2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Original but Seriously Flawed,
This review is from: High Tide: How Climate Crisis is Engulfing Our Planet: News from a Warming World (Paperback)Posibly the first book on Global Warming to leave the laboratory and actually get out to the frontline of environmental damage, this is part personal memoir part campaigning journalism. The writing is impressively good and very readable, the author has a real knack of making places come alive and giving problems a human dimension.
However books like these also need some hard science and here there are too many weaknesses. For example early on he speculates that trees may not be able to breach the urban barrier of the Northern Metropolitan areas as they are forced to migrate North in a warmer UK. A bizarre howler that reveals his misunderstanding of urban geography (Greater Manchester is not a contiguous concrete bloc), plant dispersal (surprisingly resilient) and agricultural land management (a huge number of trees have been specifially planted by landowners for many years).
More significantly he fails to consider that geological factors can ensure that islands can sink into the sea without any overall global rise in sea levels; that glaciers have been in retreat in tropical areas for over a century and even during periods when it has been generally getting colder (deforestration following local population increases are most probably to blame) and that dust storms in central Asia largely reflect bad land management (particularly but not only under centralised state farming regimes).
In short it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the author is looking for evidence of something he has decided already exists rather than generating a case from first principles. As a result the book has made me far more sceptical about global warming as a theory. Almost certainly this wasn't the author's intention but it is to his credit that he has presented his research sufficiently to allow me to draw this conclusion.
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Initial post: 15 Sep 2008 11:46:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Sep 2008 11:48:30 BDT
Caroline Walcot says:
Well, don't place too much credence on this review, which doesn't come from an expert - Lintott normally reviews CD albums. It is fine to have some healthy scepticism, but to rate a book down just because you can't fit it into a category is like rating a music album down because it doesn't fit into an acknowledged musical genre. I started working with climate change experts & industrialists back in 1992, have read Lynas' book "Six degrees" and can say with some certainty that if Lynas is unsure of a fact, he says so. And his personalised presentation is just a way of making the reader finish the book. (Anybody who has read Al Gore's "Earth in the Balance" and "An Inconvenient Truth" will see immediately that the author had to learn to present his info in a more 'sound bite' way to get through to his audience.)
Now finally I am going to order "High Tide" because Lintott's review tells me he hasn't understood at all what Mark Lynas had set out to do. And remember, with every 5 years, the General Public becomes far less ignorant and uninformed about climate change and global warming than before. The lessons of deforested Haiti, with multi hits of tropical storms and hurricanes in 2008, provide new ammo. The surface of the Pacific Ocean is too warm - why?
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2009 21:38:30 GMT
the listener says:
"The all important three star review !!"
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