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Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley Hardcover – December 23, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087796
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,192,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest communiqué from the emerging genre of traveling the world in the footsteps of climate change is an intelligent, nuanced report on the complex relationships between increasingly unstable weather patterns and politics, ecology and lifestyles. Journalist Faris shows how the genocide in Darfur has roots in desertification and may be a canary in the coal mine, a foretaste of climatically driven political chaos, and how the resulting emigration of Africans to Europe is causing economic pressures that are being met with fascistic movements in Italy and Britain. Locals are abandoning Key West and New Orleans due to unsustainable insurance premiums; Bangladesh is likely to be flooded out of existence; and drought may wipe out the Amazon rain forest within 70 years. Faris cites a study predicting a world depicted by Mad Max, only hotter, with no beaches and perhaps with even more chaos. But, depressingly, he admits that his travels researching this book released nine times an average person's annual carbon use and that the world many have opened its eyes to climate change, but we're far from taking effective action. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A journalist concerned with on-the-ground evidence of global warming, Faris reports on what he learned in visits to various regions around the world. A global climatic component is involved in local environmental situations, Faris finds, the details of which he expands in presenting the explanations of scientific or policy experts. What counts most in this work, however, are the impressions of climate change Faris gathered from his interviews with local inhabitants. They make tangible the abstractions of the issue in Sudan, Key West, Brazil, California, Canada, and India. In addition to covering local people’s observations about desertification, coral bleaching, and the temperature-sensitive wine-making industry, Faris looks into local political ramifications, especially those concerning people forced to move because of environmental stresses. He presents background to the violence in Darfur and notes the concerns of insurers about America’s hurricane-prone southern coasts. Faris’ reportorial techniques work well in his narrative, priming readers for his recommendation for urgent action on climate change. --Gilbert Taylor

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The book is very well-written -- easy to read.
Nic E. Korte
For newbies to climate change, this might be a good jumping off point since it encompasses so many issues.
S. B. Scott
Well, southern England is now, as it once was in the 14th century, wine grape country.
Dennis Littrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Swartz on January 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I found this book interesting and well-written. It is not a book by a scientist or someone pretending to do science writing -- it is a book by a journalist who traveled extensively, learned some things on the ground, and reported back on what they learned. It avoids questions about why there is warming, and it avoids speculation about the future: it talks about impacts that warming is having on the world today. It would be a good book to give to someone who was inclined towards being argumentative around warming: it avoids all the standard arguments and just reports on what is.

The book shares structure and perhaps a "type" with Jared Diamond's Collapse: a series of chapters illustrating different aspects of a larger phenomenon. It does not pull off the same grand abstract sense of wonder that Diamond is capable of, but it has a greater warmth.

I found the sections on Dafur, Bangladesh, and Kashmir chilling: the book does a great job of describing the political/social situation on the ground, sketching out how these complex and fragile places are particularly susceptible to climate change, and then talking about the terrible consequences that are already playing out. In the US, the book describes the reaction of the insurance industry to our increasingly chaotic weather, and how that effects communities like New Orleans and the Florida Keys. The section on how the wine industry is being effected by warming was interesting: tough luck France, I guess.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nic E. Korte on February 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed "Forecast" and have recommended it to several people. What I liked most about the book, is that it was not designed to convince anyone about climate change, but simply described impacts. The book is very well-written -- easy to read. I think it can do more to convince people of the truth of climate change and the overall lack of debate in the scientific community than books that rely heavily on climate data.

Because I am a physical scientist who reads several scientific journals; I was aware of most of the facts and expected impacts presented. However, I don't know that anyone has put it altogether so nicely without any inclusion of politics. So, I hope a lot of people read it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Kowinski on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are plenty of books on the climate crisis, but a readable one is rare enough to fetch a Nobel Peace Prize. Though solutions depend on specific and possibly boring knowledge and actions, political and public support requires general understanding and passionate attention. This book is written not by a committee nor as the result of group findings, but by an individual writer--not a scientist or a politician but an astute and acute journalist. It is that rarity: excellently reported and written, very readable and therefore an important book on the most significant topic of our time.

It's a post-Inconvenient Truth treatment that doesn't analyze or speculate but describes. This isn't about the far future, but changes already underway that are bound to increase in the next few decades: "impacts that range from the subtle and sometimes benign to the horrific and potentially catastrophic...Yet we don't have to guess at the consequences of a warming world...The future of our planet can be found now, on the frontiers of climate change."

My one note of warning is that dealing with the effects of the climate crisis, as described in this book, are going to become more and more important. But it is just as crucial to continue trying to deal with the causes, so that there aren't much, much worse consequences for the future.

That said, if you read just one book on the climate crisis this year, "Forecast" should be it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. David on January 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is at once a travel log and a clear-eyed description of the inter-connected nature of environment, economics, identity and politics across the globe. The stories in each chapter take on broad topics (agriculture, immigration, insurance, national sovereignty, the spread of disease, armed conflict, and natural disaster) from the bottom up, showing how individuals across the planet are witnessing the impact of changing weather patterns on their own local and national issues. Each chapter weaves stories from several points on the globe into a great web of causality, where the expanding Sahara contributes to the breakdown of age-old social ties to war and genocide to an influx of the desperate into European ports to xenophobic (and green!) political movements. At the same time the author has a traveler's eye for detail, stopping to share the smell of the air in a dry riverbed between Chad and Sudan, the ride through new farmland to the retreating edge of the Amazon rainforest, the faces and voices of dozens of characters, real people dealing with small-scale problems, who have come to realize that their problems do not play out on such a small scale after all. A good read and a convincing call to action, although it presents no easy answers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. B. Scott on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Faris' book is a rambling, eclectic mix of articles only loosely tied together by climate change. I had the sense some of the chapters had been written earlier for some other project. The chapters on Afghanistan, India, Darfur, and particularly chapter 3 are only tangential to climate change. The chapters seem "fluffed" with journalistic color, with historical backgrounds of little consequence to climate change, and irritatingly formulaic descriptions of whatever his interviewees are wearing.

For newbies to climate change, this might be a good jumping off point since it encompasses so many issues. For anyone who has even remotely followed this phenomenon it is not in-depth enough to be interesting.

The greatest failing is that we never really hear Mr. Faris' voice. The journalist's advantage in writing a book is to abandon periodical objectivity and provide his perspective based on experience. Sadly, Mr. Faris let this opportunity slide.

Only the chapters on wine, Key West, and the Arctic are worth reading.
For something deeper, from a journalist who does more digging, read Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, which I couldn't help comparing to "Forecast". It is far more detailed, focused, impassioned, and cohesive.
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