundbreaking resource combines detailed case studies of a wide array of risks with broad quantitative analysis and cross-cutting chapters on politics, law, and perceptions. The authors rebut the rhetoric of conflicting European and American approaches to risk, and show that the reality has been the selective application of precaution to particular risks on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as a constructive exchange of policy ideas. The book offers a new view of precaution, regulatory reform, comparative analysis, and transatlantic relations.

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Also new this month

Earthcasts: live interactive web events
Sustainability Education & Training

Join us on January 27th for a free webinar on Sustainability Education & Training (5pm GMT). The authors of Sustainability Education, Engineering Education for Sustainable Development and The Sustainable Self will present innovative strategies for embedding sustainability in curricula and professional development – and guidelines for personal transformations in your sustainability teaching.

Thursday 27th January 2010
17:00 (UK time – GMT), 12:00 (EDT), 9:00 (PDT).

Click here to register

For more information, and to sign up for future events, visit:


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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