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Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future Hardcover – September 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465019269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465019267
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kahn (Green Cities) takes a sanguine look at how cities will fare under climate change. He admits that global warming could be catastrophic, but "a small cadre of forward-looking entrepreneurs will be ready to get rich selling the next generation of products that will help us all to adapt" and that "the story will have a happy ending." Analyses of global cities yield such scattershot observations as that by helping people rebuild in disaster-prone areas such as flood zones, governments "actually put more people at risk;" that "due to its recent economic development, China will be spared horrible outcomes faced by other developing nations;" and that globalization will protect us against local agricultural failures (and if crops fail everywhere, entrepreneurs will have incentives to provide dried fruit instead of fresh). On how the urban poor will cope with climate change, Kahn shrugs his shoulders writing, "the truth is that this group has always faced hardship…the question is, how much worse will their quality of life be?" In comparison with the abundance of thoughtful and astute books predicting life under climate change, this one is remarkably shallow.
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From Booklist

As the scientific consensus continues to grow about Earth’s dramatically rising temperatures, the media’s vision of global warming’s likely catastrophic effects on mankind has become increasingly gloomy. Kahn, a UCLA environmental economics professor, doesn’t question most climatologists’ dire predictions, but argues here that mankind is resilient enough to adapt and even thrive despite the coming geographic disruptions. Kahn’s main focus is on urban areas where he anticipates that forward-looking entrepreneurs will take advantage of crisis-driven opportunities to offer innovative goods and services. Kahn begins by looking at historical examples of cities that bounced back from war and natural disasters, and moves on to analyze “green” cities and water usage economics as a windup to forecasting how specific cities like L.A. and New York might adjust to scorching temperatures or flooding. Kahn makes several assumptions that will no doubt anger environmentalists, including the notion that globalization will compensate for widespread agricultural failures. Yet compared to the global warming worst-case scenarios offered by Hollywood, his optimistic emphasis on humanity’s ingenuity and adaptability is refreshing. --Carl Hays

More About the Author

Matthew E. Kahn is a Professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, the Department of Public Policy, the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Law. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the IZA. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. Before joining the UCLA faculty in January 2007, he taught at Columbia and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He has served as a Visiting Professor at Harvard and Stanford University and the National University of Singapore. He is the author of Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press 2006) and the co-author of Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War (Princeton University Press 2008). He is the author of Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter World (Basic Books 2010). His research areas include; environmental, urban, energy and real estate economics.

Customer Reviews

The book is both eye- opening and well- written.
JoeInLA
I'd give this book as a gift to ANY aspiring Environmental Scientist / Engineer / Activist student or professional.
Coco
A short-sighted book that neglects the myriad of complex problems that contribute to climate change.
Will Hallock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Adam on August 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As an energy economics grad student, I picked up this book because the description held the promise that it would dovetail nicely with my own research interests, and I thought the book's author Matthew Kahn, a UCLA economics professor, might provide a thoughtful and informative look at a subject that has received less attention than it deserves from both academics and journalists.

There might be a good, if extremely short, book on climate change adaptation buried somewhere between these pages. Finding it though, amid the numerous non sequiturs, annoying digressions, unsupported criticisms, and bizarre conclusions proves a daunting task. Kahn's writing style is distracting, filled with poor attempts at self-deprecating humor and continual incitements to ridicule of opposing positions after criticizing them incompletely, at best. There is also a remarkable lack of specificity in the book, a paucity of citations for claims or conclusions that should have them (and a glut of Wikipedia references for tangents and trivialities), and many of the conclusions based on legitimate research are misapplied (research on short-term local exogenous shocks is unabashedly applied to global climate change).

I suppose Kahn needs to be congratulated for at least acknowledging climate change, even though he seems to think it's something that will work itself out given time so long as government doesn't get involved, a statement he makes ad nauseum while carefully foregoing much evidence for his position. Empirical data is apparently reserved for behavioral economists who he constantly derides without explanation, a recurring theme as most of his policy critiques, many of which I agree with, receive cursory treatment and a premature dismissal.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JoeInLA on January 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am surprised there are so few reviews - and one so blatantly off-the-'mark, that I wanted to offer my take:

I heard Professor Kahn speak in November 2010, and raced out to buy his book. His writing style is as engaging as his speaking. I was also amazed to note that his PhD education is the product of two Nobel Laureates - from the University of Chicago. These guys are not known as liberal, Keynesian economists.

What the reader enjoys is a truly balanced, realistic approach to our most pressing climate challenges: 1) it is already started, 2) the US is unlikely to take any painful steps now, (our defining trait!), so 3) any solutions will be brought forth by the market.

When I first saw this book published, I thought it was going to be some climate-change denial book. Now that I have read it, I know Kahn brings NO agenda - he does illustrate the opportunity climate change brings to all: some will thrive in the new environment and some will be forced to change: cities, nations and people.

The book is both eye- opening and well- written. Kahn writes the book in a way that is accessible for businesspeople like myself as well as engaging for those without economics background.
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Format: Hardcover
I'd give this book as a gift to ANY aspiring Environmental Scientist / Engineer / Activist student or professional. Its very vivid and great book that serves as a great introductory piece to anyone's climate change collection.

I don't have much time to write a review, but in short if you want evidence of climate change, go buy another book. The evidence is out there, and fully FULLY demonstrated to be actually occurring. Please don't deny the science. You can find the details in any other book or educational read about climate change. There have been plenty.

Now those who are aware what is about to happen... and know the science and math behind it... This book gives both an epic and very real depiction on the subject matter. Definitely a book to keep on the coffee table.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting, yet disappointing read as the book stays too impersonal and aloof. It also ends quite abruptly, as my Kindle said it was only 75% complete - hense lots of endnotes ate up a huge amount of space.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
CLIMATOPOLIS: HOW OUR CITIES WILL THRIVE IN THE HOTTER FUTURE considers the blend of economic and environmental factors affecting urban dwellings. Author Matthew Kahn is an urban environmental economist who offers surveys of how entrepreneurs will be producing products that help urban areas adapt to changing climate - and shows how capitalism will push this process. Any urban studies or science collection - and many a business holding - will consider this an involving survey.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Wacziarg on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A superb book by one of the world's foremost scholars in environmental economics. A balanced, well-argued and eminently reasonable take on the most likely human response to global warming: adaptation.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mizbean on January 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was hopeful about this book since Kahn seemed to have solid credentials, and the reality of climate change served as a stepping-off point. While his acceptance of anthropogenic climate change is quite refreshing, that amounted to the sum total of usefulness. I just can't take any "scholarly" book seriously that relies so heavily on Wikipedia entries for sources. And his first-world optimism is simply blinkered.
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