28 March 2022

Supercharge Me

Net Zero Faster

Eric Lonergan and Corinne Sawers
2022, Agenda Publishing,
ISBN 9781788215190

Reviewer: Gregory Smith

Reading on global warming can be scary, depressing and often technical. This book reads differently because it maintains a positive tone, while being realistic and relentlessly practical with the ideas it presents.

Up front the authors acknowledge literature that describes the climate emergency along with various attempts to list solutions. But they are left asking: “where is the manifesto which shows us how to do it?”. The extent of the climate emergency is just summarised, with no time wasted with lengthy diagnosis chapters that you may have read elsewhere. The ‘how to do it’ is the focus of the book with solutions pitched alongside commentary on how behaviours might change at the individual, national and global levels. The authors are clear with their view that: “We need to shift social norms. Otherwise we are wasting our time”.

The book is written in conversation style between Corinne Sawers and Eric Lonergan, as was Eric’s previous book Angrynomics. This might not be to everyone’s taste but I like the style (although I would not want most books I read to be written like this). Corinne provides the expertise on climate knowledge and how behavioural change happens while Eric brings in a wealth of insight from finance and economics.
This is not a technical book. The authors make many references to Bill Gates’ 2021 book ‘How to avoid a Climate Disaster’. And reference is also made to Nick Stern’s 2015 climate book ‘Why are we Waiting?’, albeit only in a footnote. ‘Supercharge Me’ in my opinion is best read after these two books, or with that same knowledge from somewhere else. The book conjures up new jargon – not only ‘Supercharging’ that is about actions not targets but also EPICs (extreme positive incentives for change) and ‘mini-Musks’ (entrepreneurs). These help keep the authors focused on the incentives and required actions. After many informative but depressing reads on climate change, I really did need this ‘supercharge’.