There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2012
I'm a retired university bioscience professor and I have spent much of the last 4-5 years educating myself on the science and consequences of global warming. I've read most of the available books on the subject, attended conferences, followed climate blogs and read scientific papers. When I learned of this new book from Climate Central, a highly respected non-profit that deals with communicating climate change issues to the public, I immediately ordered it from Amazon. The book is an easy read for someone who already has some background understanding of climate change/global warming. In the book's introduction, the authors state that their rationale (provided by author Thomas Friedman) for writing the book was to summarize "..everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth grader could understand, with unimpeachable, peer-reviewed footnotes."

So did they accomplish this goal? Probably not that well - while the book does give a shallow, broad overview of what is scientifically known about climate change, what's actually happening, what's likely to happen in the future and can we avoid the trouble climate change will bring, I'm not sure it would hold the interest of the average sixth grader for two reasons. (i) The book is very poorly illustrated. I counted a total of 12 illustrations, all in black and white with very small print, in this 200 page book. None of these illustrations are particulary compelling. (ii) While one of Climate Central's highly experienced journalists (Michael Lemonick) co-authored the book, it reads like something a less-experienced journalist might compose.

While I identified only a couple of obvious factual errors (perhaps typos), the book frequently equivocates on the significance of generally established science to the point of leaving the reader wondering "Is this true or not?" For example, in Chapter 40, titled "Computer Models Aren't Perfect. This Isn't A Big Surprise", the authors conclude that progress in climate modeling has been slow and "..decision makers who want to use information about future climate have to make do with imperfect information." The authors fail to state that climate scientists use multiple models to reach their findings, and the data they get - even using many different models at many different laboratories - are remarkably consistent and fit historic climatic occurances. There are many more instances in the book where the authors seem to be taking pains to avoid being seen as too dire in stating the known risks of climate change. While not as bad as the practice of some journalists who insist on "giving both sides of the argument" even when one of the sides is blatantly false, the caution used by the authors in this book is often unwarranted.

So in summary, what's good about the book? It is an easy to read, broad overview of present understanding of climate change. It is by-and-large factually correct - in addition to being reviewed by 5 internal Climate Central scientists, it was reviewed by 22 outside climate scientists. While it isn't footnoted (one of the book's stated aims), there is a list of references at the end. This list isn't comprehesive but does include several key reports and papers.

Who might be interested in reading this book? Probably someone who is beginning to suspect that climate change is a really important issue, but doesn't yet have a knowledge foundation as to why. I'm not sure it would be good for most sixth graders because it is so poorly illustrated. I wish I could say it is a great book, but in reality there are other books on this subject that are better.
66 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2012
Though I understand the first reviewer's comments about this book coming from his erudite position, I would give the book five stars for a very different reason.
I don't believe this nation is facing the perilous path it is heading down, and leadership isn't helping to make this situation the prime, number one concern it is.
A huge portion of the populace listen to news and radio channels which propagate notions that science isn't correct regarding climate concerns.

If you are a scientist, if you are highly educated, or if you are curious, you would find relevant articles about climate changes over the past years. Many folks are
not and this information has to get out to the public in one form or another. In addition, people do what is called 'selective inattention' as they lead their lives.
There are other things to worry about, there are families to raise, there are jobs to be found and finances to manage. This is where attention goes.

I find this book to be clear, focused, and filled with good information. The title itself is something that people would relate to in terms of their own experiences
these days, whether with wild,severe storms or drought. Yes, as reviewer one said, there are places where the authors seem to be hedging, though I thought as reading
this that they were soft pedaling to bring disbelievers on board.

Read this book and pass it forward asking others to do the same. Ask your politicians and our presidential candidates how critical they see climate change issues to
be and don't vote for them if they are evasive, or don't get the peril our planet is in.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2012
I teach 6th grade language arts and plan to use the book this coming school year as part of my non-fiction curriculum. My plan: two "chapters" a week, spending maybe 10 - 15 minutes reading and discussing each chapter. The chapters are generally two short pages, so this works for me. I also have a good background in the issue, so can fill in any missing spaces, answer questions, and so on. I'd guess a similar process would work for almost any middle through high school teacher who wants to cover the subject.
A general interest reader could surely find a more compelling book on the issue. This one is weak on graphics and would be boring to try to read straight through.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
This is a terrific, accessible, and quick read on climate change that demolishes the Big Oil/Coal myths on the subject. Unfortunately, there will still be some people who prefer magical thinking to reality, but this is a great book to share with people who sincerely want to know the truth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2012
If you've done research, wrote papers on the subject,
have been following "global warming" since the 80s...
maybe this book's a little too elementary for you.

Like for the learned professor who wrote in a 3-star
review: "I'm a retired university bioscience professor
and I have spent much of the last 4-5 years educating
myself on the science and consequences of global
warming. I've read most of the available books on the
subject, attended conferences, followed climate blogs
and read scientific papers"...I'm sure this book
was a bit of a yawn.

