- Paperback: 404 pages
- Publisher: BookSurge Publishing; 1 edition (October 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 143921154X
- ISBN-13: 978-1439211540
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,421,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Resilient Earth: Science, Global Warming and the Future of Humanity 1st Edition
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From the Inside Flap
The Resilient Earth had its genesis in a number of events spanning several years. The authors have been friends and colleagues for more than three decades and, while they have often discussed writing a book together, the timing never seemed quite right. Then, at the start of 2007, the debate surrounding human-caused global warming reached a crescendo. Those who questioned the extent and causes of global warming, other than human CO2 emissions, were labeled "climate criminals," "industry stooges," and "traitors" by ecological activists. Those on the other side of the issue used terms like "hoax" and "scam."
The shrill level of the "debate" was driven home when Hoffman attended a business meeting. A co-worker asked a seemingly innocent question: "Doug, you're a scientist, what do you think about this global warming thing?" Hoffman framed a fairly neutral reply--"I don't think it's as bad as portrayed in the media, certainly we shouldn't ruin our economy in a panic." Hearing this, the senior executive present made a sarcastic, scatological remark regarding the offered opinion and stormed out of the room. Taken aback by this emotional reaction, Hoffman resolved to look more deeply into the subject of global warming.
In a matter of days, Hoffman was on the phone to Simmons suggesting that the time to write that often talked about book had arrived, and the topic should be the science of global warming--the real science, not the pseudo-science being reported in the popular media. Simmons immediately agreed and a long distance collaboration, linking coastal Texas and a log cabin in Arkansas, began. The more deeply we delved into the "facts" portrayed in the media the more concerned we became--not from fear of impending ecological disaster, but from the total lack of scientific objectivity, rationality and detachment exhibited by those on both sides of the global warming issue.
About the Author
Authors Doug L. Hoffman and Allen Simmons both have strong backgrounds in science and computer modeling. Hoffman has a PhD in Computer Science from the U. of North Carolina where he did research in Molecular Dynamics Simulations and high-speed comparison methods for RNA, DNA and protein sequences. Currently he serves as senior grid architect for a major IP company and as an adjunct Professor of Computer Science at U. of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College. Simmons has a BSEE from U. of Miami and wrote the computer systems software for the world¿s first weather satellites-TIROS-Television/Infra-Red Observation Satellite. After TIROS, he spent 12 years working with scientists and engineers on NIMBUS weather satellites which collected meteorological, atmospheric, geological, and oceanographic data. NIMBUS had a profound impact on knowledge of Earth¿s dynamic behavior. On the island of St. Croix, USVI, Simmons and Hoffman developed a computer system to track objects at great ocean depths.
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Top customer reviews
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The remainder of the book is concerned basically with the questions of how strong the influence of human activity on climate is, how good the evidence for that is, how fast climate change is likely to occur, what the effects of climate change will be, and whether any of the proposed measures will be effective. These are exactly the right questions to ask of both policymakers and scientists, and the answers are nowhere near as clear cut as they are frequently presented.
In terms of climate change, looking at longer term climate history, it is clear that the planet has undergone massive cooling and warming over time, without any human intervention, and that such change is likely inevitable in the long term. And looking at the history of life, it is clear that the kind of change we are currently facing has not threatened life or even mammalian life. In particular, we are coming out of an ice age, and it is inevitable that sea levels will rise substantially, that the polar ice caps will melt, and that species will die out, even without human activity--like has happened many times before. Human carbon emissions probably are accelerating the process a little, but it is inevitable in the long term. Of course, in the short terms, we might even face another massive glaciation event, which would likely be far more harmful to humans. Given the choice of glaciation and warming, warming would be far preferable.)
The book spends a bit more time discussing the economic effects and the ability of humans to adapt to such changes. It then goes on to look at the plausibility of countermeasures: even if we start with the premise that carbon emissions are dangerous and we want to reduce them to pre-industrial levels, what can be done about them? The sobering realization is that there is no effective technical, political or economic means of making effective changes: Kyoto merely burdens industrialized nations without being an effective remedy, and no government on earth is going to be able to enact the kind of draconian measures to actually reduce carbon emissions to substantially reduce anthropogenic effects.
The books conclusion is effectively that many of the policies proposed for fighting climate change are good policies: increase energy efficiency, reduce the use of non-renewable fuels, develop renewable energy sources. But they are good policies for reasons pretty much unrelated to climate change. The policy implication of climate change is that, anthropogenic or not, climate change is inevitable and human societies better be prepared to deal with it, lest humans join the long list of species extinct because they couldn't adapt to the inevitably changing conditions on earth.
In the highly politicized discussions about climate change, many people will dismiss this book sight unseen as a book written by a bunch of cranks with some kind of hidden agenda. It is none of those things. It is a well written science book that happens to bring together mainstream and up-to-date science that happens to be relevant to the question of climate change and policy. In fact, overall, the book is fairly unpolitical and you can in good conscience still vote for your preferred political party after reading it. What the book will do is remove some of the hysteria and hyperbole surrounding the issue and give you a lot of the scientific background to actually try to understand what the science is actually all about.
sorts as it was challenging to study the intense gathered knowledge so precisely
presented. I really liked it and really felt scientifically and mythic-ally informed.
I see signs of change in our earths atmosphere and now I can use this book to
document in my mind this reality of a Resilient Earth.
The authors do a fine job covering the basics of climates from the point of view of several different disciplines and do so very well. It would be easy to conclude that the authors are skeptics, but nowhere in the book do they say that humans are not contribuing to climate change. They just acknowledge that our place in the cosmos is very small next to the forces of nature. Any scientist familiar with the breadth of information covered here could only be a "sceptical" scientist. Again, one of the best reads on climate science that you'll find.