Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats Paperback – 1 May 2010
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Terrifying is just one of the words to leap off the page. --Bookseller
About the Author
Gwynne Dyer has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, author, broadcaster, and lecturer on international affairs for more than 20 years. Dyer has served in the Canadian, British, and American navies. He holds a PhD in war studies from the University of London, has taught at Sandhurst, and has served on the Board of Governors of Canada's Royal Military College. His twice-weekly column on international affairs is published by 175 newspapers in 45 countries, and is translated into more than a dozen languages. He is the author of several books, including War, Future: Tense, and The Mess They Made.
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Dyer's book contains eight scenarios for possible futures, each of which is used to powerful effect to introduce a discussion of the science and politics of climate change. These discussions are well-written, clear and non-technical, but with plenty of persuasive and compelling detail. If you know nothing about the IPCC, or Kyoto, or the shambolic Copenhagen Accord, you could find a lot worse places to start than here.
Dyer's background is in military history, but he's clearly taken the time to engage with a lot of scientists, engineers and environmentalists, and it really shows. Not everyone - especially not most of the environmentalists - will feel happy with his ultimate recommendation; at the end of the day this book is a bleak, reluctant, pessimistic manifesto for geo-engineering, which Dyer feels we need to develop at least as a fall-back for if everything else fails. It's hard to read the book without being driven to the same conclusion.
For those of us with academic backgrounds in ecological science and/or a couple of years of climate debate behind us several of its chapters are climate change science and policy repetition. But for me - working on mapping the links between natural resources and conflict - chapter 1 is a great summary with extra insights to the geopolitics of predicted climate change impacts.
And the factual chapters are interspersed with scenarios. Being eager to dissect the book for information I find the structure of the factual / non-scenario chapters a bit too mixed up to help make the book as a whole more of a page turning thriller. The future scenarios are not predictions. They are more like not unlikely cases told with some necessary filling from Dyer's imagination. The longer into the future one tries to imagine the more uncertainty is in play - but the first scenarios are quite imaginable.
So, Dyers book is really good. But my own will be even better ;-)
A very intresting Book, shows what could happen if we just sit back and wait. I feel the story line is a bit cloudy but he is writing about the what if future, and not that far in to the future, have a read on line and go for it.
He describes in some detail the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference, and he argues that similar reasons as for that failure will make it in future also very difficult to reach an agreement on how to tackle the climate change problem.
He pays a lot of attention to how little time we have left to avoid the worst. He has little confidence that we can do much with conventional means, and discusses extensively geo-engineering options. My only critique on the book is that the author seems too optimistic about these options, although his general outlook is quite pessimistic. He hardly mentions possible side effects.
This is a very scary book, and you should read it if you care about the future. It shows just how dire humanity's situation may become this century.