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Global Warming: The Complete Briefing Paperback – October 13, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521629324 ISBN-10: 0521629322 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (October 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521629322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521629324
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,411,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'It is difficult to imagine how Houghton's exposition of this complex body of information might be substantially improved upon ... Seldom has such a complex topic been presented with such remarkable simplicity, directness and crystalline clarity ... Houghton's complete briefing is without doubt the best briefing the concerned citizen could hope to find within the pages of a pocketable book.' John Perry, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

'I can recommend (this book) to anyone who wants to get a better perspective on the topic of global warming ... a very readable and comprehensive guide to the changes that are occuring now, and could occur in the future, as a result of human action ... brings the global warming debate right up to date ... Read Houghton's book if you really want to understand both the scientific and political issues involved.' William Harston, The Independent

'... precise account of the science, accompanied by figures, graphs, boxes on specific points, and summaries at the end of each chapter, with questions for students ... ranges beyond the science into the diplomacy, politics, economics and ethics of the problem, which together present a formidable challenge to human understanding and capacity for action.' Sir Crispin Tickell, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone concerned about global warming. It provides and excellent essentially non-technical guide on scientific and political aspects of the subject. It is an essential briefing for students and science teachers.' Tony Waters, The Observatory

'... an interesting account of the topic for the general reader.' Environmental Assessment

'... very thorough and presents a balanced, impartial picture.' Jonathan Shanklin, Journal of the British Astronomical Association

'For the non-technical reader, the best program guide to the political and scientific debate is John Houghton's book Global Warming: the Complete Briefing. With this book in hand you are ready to make sense of the debate and reach your own conclusions.' Alan Hecht , Climate Change

'This is a remarkable book ... It is a model of clear exposition and comprehensible writing ... Quite apart from its value as a background reader for science teachers and students, it would make a splendid basis for a college general course.' Andrew Bishop, Association for Science Education

'Global Warming remains the best single-volume guide to the science of climate change.' Greg Terrill, The Times Literary Supplement

'This very readable and informative book is valuable for anyone wanting a broad overview of what we know about climate change, its potential impacts on society and the natural world, and what could be done to mitigate or adapt to global warming. To this end, discussion questions are included at the end of each chapter. The paperback edition is an especially good value ... Houghton's compact book is an accessible, well-researched, and broadly based introduction to the immensely complicated global warming problem.' Dennis L. Hartmann, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

'I have no hesitation in endorsing this important book.' Wilfrid Bach, International Journal of Climatology

' ... a useful book for students and laymen to understand some of the complexities of the global warming issue. Questions and essay topics at the end of each chapter provide useful follow-up work and the range of material provided under one cover is impressive. At a student-friendly price, this is a book to buy for yourself and not rely on the library copy.' Allen Perry, Holocene

'In summary I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone concerned about global warming. It provides an excellent non-technical guide on scientific and political aspects of the subject. It is an essential briefing for students and science teachers.' Tony Waters, Weather

'This book is one of the best I have encountered, that deal with climate change and some of its anthropogenic causes. Well written, well organised, richly illustrated and referenced, it should be required reading for anybody concerned with the fate of our planet.' Elmar R. Reiter, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

'Sir John Houghton is one of the few people who can legitimately use the phrase 'the complete briefing' as a subtitle for a book on global warming ... Sir John has done us all a great favour in presenting such a wealth of material so clearly and accessibly and in drawing attention to the ethical underpinnings of our interpretation of this area of environmental science.' Progress in Physical Geography

