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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 30 March 2008
After being forced fed facts of climate change by the media I just assumed we should do something about it, but never really thought beyond scientific or economical grounds.

This book cuts straight to moral questions which I had never considered before and in language everyone can understand.
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on 19 March 2008
Books on climate change are fashionable right now. The basic fact is settled: our carbon emissions are changing the global weather system, with deleterious and potentially catastrophic results. But few books address the moral questions this raises. Whose responsibility is it? What should we do about it? Why should we even care?

James Garvey presents a careful discussion of just these issues. He explains the science clearly and concisely, but his focus is on moral philosophy. It is as good an introduction to this topic as it is to climate change. Witty without being frivolous, explanatory but never condescending, it is engaging and challenging in equal measure.
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on 2 December 2008
As someone who was concerned about climate change but not yet convinced about what should be done I found this book to be a clear and easily understandable introduction to both climate change issues and ethics in general.

Garvey's writing style is pitched perfectly for someone who is not a philospher or a scientist but still wants to work through the complex issues and arguments surrounding climate change. Whether you agree with Garvey or not this book clearly lays out the ethical questions involved and is a great place to start for anybody interested understanding climate change and what we should or shouldn't be doing about it.
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on 2 December 2008
Being a novice in the world of philosophy, I found this book to be a thought provoking and worthy read as an introduction to climate change without the trappings of being forced fed a particular opinion. For me the down to earth approach to the issue worked well, with balanced arguements littered throughout the text that ultimately proved to be much more than just a book to read on the train to work. Highly recommended.
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on 18 March 2008
Well, I must admit that before reading this book, I was not so much a climate sceptic as a climate nihilist. Warming-schwarming, I thought -- there's not much we can do, and are we really worth saving anyway? The planet can look after itself. But now, having read the work, a) I am convinced that climate change is our fault, and therefore our responsibility; b) that we owe it to our descendants to start sorting the mess out; and c) that any change made that improves the situation is worthwhile.

The procession of argument contained in the book is logical, and never condescending or patronising, which unfortunately climate-change books can be. And the angle at which the topic is approached is one I had not encountered before. That there was a moral aspect to the climate change problem was something I had not heretofore considered (though in retrospect, it seems obvious). And while the book has not turned me into a tub-thumping green proselytiser, its carefully schooled facts and cleverly marshalled arguments arising from those facts have left me, well, with no choice other than to take some action, however small, in recognition of my inherited moral responsibility as a resident of a developed nation.

I don't know whether to thank Garvey for opening my eyes, or curse him for blinding me with the truth.
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on 21 May 2014
Not bad ... Its voice is clear, but I honestly hoped for more from the title. My problem is clearly with moral philosophy rather than its useful climate change take: it felt too discursive, when in fact there is so much direct action needed. I read it all though, so three stories for the clarity of the writing which pulled me through.
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on 2 December 2008
I'll place my reviewing credentials up front: I'm no philosopher, or hardcore environmental activist for that matter - the main reason for buying this was because I very much enjoyed one of Garvey's previous books (Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books).

Garvey's writing style is very accessible and (remarkably considering the weight of the subject matter) often very amusing. Far from being "baby-talk" or "patronising" (words I was extremely surprised to hear mentioned in other reviews), this book has a way of guiding you through complex philosophical arguments and counter-arguments with great clarity and ease. You often feel more like you are engaged in a discussion rather than reading a book as he regularly prods the reader to stop and think.

The book first provides a brief account of the field of ethical philosophy then summarises the strength of the evidence for global warming. Personally, I'm surprised that anyone still regards the idea of man-made climate change in any way controversial, however the book employs peer-reviewed scientific observations and well-reasoned arguments to dispel any lingering doubts.

It is then argued that if we accept a certain level of accountability for climate change and this climate change has caused/is causing/will cause human hardships (all of which you'll find very difficult to argue against), we all have a personal moral obligation to take action and the book provides a summary of what those appropriate responses may be.

In conclusion, I found that having the argument moved from a general "Yes, it's rubbish but it doesn't matter what we do, we're all doomed" to clear, logical reasoning stating our personal moral obligation to take action has genuinely impacted on my day-to-day actions.

Highly recommended.
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on 4 July 2008
I need to declare my position vis-à-vis climate change - I was already well convinced both about the seriousness of the issue and the need for personal action, before reading this book But I was intrigued to see what philosophy, a subject I was very ignorant of, had to offer.

Having read the book, or most of it, as expected I do not think it will change my life style - I believe I am already living most of what Garvey argues. That said, I was surprised to find the book so interesting. I gained two things from it: the gentle introduction to philosophy, and some theoretical and moral arguments (as opposed to the technical ones I have based my actions on to date) supporting the case for urgent action. For those friends of mine indisposed to make changes to their lifestyle, for example on the basis that their personal actions would be too small to matter, I now have some reasoned arguments to suggest an alternative view.

For those coming to the subject unread, or for those versed more in the arts than the sciences, there is a useful and easily read summary of the technical aspects of climate change before the philosophical and moral issues are presented. Unsurprisingly Garvey refers to the views of a number of individual philosophers. I found it interesting to have a small encyclopaedia to hand that I could use to provide something of their life, whether they were contemporary or from earlier centuries.

Garvey has a pleasant, relaxed writing style and has done well to give us a good overview of this exceedingly important subject in a small volume. The book is well referenced and indexed. I have no hesitation in recommending it to any who have not yet been convinced by the threat presented by climate change, and to the larger community who have been unable so far to change their life style accordingly.
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on 5 August 2008
I'm sorry to be the one to pour the first cold water in this one. I found the book insufferably patronising. The style is condescendingly matey; there is a frequent use of almost baby-talk (why use the word 'stuff' so frequently when the English language contains so many words for describing things exactly?) and there is an over-extended pre-occupation with the use of the feminine personal pronoun so that the author can display his right-on credentials. These verbal tics almost made me give up on it. It's only the last twenty pages that are concerned with the ethics of climate change -- the previous 150 plus are marshalling of the facts with no consideration of ethical treatment. Poor
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on 2 December 2008
Garvey's writing style is like having a conversation with a good friend. Humors at times, the book is written in clear language that is both accessible and absorbing. The first part of the book gives a salient overview of what climate change actually is. A few well-chosen scientific findings are presented that clearly show climate change is happening and furthermore is linked directly to the activities of post industrial revolution humankind. This allows Garvey to establish credibility for the arguments presented in the second half of the book. Once this link has been firmly established, the moral and ethical implications are compelling and engaging.
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