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Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed -- and What It Means for Our Future

Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed -- and What It Means for Our Future [Kindle Edition]

Dale Jamieson

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Product Description


"An invaluable contribution to the dialogue about how to minimize the inevitable social and environmental devastation that looms large in our future." -- Booklist"Dale Jamieson is a philosopher and a realist. He was been working on climate change for a quarter of a century, alongside both scientists and policy makers. He argues that we are heading down a dangerous road and will likely have to face a much more difficult world. But he also argues that there is so much we can do individually and collectively to make a difference, and warns that the best must not be the enemy of the good. This is a very thoughtful and valuable book and should be read by all those who would wish to bring reason to a defining challenge of our century." --Professor Lord Nicholas Stern"No one but Dale Jamieson could write an eminently readable book about climate change that ranges over the full sweep of the problem from the historical to the ethical, the scientific to the political. By placing this vexing issue into the broader context of the human condition, Jamieson guides the reader's mood from pessimism to optimism, and finally realism about our prospects." --Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University "Part requiem for our failed hopes and part vision for our uncertain future, this remarkably far-ranging work by the philosopher who has thought longest and hardest about climate change could inspire fruitfully radical reassessment of our attitudes toward the most far-reaching challenge of our lifetimes. The climate is changing -- can we?" --Henry Shue, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford"A highly informative, wise, and thought-provoking discussion of some of the greatest problems that humanity faces, and of some possible solutions." --Derek Parfit, All Souls College, Oxford

Product Description

From the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference there was a concerted international effort to stop climate change. Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life.
In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries.
Climate change also threatens our sense of meaning, since it is difficult to believe that our individual actions matter. The challenges that climate change presents go beyond the resources of common sense morality -- it can be hard to view such everyday acts as driving and flying as presenting moral problems. Yet there is much that we can do to slow climate change, to adapt to it and restore a sense of agency while living meaningful lives in a changing world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1536 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199337667
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (28 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I7V0USG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #681,812 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive overview 2 April 2014
By Jenny B - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dale Jamieson coherently covers a lot of ground in this book and has many good footnotes. He explains the history of climate change politics and economic shortcomings well, but his consideration of the causes and of climate change philosophy differentiate it from others in the climate policy field.

I especially liked Jamieson's description of the role of science in US society. He notes the gulf in perspective between scientists and public policy makers caused by the requirements for "success" in their fields. An amusing anecdote about the Supreme Court case for the EPA's regulation of CO2 was also apt; Jamieson explains that Justice Scalia mixed up the words 'troposphere' and 'stratosphere'. After being corrected by a scientist, he replied, "Whatever. I'm not a scientist," to laughter among the "sympathetic" audience of lawyers and journalists (62). Jamieson considers how the audience would have taken a similar quip if it had been about a basis of economics or politics, such as "Supply and Demand. Whatever, I'm not an economist." He asserts that US society generally doesn't prioritize scientific bases, and our ignorance "can lead people to both overestimate what science can do and feel betrayed when it fails to live up to these pretensions" (63).

Two parts of the book stood out to me as having room for improvement. In his explanation of climate change philosophy and values, he focuses exclusively on human impacts for future generations and for people in developing countries. His being an environmental philosopher, I thought it was interesting that he never mentions philosophical ideas related to ecological and non-human impacts in the present and future. This significantly narrows his focus to human society, as may have been his preference. Jamieson also refers several times in the book to the "biggest problem" in addressing climate change: a psychological component. While he explains other factors in some depth, he addresses this in only two pages. Mentioning some of the research in environmental and climate change psychology and communication (Robert Gifford, Kari Norgaard, Susan Moser) could have significantly contributed to this section.

Jamieson concludes that we will continue to address climate change in a piecemeal and messy fashion. Overall, I think he does a great job in explaining many aspects of climate change with thought and depth.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's time to wake up 9 July 2014
By Rahasya Poe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle against Climate Change Failed—And What It Means for Our Future
By Dale Jamieson
ISBN: 978-0-19933-766-8 (Oxford University Press, 2014)

It's fairly easy to see that we have a serious climate problem on our planet. But what's not so easy to see is why we are not responding to this appropriately. Global climate change will undoubtedly affect the way we live and where we live. … And if we live. Yet our political systems are totally inadequate to take appropriate steps and to be truthful with us about this situation. This book goes deep into the psychological reasons this is so and why we still need to make a significant response to this problem. If you've ever wondered what you can do as an individual or why you should even try, this book is a must-read for you.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for non-specialists 13 April 2014
By Marc Bekoff - Published on
This is a great book for non-specialists as well as those whose research centers on climate change - it's easy to read and very well referenced - a most welcomed addition to the growing literature on what's really happening to our one and only precious planet ...
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No page numbers 1 April 2014
By Russell A. Jacobs - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This looks to be a great book, but it is mis-advertised. The Kindle version does NOT have "real" (or any other sort of) page numbers, a serious problem if you are buying this for scholarly reasons, as I did.
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