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What's the Worst That Could Happen?: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate Paperback – Bargain Price, July 9, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 2007, high school science teacher Craven posted a ten-minute video, The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See, , predicting dire consequences without strong measures to stop global warming. That video attracted millions of viewers; his focus now is not "what" to think about global warming, but "how." Using clear language and charts, Craven sketches not just the cost/benefit analysis of over-reacting and failing to act, but the fundamentals of sound science. Training readers to evaluate competing arguments, he points to a number of expert sources for reliable information (American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences, National Security Agency, leading climate scientists like James Hansen). Take a measured look at the skeptics (from the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, etc.), he finds that the risk of global climate destabilization outweighs the supposedly prohibitive costs ("devastating economic consequences") of implementing environmental protection measures. Craven's popular style might be better suited to the classroom-cutesy graphics, groan-worthy section heads like "Dude, Where's My Science?"-but science and ecology novices will find his approach welcome and enlightening.
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Review

"Greg Craven has written a brilliant and unique work on global warming. His innovative and intelligent approach to this controversial issue is superbly crafted. It is an important book that is a must read for those who care about our planet and future generations."
-General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired)

"This book trumps most of our accounts of the global warming crisis, partly for its good humor and straightforward logic, and partly because the author has actually figured out what actions make sense. Changing your lightbulb will help a little, but changing the political debate will help enormously-and this book will get you started down that path."
-Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature

"The worst thing that could happen is that you don't read this book! Greg Craven has written a valuable primer on the global warming debate."
-Gregg Easterbrook, author, Sonic Boom

"This is a tremendous book and well worth anyone's time to read. It very clearly and concisely covers all the important points not only about the climate change situation in our moment, but how we think and decide about important issues. Anyone who enjoyed Craven's YouTube triumph "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See" will enjoy unpacking that experience in this book, and for people running into Craven for the first time, you're in for a treat-he is funny as well as well as exceptionally clear, and wise."
-Kim Stanley Robinson, the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Mars trilogy and Science in the Capital
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (July 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399535012
  • ASIN: B0030EG0NY
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,096,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book enough; it's based on a wildly popular and critically acclaimed set of videos originally aired on YouTube which garnered many millions of hits on various websites.How It All Ends (Single Disc Edition)

Greg Craven has the spark of genius in the way he cuts through all the confusing "it will, it won't, it will too!". On the one hand we have clever wordy scientists and on the other, crafty manipulative, articulate global warming deniers (Ok, I'm a little biased on this one!) and the poor ordinary bloke doesn't know who to believe in the shouting match. He/she just wants to know what's the best bet to protect their loved family and friends. They don't want to risk damaging the economy but they also don't want to risk ruining the planet that their kids will grow up in. How on earth can they decide what's best?

This book will show how you don't need to be an expert to make your own sensible decisions using the sort of ordinary risk assessment techniques that we all use when we cross the road or buy house or car insurance.

Craven basically looks at what each side in the debate is claiming and looks at what will happen if they are wrong and then shows what the consequences would be for us all. Instead of trying to work out definitively who is right, which is very difficult as shown by the many complicated books available that try to, Craven clearly shows that asking what happens if one or the other side is wrong gives a very simple, yet brilliant, way of deciding what the best bet is when deciding what to do, or not do, about it.
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Whether you are already convinced of the threat of climate change and want to learn how to help correct it (or want to help convince someone else) or a skeptic who wants to make absolutely sure of your convictions, or even someone who doesn't care about the climate change debate at all, you will take something from this book. Craven presents, in a clear and easy-to-digest way, a new way of thinking about not only the issue at hand, but any sort of difficult decision. If you want to train your mind to think better, please buy this book. And one for your sibling. And cousin. And friend. And co-worker. And someone you see on the street.
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The author is a science teacher with a young family.

He has broken the topic down for himself, and developed a very logical way of deciding how to think about climate change and how to entertain our own personal individual decision making on this very important global topic.

I have read a lot about climate change, but this is a very excellent book that has helped me interpret and think about the topic in a much more comprehensive decision-making manner.

I highly recommend this book!!!
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Format: Paperback
*Disclaimer - Greg is a good college friend, so I am in no way objective in this review . He's no newcomer to the debate, though, and has been passionate about this topic since the late 80's. I remember talking Peak Oil late into the night on more than one occasion.*

That said - the strength and value of this book is not just in its parsing of the climate change debate and its permutations. It is as an excellent primer for the layperson on critical thought, the scientific process, and understanding how to look beyond the sound bites and understand the perspective of the various parties making arguments on both sides of the issue. These elements are as important, or more important, than the main thesis of the book as it helps us be better, more educated, and thoughtful citizens. These tools that Greg presents can be used in a wide variety of arguments and issues that we approach.
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Ditto the good reviews: "I cannot recommend this book enough". Accessible, cuts through all the BS. A great lesson, not just in the dangers of global over-heating, but also in evaluating information and critical thinking.

SHould be required reading for every high school student.
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This is a great guide for anyone who has been embroiled in a controversial debate where there is lots of data but the 95% confidence answer is elusive. It lays out a method of thinking about a problem so you can arrive at a reasonable position without shooting yourself in the foot.
One scenario he pays little attention to however is that if AGW turns out to be very real and +400ppm CO2 plus methane release causes catastrophic warming; flooding coastal cities, decimating formerly stable agrarian regions, toppling governments, inflicting massive human casualties, destroying economies etc. Mr. Craven would put this in the worst of all possible outcomes box- doing nothing and getting catastrophe as the payoff. But would that indeed be the worst possible outcome? I think you could argue that human life on this planet might be in need of a very severe course correction. A +5 degree global temperature rise might be just the ticket to do it- the reset button that is missing in this book.

At the very least, reading this book might make you look at some of your strongly held positions, not just on climate change, and force you to think about how you got there.
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