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on 13 October 2017
Fascinating and worrying book not loved by climate change deniers. No doubt an element of rising temperatures and melting ice is nature at work, but humanity is definitely having a major influence as well. This publication hit the book shelves ten years ago and it mentions more powerful storms. Just look at what happened in the Caribbean not so many weeks ago. This is a worst case scenario but it could all come true in the decades to come.

Ray Smillie
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on 15 October 2010
I've read many climate change books and this is up there with the best. I initially distrusted the book because it was written by a journalist and not a scientist but it soon becomes clear that this is far more a science book than a ranting journo. The author skilfully draws together his research into a terrifying format of a world affected by first one, then two, then three degrees warming. By the time you get to what would happen at six degrees of warming you are pretty much desensitised to the horror.

One of the good things about the book is the author's honesty. Where the science is sketchy he makes it clear. At five and six degrees how the world will react is impossible to say at the moment but Lynas makes this absolutely clear to the reader, explaining that this is almost uncharted territory and that his ideas are more speculative. At this level of warming he delves into past climates to find analogues in earth's history for what might happen.

Another good thing that I particularly liked is the final chapter. Most climate change books cop out by saying that there's still time to change things. Lynas does try to offer hope but also points out how unlikely it is that anything will stop the mess that man has caused, and continues to cause. He talks about the nature of man here, how he can deny or justify anything and this is fascinating. It's also the crux of the climate change problem.
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on 30 September 2017
It is now 2017 and CO2 is at 410ppm, climate change is a Chinese hoax / global warming is good for it brings more rain. Meanwhile, Houston and Puerto Rico are devastated and uninhabitable, Phoenix - Arizona will become uninhabitable by 2050 because of rising temperatures. And that is just part of US.
Fat bank accounts is all that matters to politicians and Oil&Gas companies in US Canada EU Russia China. That is not to say that ordinary citizens care too much although the trend seems to be changing.
Sometimes it seems like Tesla is the only on pushing in the right direction. It all may be too late for much of Earth. Worth fighting though.
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on 7 October 2017
Catastrophic but realistic view of the future which awaits children who are born today. Well written, detailed, it makes you travel from Greenland to Australia, from the hills of Nebraska to Pakistan, etc. Be brave! Read it!
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on 5 November 2012
This book is a timely reminder that climate change is not "going away". Indeed, according to increasingly well-grounded scientific evidence it remains the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced. The power to mitigate it is also in the hands of humanity - but we risk to miss the opportunity. Writing as a committed Christians and a Pastor, I found it extremely helpful - and disturbing in its implications.

"Six degrees" takes its title from the range of global warming potentially in train according to the UN's IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), for the year 2100. That is, from 1 to 6 degrees centigrade. Because of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, that we have already generated by burning fossil fuel over the last 200 years, the process is already well underway, while ongoing carbon emissions threaten to accelerate the process. Furthermore, there are some "non-linearities" that could lead to a much greater likelihood of a bad outcome. For example, there is the risk of massive loss of vegetation if the Amazon basin becomes arid, that would reduce the scope for nature to absorb excess carbon; there is the unknown quantity of carbon gases that may be released as the "permafrost" in Siberia and Canada melts; and there are vast quantities of methane hydrates under the ocean that could release methane at a certain ocean temperature.

The evidence for climate change and its effects are very strong. Not just because sceintific models fit the recent past very well, but because geological evidence shows the impact of climate changes in prehistory, and the massive disruption to life that they caused. Only, in those cases nature had the advantage that events of warming took place over thousands of years, enabling many species of plant and animal to "head for the poles" gradually and continue to survive. Nature will have much less scope to do this in the current episode that is likely to have a major impact over a mere 100 years. Mass extinctions are in prospect even at low levels of warming, especially as coral reefs are highly vulnerable to slight ocean warming, and polar bears and other Arctic creatures will not survive loss of ice cover. But much greater losses are likely at higher temperature rises, not least because mankind has decimated habitats already.

Mankind will not emerge unscathed. At low temperature rises, there are major risks to all coastal cities and numerous islands such as the Maldives will vanish. But if temperature rise is greater, a growing band of desert extending up into Europe and down to Southern Africa can be envisaged. It is impossible that food production and living space could be maintained for the current population, even if tundra could be soon made into cropland. Violence and war will likely accompany such a scramble for survival. Those who are poor will suffer most at all levels of warming - and are already doing so - as the charity Tear Fund rightly remind us (see [...]).

So as these are well established facts, what is a Christian perspective? Well, the "conservative right" in the US seems to want to deny the process, clearly in the vested interest of oil and coal producers but perhaps also with a twisted view of Revelation "if God is going to renew the planet, what does it matter if we wreck the old one"? But I believe our call is to "care for the garden" (Genesis 2:15), especially as the coming of the followers of Jesus is supposed to begin creation's renewal (Romans 8:21), in light of dire warnings of judgement for those who disregard the suffering of the poor (such as Proverbs 21:13) and more generally that in the end-times God will "destroy those who destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:18). Care for the environment needs to be a core Christian concern. The charity A Rocha (see [...]) works well in this area but what a difference it would make if the around 1.8 billion Christians globally sought to minimise their "carbon footprint", and put pressure on governments to enact appropriate policies!
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on 5 April 2010
They say make these reviews fun, but there's nothing to laugh at in this authoritative book. Mark Lynas simply tells us what we can expect if the average temperature of the planet goes up, degree by degree. I was recommended to read this by Sir John Houghton, the former chair of the IPCC, and if he and his fellow scientists are right, we're already looking at two degrees of warming. Mark Lynas tells us what to expect, and then paints a straight picture of what to expect if the globe continues to heat up, harking back to times when the world was much hotter than it is now (and humans weren't around of course) and contemplating the social effects of the climate changes that increasing temperature brings. Sceptics can argue all they like about whether it's happening, but after this book no-one can say they didn't know what would happen if global warming turns out to be true.
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on 24 February 2016
I don't easily give five stars to a review but Mark Lynas has done an excellent job of putting forward the dangers we face with climate change in a form that grabs the attention. By dividing the book into chapters in which each chapter is another degree increase in temperature, Lynas combines solid research into a creeping nightmare. He wrote the book about ten years ago and since then, everything that has happened fits with the book's projections. Definitely recommended.
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on 8 October 2015
I liked this but it was a bit dated now as a lot of the info has been published elsewhere but at least it gives a good idea of the changes to expect as temperatures rise. Oh and it ain't gonna get any better any time soon so start investing in inflatable boats and NASA rations or something....
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on 25 April 2014
This book changed my view of the world when I realized what we are facing. After I had read it I asked myself two questions. "Is it true?" and "If it is, then what should we do?" I have spent the last seven years trying to find the answers, and the more I learn, the more scared I get. And the more determined to stop climate change, to save the life of my own children.
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on 12 August 2013
I really enjoyed this book; it seemed well researched, had a fabulous writing style and presented a complex set of issues very clearly without diluting them.

I liked the structure of splitting the impacts of global warming into degrees rather than the usual time lines as it made it so much easier to visualise.

It is scary stuff though and sad to think that if, as seems likely, it is right we are probably already too late to avoid at least 2 degrees of average warming. Through our own greed and laziness we have badly damaged the only world we have and the futures of our children.
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