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Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet Paperback – 4 Feb 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (4 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007209053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007209057
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Scientists predict that global temperatures will rise by between one and six degrees over the course of this century and Mark Lynas paints a chilling, degree-by-degree picture of the devastation likely to ensue unless we act now…“Six Degrees” is a rousing and vivid plea to choose a different future.’ Daily Mail

‘The saga of how, in the world as imagined by thousands of computer-modelling studies, global warming kicks in degree by degree. “Six Degrees”, I tell you now, is terrifying.’ Sunday Times

‘Brilliant and higly readable.’ Sunday Times

From the Publisher

WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE PRIZE 2008

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Nicholson on 16 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I was given this by a friend who accidently purchased two copies with her Amazon 'one click'! I took it on holiday to Brasil with me (!) and loved it. I thought it was a well written book that presented some otherwise impossible to understand data in an entertaining and enjoyable way (if reading about how the end of the human race might look like can be called enjoyable). It is meant to be an emotive book as the author does want you to get off your behind and do something about it - and to do it NOW. So I guess he has picked and chosen research to back up his beliefs. I don't have a problem with this and thought the author was honest about the fact that no one really knows what is going to happen and the models aren't predictions but are just possible scenarios. The information I found most interesting was about when/how oil was formed (and how this cooled the earth all those years ago) and how by burning it we are basically reheating the planet. If anything this book made me feel less guilty about forgetting to recyle every scrap of cardboard or taking a long haul flight for a holiday, and made me more aware that if governments through-out the world keep putting economic growth first on their agenda then quite frankly it's not looking good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rhysthomashello on 15 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read many climate change books and this is up there with the best. I initially distrusted the book because it was written by a journalist and not a scientist but it soon becomes clear that this is far more a science book than a ranting journo. The author skilfully draws together his research into a terrifying format of a world affected by first one, then two, then three degrees warming. By the time you get to what would happen at six degrees of warming you are pretty much desensitised to the horror.

One of the good things about the book is the author's honesty. Where the science is sketchy he makes it clear. At five and six degrees how the world will react is impossible to say at the moment but Lynas makes this absolutely clear to the reader, explaining that this is almost uncharted territory and that his ideas are more speculative. At this level of warming he delves into past climates to find analogues in earth's history for what might happen.

Another good thing that I particularly liked is the final chapter. Most climate change books cop out by saying that there's still time to change things. Lynas does try to offer hope but also points out how unlikely it is that anything will stop the mess that man has caused, and continues to cause. He talks about the nature of man here, how he can deny or justify anything and this is fascinating. It's also the crux of the climate change problem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Quality Guy on 7 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am neither a green hippie or a climate change denier so I read this with an open mind.

This book is well written, each chapter covers the possibilities based on each 1 degree rise in temperature. By the end it does become a little tedious but I enjoyed the book and found its arguments compelling.
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68 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 19 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
It's hard to understand how there could be any climate change "sceptics" remaining. Perhaps they have failed to comprehend the long view of what the circumstances are. What does an increase in global temperatures really mean? Mark Lynas has culled the massive number of reports on the topic and here woven them into a comprehensive picture of likely futures for this planet. In this effective work, he lines out what the changes in our biosphere are likely to be over the next decades. It's a chilling account and one that should be in the hands of every industrialist, policy-maker and tax-paying consumer.

Using the data supplied by his extensive resources, Lynas depicts global and regional changes in environment due to increase over time. His temperature range selection is driven by the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC's reports indicate a six degree Celsius increase over the next century. Integrating the scientific research on the biosphere, IPCC is able to review existing and past conditions and those likely to ensue in the future. Lynas synthesizes the reports to present a picture of conditions likely with each degree of heat will lead to over time. The first degree is typified by examples of drought. The Great Plains of the US trans-Mississippi is already showing signs of that dry-out. The author explains that drought in one place may be off-set by rainstorms elsewhere. Heat over land desiccates, but heat over water increases evaporation leading to greater precipitation. Even with but a single step up in temperature, the rains may be intense in some locales. This seems to be occurring already, with ravaging storms displacing many refugees. Katrina is almost certainly an example of the new environment.
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Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading the book and think it should be required reading for all politicians worldwide (some hope!)

The author has scoured scientific research to find out what may happen if the world warms by an average of 1°C, or 2°C, etc up to 6°C, beyond which there's apparently no scientific opinions. The scenarios are often based on geological evidence of events many thousands of years ago, so nothing is a guaranteed outcome, but it makes scary and compelling reading.
Opinions vary as to whether it's possible for us (as a species) to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions sufficiently to save ourselves from the more extreme temperature rises although I would agree that it does seem doubtful, and it seems to boil down to whether major disruption on human societies will happen within our lifetime, or that of our children's (it seems that it will be noticeable before our grandchildren's).

The scary thing is not only thinking that, as an individual, I many not be able to do much more to reduce my own carbon footprint, but that when the disruption starts, I will have no control over what happens with my environment. Imagine a Hurricane Haiyan happening every week, for example -- international aid would soon dry up, and people would have to relocate, putting more pressure on countries and food production etc where the people migrated to. And flooding and desertification could create so many migrants that even people in "safe" areas come under threat from the societal changes as a result of large refugee influxes.

Think I'm painting a depressing picture? Check it out and see what YOU can do to prevent these scenarios from becoming reality. It's as much a commentary on human society as it is on environmental change, and that's what I find is the really scary part! Nothing is certain, except that some warming will happen and we are causing it. It's a riveting read.
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