Why This Global Warming Book is Different: A Review of Dire Predictions
More books on global warming have been published in the last couple of years than anyone in their right mind (or even, anyone in the field) would want to read. Many of them are very good: Australian biologist Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers tells the story from an evolutionist's point of view with great passion — and impeccable science.
But global warming — which many scientists prefer to call climate change, knowing that the warming will not be uniform around the planet, and its effects will not be predictable — is arguably a story best presented not in words but with data. Keeping that in mind, this year two eminent scientists from Pennsylvania State University, Michael Mann and Lee Kump, published a different kind of global warming book.
Working with the "information architects" at the innovative DK Publishing, they brought out Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (large file).
This could be described as a book written by two particularly thoughtful experts for National Geographic. Not only does the slim volume of 207 pages rely mostly on brilliantly executed visuals to get its ideas across, but the prose is simple and honest.
Let me give you an example that deals with a point often raised by those who question global warming. Skeptics often point out that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere do not always precede rising temperatures and ask: How can there be a cause and effect relationship between CO2 levels and global temperatures? Mann and Kump reply:
This kind of honesty makes the book trustworthy. The authors don't try to skew the data, but dig into the details. At the same time, they take a sane, no-nonsense approach particularly well-suited to educators, insisting we need to change, and not just to reduce energy consumption, but also to save life-giving resources, such as water. They call for "no-regrets" changes in dealing with water management, such as replenishing ground-water supplies, increasing storage capacity, and expanding rainwater storage — music to the ears of my pals at TreePeople.
Here's an example of a page from the book. Highly recommended.