Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warnings from geological history, 14 April 2013
This review is from: The Goldilocks Planet: The 4 billion year story of Earth's climate (Hardcover)
Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams step back from the current climate debate to look at the broader geological context. Geology can be a bit of a closed book to the uninitiated. But the authors have an easy style, which illuminates both the incredible diversity of geological eras, and how it is that geologists are able to uncover so much detail about events that took place millions of years ago.

What stands out is how fortunate we have been, over the last 11 millennia or so (the Holocene), to have a level of climate stability that can sustain agriculture, long-term urban settlement, and the whole panoply of what we call 'civilisation'. If Earth has, for millions of years, been a Goldilocks planet (neither too hot nor too cold for life), then for human civilisation it is the Holocene that has been, like Goldilocks' porridge, just right. Before then, the authors make clear, abrupt changes in climate, triggered by huge increases in CO2, were commonplace, and hugely disruptive for all forms of life.

It is one of the strengths of this book that current climate concerns remain in the background throughout the early chapters, so that when they come into prominence towards the end, their significance is very much enhanced by what has gone before. The authors are careful not to over-egg their case, but their geological perspective does highlight possibilities for future climate development that are a lot more unpredictable, and scary, than IPCC computer model projections would suggest. And, as geologists, they are acutely aware that the impacts will not stop at the end of this century. The lessons from geological history would seem to be that although atmospheric concentrations of CO2 can rise rapidly (as they have, at our instigation, since the Industrial Revolution), it takes much, much longer for them to return to anything like the levels experienced before the rise started.

This is the sort of book that, once you've read it, you want to keep going back and dipping into. It's full of illuminating insights and connections, like this one on the last page: "We typically pay insurance (on houses, cars), to guard against slight risks of major damage. In considering global climate change, by contrast, there is generally agreed to be a large risk of very great damage.Those who say there is no risk are simply wrong. And yet the insurance premiums remain unpaid. Crazy, isn't it?"

Brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.6 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
£16.99 £13.59
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 157,950