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Fixing Climate: The story of climate science - and how to stop global warming [Paperback]

Robert Kunzig , Wallace Broecker
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 May 2008

With Broeker as his guide, award-winning science writer Robert Kunzig looks back at Earth's volatile climate history so as to shed light on the challenges ahead. Ice ages, planetary orbits, a giant 'conveyor belt' in the ocean ... it's a riveting story full of maverick thinkers, extraordinary discoveries and an urgent blueprint for action.

Likening climate to a slumbering beast, ready to react to the smallest of prods, Broecker shows how assiduously we've been prodding it, by pumping 70 million tonnes of CO2 into the air each year. Fixing Climate explains why we need not just to reduce emissions but to start removing our carbon waste from our atmosphere. And in a thrilling last section of the book, we learn how this could become reality, using 'artificial trees' and underground storage.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Green Profile (29 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846688604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846688607
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 968,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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...the presence of a co-writer adds to the charm of the story, for Robert Kunzig seems to have fallen for Mr Broecker and his world. It is easy to see why. (Mr Kunzig) has a lovely appreciation of the poetry of science. Buy this one. Forget the rest. (The Economist (US Edn.))

...has made the topic not merely interesting, but fascinating... there may be hope for us yet. (Sunday Business Post (Ireland))

Book Description

We've heard a lot about climate change - but what can we do about it? Wallace Broecker, the eminent scientist who coined the term global warming way back in 1975, believes in a solution emerging on the horizon: 'artificial trees' designed to remove CO2 directly from the air.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The boy's journey to meet the beast began in Los Angeles, in the summer of 1955. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science book of the year? 3 Jun 2008
This really is an outstanding book - or, perhaps, two outstanding books. The first half is essentially the (surprisingly compelling) story of climate science, told in parallel with the remarkable career of Wally Broecker. Its author, Robert Kunzig, wrote one of the great popular science books - Mapping the Deep: The Story of Ocean Science - and has that brilliant knack of slipping difficult science into a familiar, human narrative, so you "get it" without realising you're being challenged.
But it's the second half which is, literally, thrilling, as Kunzig and Broecker outline their vision of CO2 as a "fixable problem", just as the disposal of sewage was a century ago. Their fix is a radical invention by physicist Klaus Lackner (who sounds a genius) which will allow CO2 to be removed from the air by millions of car-sized "carbon scrubbers" and then sequestered in deep ocean or oil wells, or in basalt schists in Iceland.
This is a book that offers hope to the climate crisis. Not that the authors for a second make light of its seriousness: quite the reverse. But they feel that not enough will be done to reduce emissions until it's too late. Unless the Lackner machines can come to our rescue.
An absolutely vital book, and beautifully written. Science book of the year, in my opinion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I read Fixing Climate in around a day and a half as I was transfixed, -it's phenomenal. Firstly, I never thought I would enjoy a 'science' book, let alone one about climate change as everyone is banging on about it, but I found it fascinating. It has a brutal honesty. There is no spin, no opinion, just facts and history, who can argue with that?

It has however made me wonder if turning all the lights off (and my monitor) at night will make a difference to this colossal problem that we face, I think governments are the place where change can happen. I think above all it's wonderfully written with a warm humour which makes it even more enjoyable.

If you read one book on the environment - make it this one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 1 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellant book. A well written and well paced overview of climate change: from ice ages through to the modern era.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite convinced 12 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fixing Climate, by Robert Kunzig and Wallace Broecker (Sort of Books, 2008)

Fixing Climate is an urgent book. It argues that humans are largely responsible for the recent climate change, and that that change poses new and great dangers: drought round the world, and hugely raised sea levels (as much as sixteen feet) caused by the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Two things are special about this book. The first is the case it makes for `abrupt climate change' - a swing from (say) temperate to tundra, from mild to freezing, occurring in a few centuries or less.

The second is that the authors maintain that attempts to regulate, control, and restrict man-made CO2 are doomed to failure. They look carefully at the options (including Kyoto, and the `carbon pie' of Pacala and Socolow) and dismiss almost all of them.

The only hope that the authors can see is to take carbon directly out of the atmosphere, using free-standing scrubbers, spread around the planet, to cleanse all our air. But to counteract the CO2 we produce each year would take 80 million such collectors - and they see major difficulties in disposing of the CO2 that these collectors would extract. Putting it back into the ground is expensive, laborious, and enormously ugly.

So this isn't an easy book: it is urgent, questioning - and worried. But is it convincing? Well, to me at least, not entirely. There are a number of areas where their facts are either contentious or simply wrong. (All the points below are drawn from published literature, in many cases IPCC publications, or from referenced websites.)

1. The thrust of the book is about `tipping points' - the unpredictability of `the climate beast'.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a waste of time. Often assuming and incorrect. 20 Jan 2012
Firstly let me stress I was looking forward to reading this book, as neither AGW religious not "skeptic" I enjoy reading books like this from a science-based factual basis. So first of all I was left with this question regarding this book : "WHERE is the science". rather than use detailed data and analysis, the authors chose to re-hash social commentary and alarmist myths that have no basis in truth. If you are already worshipping at the alter of AGW you will love this book because it gleefully ignores the actual facts about things like actual sea levels and actual global "extreme events" and seems to arbitrarily pick tenuous examples to prove points. The biggest problem I have with this book though is fundamental, they keep referring to climate models and IPCC projections like they have ANY CREDIBILITY !? This I find astonishing. Current global trends in climate and weather patterns show absolutely no correlation whatsoever to the discredited models of the 90s. The models say the global temperature is now soaring when in fact it is trending downwards since 1998. Also I did not see one graph or data-based evidence that would help the reader see the REAL global temperature patterns of the last 2000 years. Educating the reader in this fashion would be helpfull but I can see why they did not do this, because if they had it would render most of two chapters useless commentary. The hockey stick for most neutral observers is now obsolete history, a discredited con-trick. So why keep referring to it !? I would have loved this book to be more deeply searching in areas where they could disprove some of the claims of the so-called "skeptics". Read more ›
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