Book Reviews on Climate Change - August 2007

by Alan Winlow

Our scientific understanding of climate change is sufficiently sound to make us highly confident that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming.”
The above quotation is taken from a statement made by the Royal Society Climate Change Advisory Group in April 2007. See

Climate change is a systems issue. For millions of years Nature has deposited vast amounts of carbon in the repository of the Earth’s crust. Within the last two centuries humankind has utilised this resource and released immense quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientific research shows that there is a close relationship between the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperatures. Put simply higher levels of carbon dioxide lead to higher temperatures. For generations the atmosphere has been regarded as a “free dumping ground” but the true cost of the one-way system is only now becoming apparent.

Three books that provide insight into the issues relating to climate change are:

The Rough Guide to Climate Change (2006)
This gives a complete picture of the single biggest issue facing our planet. It lays out the facts and assesses the options – global and personal – for dealing with the threat of a warming world. The guide includes lifestyle advice for those who want to make a difference in tomorrow’s climate and comes complete with a glossary of websites for further information.

Heat by George Monbiot
George makes the case for a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. He explains how it can be done without losing our comfort and security. Combining his knowledge of campaigning and environmental science, he shows how we can transform our homes, our power and our transport systems. But he also shows that this can only be done with a massive programme of action, which no government has yet been prepared to make.

How to live a low-carbon life by Chris Goodall
In the West we are each responsible for emissions of carbon dioxide well in excess of the levels that the Earth can handle. This book is a comprehensive, one-stop guide to calculating individual carbon emissions, laying out clear plans to show how easy it is to take responsibility and reduce these emissions. For those people who want a hands-on guide on how make a difference in all aspects of modern life, from transport to home heating to where our food comes from, this is the book for you.

J A Winlow