~But for those of us looking for a reliable overview, a
"big picture," an understandable written sketch on the
topic, this book's perfect. I must say I now understand
more about global warming, arctic melting, coral reef
death, dying species, flooding, nasty hurricanes than
ever before. ~And it was painless learning....

It's an absolute smooth, easy-read (especially for we,
the uninitiated), with chapters, on-average, just 2 pages
long. --Clear and informative, without the burden of
long quotes, a myriad of charts, or of vague references
and footnotes. It's credible without being self-absorbed.

~And yet you still go away wondering about the validity
of all the current scares and claims about "climate change."
It doesn't seem out to try to convince the reader but
just to present "facts" as they stand today. --A fast,
eye-opening read that's: --Excellent. There's no other
way to put it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In the introduction to the book, the authors note that a columnist made the comment that someone should write a 60 to 70 page book on global warming that is written to about an eighth grade level. That is, in essence, what this book is. It is an easy to read, simply written book that explains global climate change in a way that anyone can understand.

The book is broken into four sections. These sections are:

What The Science Says

What's Actually Happening

What's Likely To Happen In The Future

Can We Avoid The Risks Of Climate Change?

This is followed by an epilogue that describes what the IPCC is and how it operates.

This is not a book for those who are knowledgeable about climate change and who have the skill to understand more scientifically written books. This book contains two to three-page chapters on the basics of climate science, the results of scientific studies and the expected results of what will happen if we don't change our ways written in a very easy to understand manner.

If you have been fearful of picking up books on global climate change due to the technical nature of the writing and material, then this book is for you. While it is not as detailed as many of the more scientific books, it does provide an excellent overview of the status of current climate change knowledge and modeling of what will happen in the future. This would be a perfect book for an advanced middle school or average high school student.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 13, 2013
Physicist Richard Feynman wrote the book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter in a style that an educated audience of nonscientists could understand. Since QED was about quantum electrodynamics, it was both a challenge to write, and a pleasure to read.

The authors of Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future have taken a similar approach. They discuss the complex topic of climate change and summarize what is known for the nonscientist. It certainly doesn't go into the theory in as detailed a manner as Feynman, but that is because climate change involves the fields of physics, and chemistry, and geology, and ecology, and hydrology, and many other sciences. This week, the monitoring station located on Mauna Loa surpassed 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. That level has not occurred on the planet during the existence of Homo sapiens. What does it mean? What may happen?

Read the book.

My one complaint - the illustrations are minimal, horrid, and without legends for explanation.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2012
I read a lot about climate change and wanted to find a simple overview for myself and to show to a few of my more skeptical friends. This book almost works for my purposes, since it is accurate, simply argued,and discusses most of the important issues regarding climate change. However, it lacks two things needed for almost any non-fiction book: a table of contents (or index)and footnotes.

A simple table of context listing each of the 60 "chapter" titles would allow me to find and show a chapter to a friend and ask them to read the two or three pages on the topic. Footnotes would allow them to look into the issue more deeply if they remained skeptical. Instead, you have to flip through multiple chapters to find a topic and then hope that the general references actually address that topic. What a shame - with a little more effort, this book could have been a valuable asset for introducing climate change to skeptics.

One issue I wished the book had discussed more involves the impact of climate change on civilizations. To oversimplify, unstable climate = unstable food supplies = unstable civilizations = loss of life as the civilization crumbles. I know we can't prove that the drought and fires in Russia caused the price of wheat to increase and that the price increase was a major factor in the Arab Spring uprisings but, to me, that is one of the side effects of climate change that should have been mentioned - at least as a possibility.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
This book puts the cards on the table. It's up to us to play them.
I was impressed by the assertion that although we don't know everything, this doesn't mean we don't know anything.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Global Weirdness is a book about global warming that is focused on the effects of global warming. The book is divided into four parts encompassing in total 60 short chapters. Part I “What the science says” explains what we know about global warming, what is causing it, and how we know it. Part II “What’s actually happening” tells us what is happening right now. Part III “what’s likely to happen in the future” is about things we know will happen unless we change course as well as things that might happen if we don’t change course. Part IV “can we avoid the risks of climate change” focuses on ways to mitigate the effects of global warming and ways to avoid it such as geo-engineering.

The chapters are short and easy to read and overall the book is a layman’s introduction to the effects of global warming. However, the author provides a lot of references for those who want to go deeper. The book is very well organized and it can be used as a reference book, almost like an encyclopedia. Just look in the contents for the right chapter. The chapter titles are quite descriptive. Quite often the chapter titles are questions and the chapter content encompasses the answer. The book is also well written and it does not contain any overstatements. It focuses on the established and proven science and in general avoids speculation, unless it explicitly states that it is. This may actually make the book scarier to some people. The known facts and the quite likely scenarios are pretty scary on their own, at least for future generations.

Over the last couple of years I have become increasingly interested in and worried about global warming. I‘ve studied the science behind it (I have degree in physics) and the evidence that it is happening is very compelling. Yet there is so much science denial and resistance to action in the US. My home country Sweden is handling this much better. I really hope this objective and tempered book could wake up some people.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.