Climate change What it means for us, our children, and our grandchildren

Joseph F. DiMento, Pamela Doughman

Book - 2007

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Series
American and comparative environmental policy
Subjects
Published
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press c2007.
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 217 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780262541930
0262541939
9780262042413
026204241X
Other Authors
Joseph F. DiMento (-), Pamela Doughman
Review by Booklist Reviews

As revealed in Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, many interest groups are involved in the debate over climate change—groups with sometimes overlapping, and frequently diverging, concerns. This book seeks to introduce readers to "the science, politics, and policies of climate change" by taking this complex phenomenon "from the laboratory to the living room." In language understandable to the layperson, the authors begin with a "primer" on the earth's climate system—a balancing act involving the atmosphere, oceans, ice masses, land surface, and the biosphere—and explain how global climate change can impact individual nations. DiMento and Doughman move on to the science of why these changes are occurring, including discussion of greenhouse gases and aerosols and their effect on melting glaciers. They stress the need for the free flow of information and an avoidance of ungrounded scare tactics, and look to the challenges that will face the next generation. A lucid argument for the importance of small, individual steps in the effort to combat global warming, as well as global policy changes. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

If the end must justify the means (as Hans Carvel first stated in 1700), climate change provides accessible and understandable scientific evidence to influence public opinion and encourage appropriate action by policy makers. Despite the almost universal scientific evidence that human activity is largely responsible for global warming, the US public remains cautious in regard to control measures. In response, several chapters demonstrate somewhat overzealous and at times erroneous impatience toward some dissenting climate scientists; e.g., it is difficult to believe that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported in 2001 that water frozen into great expanses of reflective surfaces can greatly increase warming from greenhouse gases, although the Academy's conclusion that water vapor can increase warming by a factor of 1.6 is believable. Any student of chemistry will object to the statement that implies that methane is a halocarbon. A coordinated effort to identify all opponents as contrarians may ultimately prove counterproductive. This book attempts to clearly draw the battle lines related to global warming, but societal, economic, and political questions continue to cloud the outcome of this critical issue. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels. Copyright 2008 American Library Association.

Review by Choice Reviews

This is a thoroughly readable book, but it presents nothing new; there are no new insights or revelations.  The eight-chapter work begins with a cursory introduction to climate change—what it is, and how it works.  The chapters that follow mention the host of global climate change meetings, including brief summaries of what was communicated at the meetings (noting that governments are doing precious little except talk), how the media talks about climate change and how that has changed over time, and probable impacts and who will be impacted most.  The most interesting part is the discussion of changes in how the media covers climate change, but this is relegated to a single chapter.  The societal impacts are briefly glossed over.  This updated edition is more than 100 pages longer than its predecessor (CH, Mar'08, 45-3846).  Overall, it is exceptionally clearly written in plain language, and it explains well the fact that there is much discussion about climate change, but little action is being taken.  Thus, the audience and the takeaway message are unclear. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and lower-division undergraduates. --B. Ransom, University of California, San Diego Barbara Ransom University of California, San Diego http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/CHOICE.185256 Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Explains what science knows about climate change, how it will affect us, its impact on different areas, and what we can do about it.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Explains what science knows about climate change, how it will affect us, its impact on different areas, and what we can do about it.Most of us are familiar with the terms climate change and global warming, but not too many of us understand the science behind them. We don't really understand how climate change will affect us, and for that reason we might not consider it as pressing a concern as, say, housing prices or the quality of local education. This book explains the scientific knowledge about global climate change clearly and concisely in engaging, nontechnical language, describes how it will affect all of us, and suggests how government, business, and citizens can take action against it. If people don't quite understand the seriousness of climate change, it is partly because politicians and the media have misrepresented the scientific community's strong consensus on it—politicians by selectively parsing the words of mainstream scientists, and the media by presenting “balanced” accounts that give the views of a small number of contrarians equal weight with empirically supported scientific findings. The science is complex, couched in the technical language of sinks, forcing, and albedo, and invokes probabilities, risks, ranges, and uncertainties. Policy discussions use such unfamiliar terms as no regrets policy, clean development mechanism, and greenhouse-gas intensity. Climate Change explains the nuts and bolts of climate and the greenhouse effect and describes their interaction. It discusses the nature of consensus in science, and the consensus on climate change in particular. It describes both public- and private-sector responses, considers how to improve the way scientific findings are communicated, and evaluates the real risks both to vulnerable developing countries and to particular areas of the United States. We can better tackle climate change, this book shows us, if we understand it. We can use this knowledge to guide our own behavior and pressure governments and businesses to take action.