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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The facts, but still too much optimism, 31 Jan 2010
This review is from: Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
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This pocket-sized book is from the extensive series of `very short introductions' by Oxford University Press. It was very useful to read on trains. It is a solid reference book, with plenty of guides to further reading and study. It was perfect for my purpose - to become an informed amateur on the subject.

It explains the science and the politics of the science very fluently. It is calm and objective, but firmly putting down doubts and canards about whether global warming is actually happening and whether or not humans are a prime cause of the current phase of warming. The conclusions are clear, but still cast in an admirable Popperian humility and willingness to go on searching for truth and facing difficult facts.

Buried in it are some appallingly depressing facts. For instance, the worst case scenario of the IPCC for carbon dioxide emissions in the 21st Century is already being exceeded by a large margin and accelerating. The consensus modelled predictions for consequent temperature rise in by 2100 are around 6 degrees. The impacts of this scenario in terms of weather patterns, sea level, ocean acidity, fresh water scarcity, crop yields, disease, biodiversity and human population are so bad that the author simply writes `Don't go there' - having described the probable outcomes of lower temperature changes.

He tries to inject a positive note at the end by describing solutions and his personal vision of a new urban environment. But, frankly, these ideas seem like pissing in the wind, compared with the possible changes to our sustaining environment soberly examined in the book.

John Vernon
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Feb 2010 19:01:04 GMT
clarity says:
The praise you express for this book in so many central respects contributes to my decision to buy the book in order to get an overview myself.

Your mere 3-star rating seems incredibly unfair, however, given that you take the book to be quite perfectly crafted; I cannot see how your rating coheres with your description. From what you say it sounds as if the author does make clear how bad things might get, and that you're unhappy about him injecting a positive note rather than a negative one at the end. Now _that_ is hardly a point that affects the quality of the book, is it!?

Posted on 4 Mar 2012 17:17:15 GMT
"The consensus modelled predictions" sums up the problem. Models that assume a non-changeable climate as a start point, ignore the direction of cloud forcing, ignore the El Nino and Pacific Decadeal Oscillation and totally ignore the recently discovered "pacific vent" phenominum. Models that have failed to predict the 21st century cooling - 14 models used in the IPCC report got it wrong despite their megabucks computers. Garbage in - garbage out!
Is all climate science now done in front of a computer? - they should get out more.
John Darlington
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J. Vernon
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Location: Surrey, UK

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