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The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Climate Change [Kindle Edition]

Fred Pearce
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Climate change is not a matter of gradually increasing temperatures. New scientific findings about how our planet works show that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, it lurches into another mode of operation. Man-made global warming is on the verge of unleashing unstoppable planetary forces. Biological and geological monsters are being woken, and they will consume us. Virtually overnight Nature's revenge will be sudden and brutal, like a climatic tsunami sweeping across the globe. No question, we are the last generation to live with any kind of climatic stability.

In this impassioned report, Fred Pearce travels the world on the story to end them all. Most troubling, while visiting the places where the action may start: deep in the Amazon, high in the Arctic and among the bogs of Siberia, he uncovers the first signs that nature's revenge is already under way.

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...[S]uperbly explains and dramatizes both the causes and consequences of climate change. One reads it both gripped and deeply alarmed -- Robert Macfarlane

Coherent and highly readable…Pearce has sounded the final warning…This book is a call to action we dare not ignore -- The Rt Hon John Gummer MP

He is a sceptic of the best sort, saying nothing until he has seen the truth of it for himself. -- Richard Girling, Sunday Times

Important reading for policy makers, climate-change skeptics and
anyone planning a future beyond the next decade.
-- Kirkus, starred review

Pearce is no idle Jeremiah...his book signals a shift of tone in the popular debate. -- James Flint, Daily Telegraph

Pearce's scholarly and thoughtful book…will guide us in a sensible retreat to the place where we can negotiate a peace -- James Lovelock

This is a powerful book about the most important event in human history. Read it. -- Professor Lord May OM FRS, Oxford University

This is the most frightening book that I have ever read...everyone should read this book -- John Gribbin, The Independent

Very readable...Pearce is excellent at explaining the fantastically complex interrelationships of Earth systems. -- Steven Poole, The Guardian

a well-researched book that makes the science accessible and exiting, The Last Generation is an ideal choice -- Fiona Archer,

From the Back Cover

'Apocalyptic in its vision, but never scare-mongering, The Last Generation superbly explains and dramitizes both the causes and the consequneces of climate change. One reads it both gripped and deeply alarmed.'

Since the last ice age, almost 13,000 years ago, humans have prospered in a stable, predictable climate. But our generation is the last to be so blessed. In The Last Generation Fred Pearce lays bare the terrifying prognosis for our planet now being sketched out in learned scientific journals. We are at a tipping point. Climate change from now on will not be gradual, maintains Pearce - nature doesn't do gradual change. In the past, Europe's climate has switched from Arctic to tropical in three to five years. It can happen again. So forget what environmentalists have told you about nature being fragile, a helpless victim of human excess. The truth is the opposite. She is a wild and resourceful beast given to fits of rage. And now that we are provoking her beyond endurance, she is starting to seek her revenge.

'We are now at war with Gaia and have no chance whatever of winning. Fred Pearce's scholarly and thoughtful book analyzes the battlefield and will guide us in a sensible retreat to the place where we can negotiate a peace.'

'Fred Pearce has sounded the final warning...It is as if we are all on a plane with the auto-pilot set to crash.'

Read this book. Your children's future depends on it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening but important 15 July 2006
If you were worried by James Lovelock's book Revenge of Gaia, you will be scared stiff by Fred Pearce's version of the same story. His message is essentially that human impacts on the climate and other ecological features of our planet are reaching a tipping point where it will be impossible to reverse the changes, whatever we do. The evidence is that ice caps don't take thousands of years to melt, for example, but could go in a rush so that sea level rises by 30 metres in ten years, before the end of this century. If you live in London or round the coast, think what that means. And it's just one of he threats we face. Pearce's writing style is very direct and personal, like reading a good quality newspaper, and he pulls no punches. Buy a copy and send it to your MP.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does Earth need Alcoholics Anonymous? 12 Oct. 2006
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Once, climate was seen like a sedate matron, ambling along at a measured pace. According to Fred Pearce, the climate is more like a drunk, lurching from one place to another in sporadic, unpredictable lunges. Rapid climate change was once considered a local phenomenon. Older, unprepared civilisations in one region staggered under shifts of weather, collapsing in the heat, but easily replaced by more efficient neighbours. Research has shown, argues Pearce, that the entire globe is interconnected through complex patterns. Even the starting points of climate changes are hidden in the mists of time. Until today. Now it's the byproducts of our society that are prompting the changes. How drastic these may be and where the changes will be most severe is the subject of this excellent, if very frightening account.

