Is the frequency of extreme weather events a sign that global warming is gaining pace and exceeding predictions?
Bill Patzert, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says the evidence that extreme weather events have been more frequent in recent years is definitely to the contrary. "The United States has always had extreme weather. We look back on our weather history. It's been punishing: floods, droughts tornadoes, hurricanes, great forest fires. Is global warming happening? No doubt about it. We're living in a warmer world, we're living in a melting world, sea levels are rising. (http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators)
"Now, direct evidence of the footprint or the fingerprint of global warming: we're seeing more frequent, more intense, and longer lasting heat waves. As far as hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, and drought, the evidence is definitely not in. The consensus among almost all scientists is that it's a small fingerprint, not a large footprint.
"But what is true is that in this country, in the United States, we live in many areas with great risk to drought, to tornadoes, to hurricanes, and so part of the dialogue is not only extreme weather and global warming, but is the amount of risk we can tolerate. Now looking to the future, global change, global warming - it definitely is accelerating and it will have an impact on extreme weather, but at this point, not much."
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"The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon."—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, “500-year” storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually.
This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.
In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today.
Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation.
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These experts take scientific findings about climate change and global warming and use analogies, striking images, and understandable graphics to make the global warming question clear to both skeptics and scientists. Dire Predictions shows the evidence and the causes that respected scientists have documented in IPCC findings and climate change studies — this powerful, illustrated book is updated with the latest IPCC information and is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding global warming and climate change and in joining the debate over the best way to combat global warming.
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ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
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A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
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In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.
In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.
Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.
Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.