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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 11 October 2010
We still don't really know much about why people react the way they do compared with, say, the science behind the construction of bridges so I was very interested to see how the author would cope with the failure of mankind as a whole to recognise the threats coming down the line from some years in the future while an individual can recognise immediate threats such as a car approaching without difficulty and move out of it's way. I wasn't disappointed.

The book is a thorough (as far as I can tell as a non expert in human behaviour) and thoughtful analysis of the mechanisms that cause some of us to reject actually carrying out the necessary actions while at the same time agreeing that we ought to be doing them. He also tackles the question as to why many people reject the actual evidence. The author doesn't really have a practical solution to the problem but perhaps that's because there isn't one. But if that's the case he's very pessimistic about the future of the human race which I guess is why he's given it the title he has.

The only criticism I have is that he does not seem to place enough emphasis on the problems that are caused by the lack of trust of many ordinary people in authority of one sort or another that has lied to them so often in the past.

A definite read for anyone concerned about our future. If enough people can see the difficulties we face it might help to tip the balance to doing whatever is necessary.
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on 2 May 2010
If you are following the debate on climate change in the media and in the blogs, then you should read this book. It provides the much needed philosophical perpective on this complex subject.

Rather than another book on the dangers of climate change and what measures we should be taking to combat it-Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at the Australian National University- addresses the question of climate change, and our response to it, from a philosophical standpoint. His beautifully written book cuts away all the verbiage surrounding the issue and goes directly to the heart of the matter- ourselves and why we are avoiding taking action.

His analysis of our psychological dispositions, our obsessions and our hubris is precise and honest and brave.

It is a brilliant, scholarly and powerful book. I recommend you read it.
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on 3 May 2010
This is a highly readable look at the looming catasrophes of climate change, and more especially why an intelligent society in the information age finds it impossible to steer the Earth away from the rocks. It is chilling to read that the author feels we have to some extent already missed our chances for action, and his description of most climate scientists being in a state of controlled panic should concern us all. Deeper though he goes, looking at how sins such as pride, hubris, arrogance and idolatry have brought us to the current pass. Deeply impressive and unputdownable.
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on 28 March 2013
What an outstanding book! Fascinating discourse on the reasons why Global Warming is minimised, partly because it is so overwhelmingly disturbing and we want to survive and partly because big corporations and the weathly don't want their opportunities to increase their wealth challenged. Thoughtful writing.
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on 1 May 2013
Clive Hamilton does three separate, yet essential, things in this book. First he summarises the science today, as 99.8% of those qualified to assess it see the facts. Then he looks at how human psychology leads so many to deny the obvious and growing evidence. Finally, and most unusually, he discusses how we can think about living our lives with such a threatening future before us. Bracing stuff but not to read it is to feed your denial!
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on 22 June 2011
An excellent book for those believers in Climate Change. I do doubt if non believers would bother reading it.
Like his book "Affluenza", Clive Hamiltopn continues to provide insight into the soul of mankind with "Requiem for a species".
It is always welcome when discovering your own self.
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on 5 May 2014
Even if you truly don't believe there is a problem,
it's obvious that fossil fuelled economies are going to get more expensive and die out.
The subsidies to fossil fuel would more than pay for our transition here in the UK.
Be prepared to get angry reading this.
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on 15 June 2011
very well written and interesting, the science of climate change is also well explained. Useful for my dissertation on public reaction to climate change in the media
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on 29 January 2011
This book contains some interesting analysis of the possible reasons why we don't accept the reality of climate change, some of which was new to me. Unfortunately the author has already decided from the outset that the case is hopeless and there is no solution. By the end he's telling us that nine-tenths of the world's population is going to die, and hinting that global warming is Divine punishment for mankind's hubris in divorcing ourselves from Nature. Well, it's a point of view, but not one that lends itself to the search for positive solutions to the difficult and painful dilemma the human species finds itself in at the moment - as the author proves by rubbishing every effort to actually do something (geoengineering, technological solutions to carbon emissions, etc) as yet more hubris, bound to fail and likely to make things worse. I think of myself as a bit of a pessimist and find most people's relative lack of concern about global warming worrying and irritating, but this book did not help me find a way of addressing their attitudes in a positive way which is actually likely to help us all face up to the new reality.
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on 8 May 2012
Pliny the Elder once said that "..there is no book so bad that nothing can be gleaned from it..", but I would make an exception in the case of this book by an Australian academic with no scientific qualifications whatsoever. His is a diatribe against reason and rational thought and debate. It is said to be a book about our collective denial of AGW (anthropogenic global warming), but totally neglects to allow for scepticism and discussion of what he sees as an open and shut case for AGW. This despite increasing evidence that the world has actually been cooling in the last decade, and that no land has disappeared beneath the waves, that most recent natural disasters have been quite unconnected to CO2 levels in the atmosphere (earthquakes, tsunamis etc) and an increasing number of scientists are questioning the basis of AGW. The most recent renegade is James Lovelock, who now wants to recant his original ideas about earth frying to oblivion. The idea of the alleged consensus on any theory is anathema to science and philosophy, one of the best recent examples being the consensus of biologists that eugenics should be used to "improve" the human species. They started programmes of enforced sterilization in many so-called advanced countries such as the USA and Sweden in the 20's and 30's, but these nauseating ideas reached their horrific zenith in Nazi Germany with The Holocaust. It should be a warning to all who allege that AGW is finally and absolutely established for ever. Mr Hamilton would be advised to read Sextus Empiricus, the Graeco-Roman philosopher for his thoughts on scepticism in Outlines of Pyrrhonism (Great Books in Philosophy). There are many other books more worthy of reading if you want to know more about the topic, such as that by his compatriot Ian Plimer in Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, and I even hesitate to give this current work any ranking whatsoever.
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