Unsettled What climate science tells us, what it doesn't, and why it matters

Steven E. Koonin

Book - 2021

The author points out that core questions about the way the climate is responding to our influence and what the impacts will be remain largely unanswered. He provides insights and perspective free from political agendas, dispels popular myths, and unveils little-known truths. He points out that the models we use to predict the future aren't able to accurately describe the climate of the past, suggesting they are deeply flawed.

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Subjects
Genres
Informational works
Published
Dallas, TX : BenBella Books, Inc [2021]
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 306 pages : black and white illustrations, maps, charts ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 259-283) and index.
ISBN
9781950665792
1950665798
Main Author
Steven E. Koonin (author)
  • Introduction. (Part I: The science): What we know about warming
  • Humble human influences
  • Emissions explained and extrapolated
  • Many muddled models
  • Hyping the heat
  • Tempest terrors
  • Precipitation perils, from floods to fires
  • Sea level scares
  • Apocalypses that ain't
  • Who broke "the science" and why
  • Fixing the broken science. (Part II: The response): The chimera of carbon-free
  • Could the US catch the chimera?
  • Plans B. Closing thoughts
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
  • About the author.
Review by Publisher Summary 1

One of America’s most distinguished scientists offers non-political insights and perspectives on the Earth’s changing climate, dispelling common myths and revealing little-known truths that include a decrease in global temperatures from 1940 to 1970. 40,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

From Steven Koonin, a leader in US science policy and former science advisor for the Obama administration, Unsettled is an up-close, apolitical exploration of the many misconceptions and shortcomings in the mainstream presentation of climate science—which is far less black-and-white than many people realize.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

***Wall Street Journal Bestseller***

“Surging sea levels are inundating the coasts.”

“Hurricanes and tornadoes are becoming fiercer and more frequent.”

“Climate change will be an economic disaster.”

You’ve heard all this presented as fact. But according to science,  all of these statements are profoundly misleading.

When it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that “the science is settled.” In reality, the long game of telephone from research to reports to the popular media is corrupted by misunderstanding and misinformation. Core questions—about the way the climate is responding to our influence, and what the impacts will be—remain largely unanswered. The climate is changing, but the why and how aren’t as clear as you’ve probably been led to believe. 

Now, one of America’s most distinguished scientists is clearing away the fog to explain what science really says (and doesn’t say) about our changing climate. In Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters, Steven Koonin draws upon his decades of experience—including as a top science advisor to the Obama administration—to provide up-to-date insights and expert perspective free from political agendas. 

Fascinating, clear-headed, and full of surprises, this book gives readers the tools to both understand the climate issue and be savvier consumers of science media in general. Koonin takes readers behind the headlines to the more nuanced science itself, showing us where it comes from and guiding us through the implications of the evidence. He dispels popular myths and unveils little-known truths: despite a dramatic rise in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures actually decreased from 1940 to 1970. What’s more, the models we use to predict the future aren’t able to accurately describe the climate of the past, suggesting they are deeply flawed. 

Koonin also tackles society’s response to a changing climate, using data-driven analysis to explain why many proposed “solutions” would be ineffective, and discussing how alternatives like adaptation and, if necessary, geoengineering will ensure humanity continues to prosper. Unsettled is a reality check buoyed by hope, offering the truth about climate science that you aren’t getting elsewhere—what we know, what we don’t, and what it all means for our future.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER2022 IPPY AWARDS GOLD MEDALIST - SCIENCE2021 WORLD MAGAZINE ACCESSIBLE SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR - HONORABLE MENTION"Unsettled is a remarkable book—probably the best book on climate change for the intelligent layperson—that achieves the feat of conveying complex information clearly and in depth." —Claremont Review of Books“[Unsettled] is no polemic. It’s a plea for understanding how scientists extract clarity from complexity.” — Wall Street Journal"Surging sea levels are inundating the coasts." "Hurricanes and tornadoes are becoming fiercer and more frequent." "Climate change will be an economic disaster." You've heard all this presented as fact. But according to science, all of these statements are profoundly misleading. When it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that "the science is settled." In reality, the long game of telephone from research to reports to the popular media is corrupted by misunderstanding and misinformation. Core questions—about the way the climate is responding to our influence, and what the impacts will be—remain largely unanswered. The climate is changing, but the why and how aren't as clear as you've probably been led to believe.  Now, one of America's most distinguished scientists is clearing away the fog to explain what science really says (and doesn't say) about our changing climate. In Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters, Steven Koonin draws upon his decades of experience—including as a top science advisor to the Obama administration—to provide up-to-date insights and expert perspective free from political agendas.  Fascinating, clear-headed, and full of surprises, this book gives readers the tools to both understand the climate issue and be savvier consumers of science media in general. Koonin takes readers behind the headlines to the more nuanced science itself, showing us where it comes from and guiding us through the implications of the evidence. He dispels popular myths and unveils little-known truths: despite a dramatic rise in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures actually decreased from 1940 to 1970. What's more, the models we use to predict the future aren't able to accurately describe the climate of the past, suggesting they are deeply flawed.  Koonin also tackles society's response to a changing climate, using data-driven analysis to explain why many proposed "solutions" would be ineffective, and discussing how alternatives like adaptation and, if necessary, geoengineering will ensure humanity continues to prosper. Unsettled is a reality check buoyed by hope, offering the truth about climate science that you aren't getting elsewhere—what we know, what we don't, and what it all means for our future.