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Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 26, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Physicist Romm, a veteran of the Department of Energy and founder and director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, presents a clear and effective primer on climate science. But the most salient aspects of this provocative expose involve Romm's documentation of what he calls the Bush administration's irresponsible and backward energy policies, the censorship of legitimate and urgent information pertaining to global warming, and the threats rising temperatures pose to "the health and well-being of this nation and the world." Romm explains that we already possess the technologies and know-how we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; what we lack is the will to act. As Romm analyzes the "miscoverage" of global-warming realities in the press, especially the facts pertaining to dire changes already affecting plants, animals, and humans, he laments the perversity and folly of politicizing a global crisis. We must recognize, Romm asserts, that "ideology trumps rationality" all too often in public discourse, preventing us from doing what needs to be done to avert still preventable catastrophes. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Urgent, reasoned, and informative ... America had better listen up--this may be our last chance to stop global warming.” (James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006117212X
  • ASIN: B000WPPY8G
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,189,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAME on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
And ours should be too.

Joseph Romm, who is an expert on energy (author of The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate (2004), which I highly recommend), holds a PhD in physics with an emphasis on the physics of weather. Consequently he writes from a position of knowledge about climate change that few others can match. He is also politically savvy, having worked in the Department of Energy in the Clinton administration. His hair is on fire because the danger to the planet from global warming is frighteningly real, and it appears that nobody is going to do anything about it until it is too late.

Part I is devoted to both making it absolutely clear that global warming is caused by human activities, in particular the burning of fossil fuels, while giving some considerable data on just what the consequences of global warming will be for the planet and in particular for the US. A number of meany-mouthed nay-sayers have suggested that a little warming won't be so bad, especially for the US. Romm lays this mythology into its grave by showing that the most recent scientific projections show that unchecked global warming will be a disaster for the US, inflicting enormous damage to our costal areas, burying much of Louisiana, Florida and other parts of the US under water, and creating dust bowl conditions in the Midwest far worse than experienced in the 1930s.

The real meat of this book however begins in Part II, "The Politics and the Solution," and in particular in Chapter 5, "How Climate Rhetoric Trumps Climate Reality."

Have you ever asked yourself why conservative politicians are in a state of denial about global warming? I have, and Romm is the first one to explain it to me. Simply put, "ideology trumps rationality.
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Format: Hardcover
As I sit here typing, I can see the snow and ice just outside our window. I also hear people grumbling around me "What global warming?" but they're forgetting something ~~ this has definitely been a very mild winter for us in northwest Ohio and it is very unusual that we're just now getting our first snow of the season. Normally, we start getting snow in mid-November and by this time in January, the romance of the snow is pretty much all gone. Not this year.

After reading this book, I am now more concerned about what our government is not doing (it'll be interesting to see the backlash to the State of the Union speech tomorrow night) to work with these legitimate and valid concerns. This is not your typical scaremonger book. In fact, this book is written by the former acting assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, heading the office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Romm writes about the reasons why you don't hear a lot of scientists flooding the media with dire warnings of our actions and the near future of global warming ~~ he writes vividly and rationally, pointing no fingers of blame at anyone. He writes a history of scientific studies and the Delayers and Denyers tactics in stalling appropriate responses to issues that should have been addressed yesterday if not today. He writes simply. He writes of the truth. He backs his reasons up with scientific studies and news reports.

He doesn't point fingers at anyone ~~ just states simply the facts and the solutions he thinks are viable in fixing this problem before it's too late. Already, we're seeing record hurricanes, droughts and mild winters and already, we're seeing signs of glaciers melting.
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Format: Hardcover
During a conversation in Washington, DC in 1988, I was stunned by how succinctly my former professor Carl Sagan was able to summarize the behavior of bureaucrats inside the U.S. Government. After listening quietly to my rant about inactions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the subject of acid rain and global warming, Sagan simply offered the following one-liner: "Bureaucratic Ecocide."

Joe Romm's convincing, straight-forward and extremely well-written book reminds me of Sagan's ability to cut to the quick of a matter like a laser beam. Romm writes with precision and insight about a complex subject. This gift is made all the more precious to us because of the layers of obfuscation, half-truths and outright lies of the "Deniers and Delayers." Because of the complexity of the subject and the murky job done to date by the press, Romm's talent to clarify shines like a beacon to all thinkers on the planet. Read this book - for yourself and for the generations yet to come. Then take action.
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Format: Hardcover
This quote from "Science" editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy from 2001 really sums up the situation quite succinctly. Extensive research by scientists from a wide variety of disciplines over several decades all point to the same unsettling conclusion. Unless the United States wakes up to the reality of global warming and takes action to dramatically curb carbon emissions we are facing an environmental calamity of epic proportions. In his new book "Hell and High Water" author Joseph Romm, a former assistant secretary of Energy and founder and executive director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions makes a compelling case that time to act on these urgent environmental issues is rapidly growing short. Contemplating the consequences of our failure to take action is really too horrible to imagine.

It is amazing to me how many people are still not the least bit concerned about global warming. Stubborn and short-sighted conservatives refuse to acknowledge the obvious for fear that in the short term the bottom lines of many major corporations might be adversely affected. And those I would refer to as "limousine liberals" in their SUV's and 14 room houses show no inclination to demand change either. It appears to me that far too many Americans are fat and comfortable with the status quo and are willing to accept the premise that new technologies will ultimately solve these complex problems. In "Hell and High Water" Joseph Romm laments the incredibly poor job our media has done in relating the urgency of this situation. He also outlines the public relations strategies of those he aptly refers to as the Delayers and Denyers.
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