A tremendously valuable book that everyone interested in climate change should read. And we all should be interested in climate change.
by a former assistant secretary of energy, with a PhD in physics and
decades of science communication expertise, the book, subtitled "What
Everyone Needs to Know," covers major facets of climate change in seven
major sections. Each section is broken into the questions that most
For example, section 1 is on Climate Science Basics. It
includes questions like: "What is the greenhouse effect and how does it
warm the Earth?" and "Why are scientists so certain the climate system
is warming?" These and other questions (like Where does most of the
human-caused warming go?) become the focal point for detailed answers
explaining the state-of-the-science.
This same format is used for
each of the other sections encompassing: Extreme Weather and Climate
Change; Projected Climate Impacts; Avoiding the Worst Impacts; Climate
Politics and Policies; The Role of Clean Energy; and Climate Change and
The coverage of impacts and policy options in addition to
the science makes this book highly useful. Is nuclear power part of the
answer? How about "carbon capture and storage?" Bioenergy? Electric
cars? Hydrogen cars? What contributions, impacts, and solutions are
there in the agricultural and livestock sector? How about
The last section - Climate Change and You -
helps bring the ramifications of climate change back home. What impacts,
now and in the future, can your family expect? What can you do as
individuals to reduce your carbon footprint? How might this affect your
And "Do we still have time to preserve a livable climate?"
table of contents lists each of the questions (roughly 12 to 20+ per
section) so that readers can go directly to the discussion of the
questions most important to them. This makes the book an excellent
future resource as well as a comprehensive survey of the science and the
options for dealing with that science.
As might be expected,
the book is dense with factual information. This is both a blessing
(well documented facts abound) and a burden (it is not a quick read). My
recommendation is that everyone who wants to know about climate change
(or who professes to "know" in Facebook comments) reads this book
thoroughly, then keep a copy on your desk for reference. The questions
likely any question that may be asked by friends, family, or on online
Read it, and keep it handy.