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Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change Hardcover – April 15, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1st edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226092046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226092041
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,272,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This is perhaps the most accessible book that I have ever read about how humanity is changing Earth’s climate, and what can be done about it.”—David Archer, author of Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast
(David Archer)

"Calvin approaches climate change as a sensible doctor would: if a patient has unusual symptoms, and medical science points to a risk of a horrible disease, therapy should begin without delay. For decades climate scientists thought they were doing enough by pointing out a risk, while symptoms grew ever more ominous. But as doctors know, patients with signs of cancer often deny it, putting off action until it is terribly costly and uncertain. Global Fever is a timely effort to combat such denial of the danger of climate change."--Spencer Weart, author of The Discovery of Global Warming

(Spencer Weart)

“Calvin dissects the ongoing controversies over global warming like a master surgeon. Global Fever offers a sobering diagnosis for the future and a realistic assessment of effective strategies for living with the major climatic changes that are humanity''s destiny.”—Brian Fagan, author of The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization
(Brian Fagan)

“It needs a physician to look at the patient that is our Earth, to make a diagnosis, to measure its rising temperature, to look at the reasons for it, to assess the likely effects, and not least to suggest what now needs to be done. William Calvin’s new book does all this and more in simple and telling language. Above all Calvin brings out the need for urgent action if the wonderful Earth that we have inherited will be as wonderful for our children and generations to come.”—Sir Crispin Tickell
(Sir Crispin Tickell)

About the Author

William H. Calvin is professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle and the author of fourteen books, including A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and Climate Change, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Watson on July 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author is a neurosurgeon by training, but has a solid background in science that certainly qualifies him to write on the topic of this book. As such, he provides a fairly even handed view without a particular ax to grind. Years ago I read his very enjoyable and interesting The River That Flows Uphill -- From the Big Bang to the Big Brain. It's about his thoughts on such matters as he journeys down the Colorado River.In this book the backdrop is global warming, or, as he puts it, global fever. That backdrop isn't quite so pleasing. It starts with the defensible premise that it exists and we need to do something about it soon, 2020, to stop its catastrophic effects.

The book has some formidable forerunners, such as those by Tim Flannery (Weather Makers) or Elizabeth Kolbert (Field Notes ...). Calvin has plenty to say about how to proceed against antropogenic global warming, and takes the reader through many technical aspects of it with descriptions of (scientific) feedback (as opposed to social), mechanisms of sudden climate shifts, the importance of CO2 versus water and methane as key indicators, and the basics of climate modeling. Particularly important are his comments about the spread of disinformation. It's widespread, but after reading his book, you'll be in a better position to recognize it. There's an interesting comment early in the book about why Al Gore does not appear to support nuclear power, page 30.

He has a good appendix on further reads, and interesting notes in the back to supplement the text. His Read Widely appendix, in the last paragraph, discusses reliable sources, e.g., Real Climate (maintained by climate scientists, Google), and some that are just front organizations for business as usual (GlobalWarming ...).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William J. Middleton on December 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book! Written in such a way as to be understandable to those with little background in climate issues yet blunt enough in its analysis to wake up those who politically or otherwise are laggards when it comes to moving forward on existential environmental issues. Written in plain english!
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More About the Author

William H. Calvin, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is the author of Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change (University of Chicago Press 2008, see Global-Fever.org) and thirteen earlier books for general readers. He studies brain circuitry, ape-to-human evolution, climate change, and civilization's vulnerability to abrupt shocks.

In Global Fever, he writes: "The climate doctors have been consulted; the lab reports have come back. Now it's time to pull together the Big Picture and discuss treatment options. At a time when architects are thinking ahead to more efficient buildings and power planners are extolling the virtues of "renewable energy," the climate modelers have discovered that long-term planning will no longer suffice. Our fossil fuel fiasco has already painted us into a corner such that, if we don't make substantial near-term gains before 2020, the long-term is pre-empted, the efforts all for naught. We are already in dangerous territory and have to act quickly to avoid triggering widespread catastrophes. The only good analogy is arming for a great war, doing what must be done regardless of cost and convenience."

His climate talk in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People is available in streaming video as are other recent lectures at NASA and Rice University.

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Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change
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