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Climate Wars Paperback – September 1, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Civil war in China and the collapse of the European Union by 2045; nuclear strikes between India and Pakistan in 2036; people being blown up by land mines and machine-gunned by automatic weapons at a sealed U.S./Mexican border in 2029—these are just some of the terrifying climate change scenarios forecast by journalist and geopolitical analyst Dyer (The Mess They Made). His apocalyptic predictions are drawn from unimpeachable sources: climate experts like NASA scientist James Hanson and Angela Merkel's climate change adviser, Dr. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; military and political sources including former CIA head James Woolsey. Even Dyer's most optimistic scenario is barely cause for celebration: humanity manages to curb global warming enough to save itself, but only after several million deaths and countless disasters. The multitude of sources and the political perspective on global warming make the book scarier and more convincing than the usual predictions limited to climate and weather. Environmentalists will likely be horrified and even more depressed than they are already, but we can hope that Dyer's sources are impressive enough to convince policy makers to take serious action. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“This is a truly important and timely book. No one, not even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, really knows what the world climate will be ten years from now, but we and our governments have to make intelligent guesses. Gwynne Dyer has made the best and most plausible set of guesses I have yet seen about the human consequences of climate change, of how drought and heat may ignite wars, even nuclear wars, around the globe.”
— James Lovelock, award-winning scientist, inventor, and originator of the Gaia hypothesis
“Gwynne Dyer is one of the few who are both courageous enough to tell the unvarnished truth, and have the background to understand, not misrepresent the inputs. This book does a superb job of detailing the merging realities of climate/energy. These realities are not pretty.”
— Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist, NASA Langley
“Anyone still complacent about climate change will find Climate Wars instructive and disturbing. These articulate insights into climate geopolitics by Gwynne Dyer are an important tool for understanding why the climate challenge is big, hard, and vital to human survival — yet soluble if we pay attention now.”
— Amory B. Lovins, chairman and chief scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
“The current debate on climate change is mostly on its future effects, but few are brave enough to work out what they might be. Here is a lovely, alarming and even entertaining attempt to look ahead. Water and war have always been associated. We need hope as well as good sense in looking at the future. Here it is.”
— Sir Crispin Tickell, diplomat, environmentalist, and director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin School at Oxford University
“Well written and well argued, crammed with impressive interview material and wonderful personal vignettes.”
Ottawa Citizen

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribe Publications (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1921372222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1921372223
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,894,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Outstanding book. This offers a perspective that isn't available for the most part to people. The author talks about the effects not focused on in the media (the media often focuses on rising sea levels which are later happenings and will be the least of our problems for many decades), he talks about the move of the very dry sub tropic atmospheric regions northward (already occurring) and what it means for the worlds farm areas - not good and is impacting areas already. Then he talks about possible geo-political impacts of these. Mr. Dwyer talked with Military planners as well as scientists to find projected effects of Global Warming, long before we have to worry about rising sea levels. And in particular with the Military planners (US and foreign) what projected geopolitical effects they see - big destabilizing ones. The US military under President Bush sees this as real and the biggest threat to the US in the decades ahead, because of what it does to stability of other countries. He touches on where we are in relation to actually dealing with the problem (not good) and touches on whether he thinks the world's political establishments can actually deal with this in a timely way.

He also analyzes ways of dealing with the problem, both from a phasing out CO2 emissions perspective, but he also analyzes proposed geo-engineering stop gaps - which would be possibly used when we blow the deadlines (as we're on track to) and face disastrous consequences. He analyzes how this scientific based problem became enmeshed into ideological struggles in the US, Australia and Canada and not other parts of the World (for the most part) - fascinating analysis.

Regarding the previous reviewers opinion on the authors analysis of Coal CCS - I have to disagree with what the reviewer said.
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Format: Paperback
The title "Climate Wars" hints at Dyer's contention that global warming will not be a benign phenomenon where things will continue as before. Rather like the human body, where a fever of only three and a half degrees Celcius is potentially fatal, an increase of only a few degrees can potentially cause massive changes in the earth's climate. The earth's biosphere appears to be more fine-tuned and fragile than we thought, and we have unknowingly pushed it far toward making the earth a far less habitable place for humans to live.

He believes that irreversible changes are coming at a rate higher than even recent generally accepted predictions, so that the goal, for example, of the U.S. and British governments to achieve 80 percent cuts to emissions by 2050, is not enough. To illustrate what may be coming, then, he creates a number of fictitious scenarios, set at various times in the relatively near future. These scenarios are possible futures he imagines in a world increasingly under stress from the effects of climate change. They illustrate his point that global warming is not the relatively easy problem that, for example, CFC's and the ozone layer was, where the world could simply rally together and deal effectively with it.

Though there are technological hurdles to be overcome, they are not insurmountable, and could largely be dealt with in the next couple of decades if the international community, with a single mind, made a decision to move away from oil and coal energy sources and develop alternatives. Of course that would include, among other projects, building five million wind turbines around the world in the next five years - quite an undertaking, but certainly doable, especially if you consider that the world builds 65 million cars a year.
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This book should be required reading for anyone interested in climate change.

Dyer got up to speed on this issue in part by interviewing many of the senior scientists personally. He has been mostly interested in military issues until now. Read this book, and you'll discover that climate change is a military issue. Perhaps the dire scenarios Dyer calmly discusses here will help more people understand that this issue must be faced at some point. Maybe, beyond hope or expectation, we'll be able to do more in the way of changing the way we use energy to support our way of life now rather than waiting to be overcome by events, such as increased international tension leading to war, later.

My main caveat with Dyer's analysis comes over his assessment of carbon capture and storage. It seems to me he's just buying into the widespread rejection of what Big Coal has done over the last number of years as they touted carbon capture while not building a single full scale plant anywhere in the world. People are rejecting the technology rather than the politics Big Coal employed, and Dyer has fallen into this trap. He says people "believe" in carbon capture but are "delusional" as if the IPCC itself wasn't the foundation for the interest. But this is a minor point: he's only devoted a few pages to carbon capture in this book.

Otherwise, everything else in this book indicates Dyer is thinking for himself after careful study. Dyer is a good writer who has looked deeply into the subject. He has a unique perspective, he writes what he thinks, and what he thinks is worth paying attention to.
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