Most of us are familiar with the terms climate change and global warming, but not too many of us understand the science behind them. We don't really understand how climate change will affect us, and for that reason we might not consider it as pressing a concern as, say, housing prices or the quality of local education. This book explains the scientific knowledge about global climate change clearly and concisely in engaging, nontechnical language, describes how it will affect all of us, and suggests how government, business, and citizens can take action against it.
If people don't quite understand the seriousness of climate change, it is partly because politicians and the media have misrepresented the scientific community's strong consensus on it—politicians by selectively parsing the words of mainstream scientists, and the media by presenting "balanced" accounts that give the views of a small number of contrarians equal weight with empirically supported scientific findings. The science is complex, couched in the technical language of sinks, forcing, and albedo, and invokes probabilities, risks, ranges, and uncertainties. Policy discussions use such unfamiliar terms as no regrets policy, clean development mechanism, and greenhouse-gas intensity.
Climate Change explains the nuts and bolts of climate and the greenhouse effect and describes their interaction. It discusses the nature of consensus in science, and the consensus on climate change in particular. It describes both public- and private-sector responses, considers how to improve the way scientific findings are communicated, and evaluates the real risks both to vulnerable developing countries and to particular areas of the United States. We can better tackle climate change, this book shows us, if we understand it. We can use this knowledge to guide our own behavior and pressure governments and businesses to take action.
John Abatzoglou, Joseph F. C. DiMento, Pamela Doughman, Richard A. Matthew, Stefano Nespor, Naomi Oreskes, and Andrew C. Revkin
About the Editors
Joseph F. C. DiMento is Professor in the School of Law and Director of the Newkirk Center for Science and Society at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of The Global Environment and International Law, among other books, and coeditor of Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren (MIT Press, 2007).
Pamela Doughman is Technical Director of the California Energy Commission's Renewable Energy Program.
"A lucid argument for the importance of small, individual steps in the effort to combat global warming, as well as global policy changes." , Deborah Donovan, Booklist
"Climate Change is a welcome addition to the public discussion of this vital issue. It is readable, well documented, and focused on the most important dimensions of the problem. The authors provide an excellent discussion not only of what we know and how we know it, but also of what climate change means for human security, now and into the future. Useful reading for anyone interested in understanding the problem and being part of the solution."
—Ken Conca, Professor of Government and Politics and Director, Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda, University of Maryland
"This ambitious book presents an accessible and engaging analysis of themulti-faceted issue of climate change. I recommend the book for anyoneseeking to understand the process by which scientific consensus has beenreached on the reality of human-caused climate change. I also recommend thebook for those wishing to understand the societal and environmental threatposed by climate change, the challenges journalists face in conveying thatthreat, the political obstacles in dealing with it, and the ethicalconsiderations that surround it."
—Michael Mann, Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, andco-founder of the website "RealClimate.org"
"This book gives a great overview of the science and politics of climatechange, from the causes and effects of climate change, to what we know anddo not know about the science and how that knowledge has become politicized,to the many political efforts at all levels of governance to address theissue. Climate Change is written by acknowledged experts and yet reads withone voice; written in a way that will be accessible to novices and alsoappreciated by scholars. It gives both accurate information and hope. Ifyou're only going to read one book on climate change, this onewould certainly be a good candidate."
—Elizabeth R. DeSombre, Frost Associate Professor of Environmental Studiesand Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College