From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, lays all the cards on the table in this thorough, detailed analysis of the history, science and politics of climate change, a Silent Spring-style warning cry that predicts "a rough ride" for our grandchildren. Using numerous charts and graphs alongside accessible explanations, Hansen presents copious climate data for a broad audience. After discussing the recent history of global warming science, from the Climate Task Force of 2000 to his up-to-the-minute carbon dioxide limit of 350ppm, Hansen provides recommendations for achieving greenhouse gas reduction, as well as strategies for reducing or eliminating fossil fuel use: "For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we cannot allow our government to continue to connive with the coal industry in subterfuges that allow dirty-coal use to continue." The most significant step, he says, would be creating a cost structure that escalates cost as carbon emissions increase. With of-the-moment discussion of topics such as climate vs. weather (addressing in particular the cool U.S. summer of 2009), cap-and-trade vs. fee-and-dividend, and climate change politics as well as activism, this is certain to be as controversial as it is informative. Hansen's message is stirring as well as urgent, and should be required reading for anyone involved in public policy.
*Starred Review* Climatologist Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an internationally renowned global-warming expert, became even more famous when he was censored by the Bush administration. After decades of studying the role fossil fuels play in global warming and witnessing the federal government’s failure to take action to lower carbon emissions, he felt compelled to write his first book out of concern about the potentially catastrophic future facing his grandchildren. Hansen condemns governmental “greenwashing” and the undue influence of more than 2,300 energy lobbyists, and attempts to close the gap “between public perception and scientific reality” by lucidly explaining the dynamics of global warming, its acceleration, and how a slight rise in temperature can lead to disastrous consequences. He then boldly declares that the way to solve the climate crisis is to “rapidly phase out coal emissions.” How will we meet our energy needs without coal? Hansen tells the “secret story” of the jettisoned “fast” nuclear reactor, a safer and more efficient reactor than those currently in use, and advocates for its resurrection. Rich in invaluable insights into the geopolitics as well as the geophysics of climate change, Hansen’s guaranteed-to-be-controversial manifesto is the most comprehensible, realistic, and courageous call to prevent climate change yet. It belongs in every library. --Donna Seaman