Fred Pearce has been in the climate investigation reporting business for nearly twenty years. He knows the players and he understands their work. His intimate knowledge of their views and the science behind those outlooks provide a sound foundation for his summation of how climate change is occurring. And it is occurring, he argues. It's happening so fast that he can confidently assert that this is "The Last Generation" that will enjoy anything like climate stability. That lurching drunk is more powerful and less predictable than previously imagined.

With his long experience to buttress his presentation, Pearce covers all the bases. Moving from polar ice through ocean currents to wind patterns, he provides a thorough examination of the issues and the people studying them. The eminent Wally Broecker, who proposed "the Great Ocean Conveyor" circulating polar water around the globe is carefully described. Pearce doesn't want to invoke Broecker's ire over a mis-statement.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I've studied Environmental Science at degree level and I've got to say this is a very good overview the main climate science theories. It provides and honest and damn right scary synopsis of (mostly) well established climate science. It doesn't pretend to have all the answers but the sciences it presents is supportable and has been reviewed and tested by many scientists. Educational, open, honest and the stuff which nightmares are made of. The next few decades promises to be very different indeed and if the more extreme predictions showcased in this book are true (and there a chance they could be) then we could be facing the end of another civilization on planet earth. Compelling reading for skeptics and believers alike.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so now - you can't say you weren't warned..... 28 July 2006
This is an engrossing, spine chilling, trenchant book.

All the more so given the thorough-going credibility of the author (his lack of axe to grind), his solid track record in science journalism, his depth of research and the testicle-crushing urgency of the subject matter.

Read it and scream. It's ok. That's what a sane human being should do. But then act.

I've only one criticism. Why, oh why, can he not 'name the beast'?

The problem - THE PROBLEM - is not the environment, still less is it the climate dynamics. It's us. Humans. Too many of us. Taking too much. Presuming even more. First we cut back on insane energy wastage, then we cut back on us, our numbers. Why is this kind of prescription difficult for top knotch science writers like Fred to articulate?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling read on global warming. 29 Jan. 2007
By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
'The Last Generation' is a chilling read concerning the likely dire consequences of man-made global warming.
Very clearly written Fred Pearce's book puts forward detailed and convincing scientific evidence that human fossil fuel burning is producing dramatic changes in the world's climate. Unless government's take drastic action to reduce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the next decade nature will take its revenge and "climate monsters" will be unleashed.
As the experienced climate scientist, Wally Broecker says, "climate is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks".
As many people as possible should this scar but thoughtful book, especially climate change deniers such as Nigel Lawson and Jeremy Clarkson. It may even convert a few of them.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fred Pearce, a scientific journalist, hopes he is "in the best sense, a sceptical environmentalist", doubtless a dig at Lomborg, although he makes it clear early on that his scepticism is mainly as to whether the IPCC's predictions go far enough - much of the book explores what he calls "Type II" climate change, those abrupt and irreversible changes that some argue will occur as a result of crossing climatic "tipping points".

Pearce starts with the history of the science of the greenhouse effect - starting with Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius. The latter was a Swedish scientist who made extensive manual calculations about the likely effect on global temperatures through increased atmospheric CO2 in the late nineteenth century. I was surprised at Pearce's suggestion that, for all their computers, modern climate change scientists' methods are essentially the same as his were, and that his calculation as to the effect of doubling atmospheric CO2 came essentially to the same result as the IPCC.

He goes on to explore much of the current evidence for warming, particularly melting ice, and to describe the tipping point effects, including methane "megafarts" and the breakdown of the "ocean conveyors" including the Gulf Stream. He writes with first hand experience of having visited scientists in some of the most remote parts of the world, and even the most hardened sceptics should stop and think about Pearce's evidence as to the extent to which glaciers and ice sheets are melting.

Pearce is inclined to dismiss "sceptics" politely but perfunctorily. For example, at the end of the second chapter, he says "despite their sometimes cynical motives...they are, if nothing else, helping to keep the good guys honest".
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