From Publishers Weekly
Mammologist and paleontologist Flannery (The Eternal Frontier
), who in recent years has become well known for his controversial ideas on conservation, the environment and population control, presents a straightforward and powerfully written look at the connection between climate change and global warming. It's destined to become required reading following Hurricane Katrina as the focus shifts to the natural forces that may have produced such a devastating event. Much of the book's success is rooted in Flannery's succinct and fascinating insights into related topics, such as the differences between the terms greenhouse effect
, global warming
and climate change
, and how the El Niño cycle of extreme climatic events "had a profound re-organising effect on nature." But the heart of the book is Flannery's impassioned look at the earth's "colossal" carbon dioxide pollution problem and his argument for how we can shift from our current global reliance on fossil fuels [...]. Flannery consistently produces the hard goods related to his main message that our environmental behavior makes us all "weather makers" who "already possess all the tools required to avoid catastrophic climate change."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The arguments, evidence, and conclusions should surprise few readers in Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe
and Flannery's The Weather Makers
. Given existing scientific knowledge, neither author (and no critic) doubts that global warming is real, with terrible consequences looming ahead.<P>The difference between the books largely comes down to tone and style. Kolbert, a reporter for the New Yorker
, provides an excellent primer on climate change. Praised for her elegance and accessibility, she offers a loose travelogue with "the clearest view yet of the biggest catastrophe we have ever faced" (Los Angeles Times
). She takes her science seriouslyfrom sulfate droplets to recarbonizationand rarely lets her belief in impending catastrophe cloud her objectivity. Flannery's book may appeal more to activists. However, the Chicago Sun-Times
thought that his passionate clarion call to action undermined sound arguments; others criticized scattered information and incomplete discussion on ways individuals can counteract climate change. Still, like Kolbert, Flannery elucidates complex concepts in climatology, paleontology, and economics. In the end, both books ask a crucial question: "Will we be lauded by future generations for heeding the advice of our best scientific minds, or remembered hereafter as counterexamplesas paragons of hubris, of a colossal failure of the imagination?" (Los Angeles Times
).<BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.