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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's pretty outrageous what we've done.", March 22, 2010
This review is from: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (Hardcover)
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The first two chapters of this book provide a good overview of the evidence for, and the consequences of, global warming. These consequences do not get as much attention as they should, and if anything, will likely be more severe than described. I believe that McKibben's assertion that the changes are clearly apparent now, not an expection of the future, is true. The recent massive snow fall in Washington DC is one of the expectations of global warming: warmer air hold more water; more water means more snow dumped at lower lattitudes as weather fronts move north. The unusual spelling, eaarth, used as the title is intended to convey the idea that the Earth has alrady changed, and is not the Earth as we generally think of her.

The last two chapters of the book are a guide to changing the bad habits that have lead us to this eaarth. I was very pleased by the breadth of this coverage. But I do not think that there is as yet sufficient anxiety among the general public, and perhaps more importantly, among politicians, about climate change to effect these changes in a timely manner. Climate change denial seems to be a major plank in the platforms of several political movements. Many elected officials looked out over a Washington DC brought to a total stand still by snow, and still managed find this to be evidence for a normal winter.

But political climate change is necesary to survive the changing global climate. Some serious cultural changes have to be made to reduce/eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from major sources and these will require a type of politics which is impossible today. Two of these are Portland cement manufacturing and air travel. The former will require either development of new building materials with a small manufacturing carbon footprint (unlikely), or complete sequestration of CO2 emissions, a costly change that will undoubtedly require federal incentives at taxpayer expense. Air travel will have to be curtailed; CO2 emissions from aircraft engines cannot be captured at all. I do not think that our current elected officials are up to it.

This is an important book. Every policy maker at all levels of government should get a copy, although the denial folks will certainly not read it. I wish it was more emphatic about the evidence at hand, and the seriousness of the problems. Skeptical readers might also want to visit the CDC website for an overview of the public health consequences of climate change, many of which are also currently in evidence.

The title of the book, eaarth, is clever, but should have been the Richerd Zeebe's quotation in chapter 1, "It's pretty outrageous what we've done."
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