Coming climate crisis? Consider the past, beware the big fix

Claire L. Parkinson

Book - 2010

Decisively cutting through the hyperbole on both sides of the debate, the author, a distinguished NASA climatologist brings much needed balance and perspective to the highly contentious issue of climate change. Offering a knowledgeable overview of global conditions past and present, she lays out a compelling argument that our understandings and models are inadequate for confident predictions of the intended and unintended consequences of various projects now under consideration to modify future... climate. .

Saved in:
This item has been withdrawn.

2nd Floor Show me where

All copies withdrawn
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 551.6/Parkinson Withdrawn
Why of where.
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield : Distributed by National Book Network c2010.
Physical Description
xix, 411 p. ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Claire L. Parkinson (-)
  • The Earth System and its Ever-Changing Nature : Introduction
  • 4.6 billion years of global change
  • Abrupt climate change
  • The Human Factor : A short history of human impacts
  • The future: why some people are so concerned while others aren't
  • Good Intentions and Geoengineering : Good intentions gone awry
  • Geoengineering schemes
  • The record on smaller-scale attempted modifications
  • Further Cautionary Considerations : The possible fallibility of even a strong consensus
  • The unknown future: model limitations
  • Compounding social pressures
  • Avoiding Paralysis Despite Uncertainty : What are the alternatives?
  • Closing plea.
Review by Choice Review

Purposeful modification of climate is not a new concept, but it has received renewed attention due to recent and anticipated global warming. In Coming Climate Crisis? Parkinson (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Earth from Above, CH, Jan'98, 35-2718) examines proposed environmental manipulation strategies for climate change mitigation. The book first addresses climate system behavior, focusing on long-term change and the relative roles of natural and human drivers, including an impressive treatment of uncertainty in the understanding of past, current, and future climate. Though Parkinson subscribes to the consensus view on climate change, she does not hesitate to identify instances in which knowledge is limited. This balanced overview of the climate system and its sensitivity is one of the strengths of this book. The remainder of the work focuses on historical weather modification and proposed geoengineering strategies, pointing out the unintended consequences of the former whenever possible. This historical perspective, and demonstration that the understanding of proposed techniques is imperfect, is used to support the author's cautious position on geoengineering. Instead, Parkinson calls for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and greater research into the possible side effects of proposed geoengineering approaches. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. J. Schoof Southern Illinois University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Climatologist Parkinson (Earth From Above), a senior fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, warns against "massive geoengineering schemes," currently under consideration by government and advocacy groups, meant to avert impending climate catastrophe, but which themselves may have disastrous unintended consequences. Looking at past examples-from Egypt's massive Aswan Dam, which has spread parasitic diseases and is eroding the fertile delta, to the addition of lead to internal combustion engines and paint-Parkinson worries that fixes under discussion today, like capturing and storing carbon waste or introducing sulfur into the stratosphere to reflect solar heat, may actually lead to problems "far worse than the damage that we are already causing." Instead, Parkinson recommends a moderate approach-limiting population growth; replacing fossil fuels with solar, nuclear, and wind power; changing consumption patterns-while more ambitious plans are carefully evaluated for safety and feasibility. She also raises the possibility that, despite present scientific consensus, predictions of impending catastrophe rest too heavily on climate models that are "far from perfect." This thoughtful treatment of a highly controversial subject merits careful attention from the powers that be, and those who wish to influence them. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Review

In this examination of the global warming debate, Parkinson, a NASA climatologist, notes that our planet's climate made many transitions, some abrupt, before civilization emerged, so that could happen again. Human activities are likely partly responsible for the present warming trend. The author points out that the "earth system" is extremely complex, still beyond our ability to model completely, so climate scientists can't make accurate predictions. Although there is a scientific consensus on global warming, it could be overturned by new evidence. Parkinson's main concern is that large-scale geoengineering projects will be tried with unknown consequences. An example would be fertilizing the Southern Ocean with iron to encourage phytoplankton growth and reduce carbon dioxide. She does laud many initiatives to reduce emissions and believes we should put a price on carbon, as well as reduce air travel. Verdict This measured approach will appeal to readers who sense alarmism on the topic. However, it seems to excuse us for not doing our utmost with proven emission-control methods. [For another viewpoint on geoengineering and climate change, see Jeff Goodell's How To Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest To Fix the Earth's Climate.-Ed.]-David R. Conn, Surrey P.L., BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.