Book Description

Sir John Houghton's Global Warming: the Complete Briefing is the most comprehensive guide available to the science and politics of global warming. The first edition received excellent reviews, and this completely updated new edition will prove to be the best briefing the student or interested general reader could wish for.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 148 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Lewis VINE VOICE on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to take immediate issue with the [anonymous] reviews below that claim that this book doesn't address the difference between natural climate cycling and anthropogenic climate change: that difference, in a nutshell, is PRECISELY what this book deals with. Those reviewers never read it, or failed completely to follow its line of reasoning. This is NOT a partisan, political, ideological book. It is simply a guided tour of the science of climate change, revised in 2004. It carefully parses the current research. Read the table of contents [you can click on it at the top of the page] and see that the book is organized around the following inevitable questions: Is climate changing? How much is it changing? How much of that change is caused by people? What are the likely effects, short- and long-term, of these changes? What can we do about it? In the case of climate change, despite all of the political complications that have accrued to what was originally science, these questions are PRECISELY the ones a thinking person needs to ask. To have a book structured around them, referring, as it does, to the best [scientific, independently-refereed] research is a gift. It seems that almost everybody today picks their position on climate change as part of an ideological package-deal: most American conservatives almost automatically disdain the science because the Bush White House and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter disdain it. Most American progressives almost automatically embrace the NOTION of climate change without actually knowing the science, because Al Gore, et al, have told them to. Both positions, taken in ignorance of the science, are ideolgical and symptomatic of the worst party-line politics. I urge you to read the science. It will take some effort, but that effort is our civic duty. This book has no agenda other than compiling the research and putting it before the reading public in an accessible format.
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147 of 161 people found the following review helpful By on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I have read on global warming. Sir John Houghton has provided a carefully written account, with good explanations, fairly thorough referencing, and informative charts and figures. The subject of global warming is presented from a multifaceted perspective, with both informative factual material as well as elements of a personal perspective, introduced in a non-forceful but persuasive manner.
The book is aimed at those who know little about climatology or global warming. It will help to have some general scientific background. The pertinent facts - how much we have increased the atmosphere's CO2 concentration, in what way this gas effects the earth's energy balance, etc. - are available here, and the information is referenced to primary scientific sources. The prognosis for a warming of the atmosphere is gently asserted in the affirmative, but the uncertainties are also presented. Without being a climatologist, I found most of my qestions of this nature were answered. The only point I was curious about but found missing was what recent changes in glaciers tell us about the present tendency of global temperature.
After presenting the data, the models and arguing gently for a moderate warming tendency, Houghton presents several nice chapters on effects (potentially severe) and responses to the problem, with a particular emphasis on energy. The suggested responses leave one with the sense that Houghton is an optimist. He incites to action, where it is hard to imagine today's politicians asking us to change our habits so fundamentally.
This book is stimulating, both on the subject of global warming (whether or not it is occurring, how much, what is our role), as well as on the potential consequences and suitable responses.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sydster on May 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just gotten half way through this book but am already finding it an excellent source of background information on global warming and climate change. It has a lot of technical information but is written at a level that most people can understand. I'm using it to prepare for a community education class I'll be teaching and finding it most helpful with facts on the science behind global warming. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to delve into the reasons behind what you're hearing in the news. The author is an internationally recognized expert and obviously knows what he's taking about. The book it written in a well balanced way pointing out the uncertainties and sticking to the facts. I'm looking forward to completing the rest of the book this week.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sir Furboy on September 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an essential book for anyone who wants to move past the media hype on this important subject. It covers the breadth of the science in an accessible manner, looking at mechanisms, measurements and the broad sweep of science informing the global warming debate. It is notable that the only people who profess dislike of this book are people who have not read it. No one can deny that the author has brought together a huge mass of information and presented it in an accessible manner which nevertheless dispenses with alarmism and lays any residual scepticism to bed.

Unusually for such a work, chapter 8 looks at why we should be concerned. Or rather, why we should care if - as is the case - there will be winners as well as losers from climate change. Houghton discusses his personal belief there, and successfully brings issues of religion and ethics into the debate - something which, as he points out, is all too often deliberately left out of the discussion.

Some people dislike such an approach in a book on science. Some will think that a breath of fresh air. Whether you agree with him or not, it is good to read a Christian writer explaining why Christians should not be siding with the climate change sceptics. Nevertheless if you don't want that in a book then just ignore that chapter - the book is still more than worth its price.
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