True stories

A number of extremely well-written, non-fiction books on climate change have appeared in recent years. Some are long on the problem and short on offering solutions, which can be . . . well, a little depressing. Among the better-known titles are

I Field Notes from a Catastrophe, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Bloomsbury):

Based on Kolbert's articles for The New Yorker, this is a first-person journalistic look at the science behind and the impacts of climate change. Kolbert offers a well-researched and clearly explained account of the urgency of climate change while linking this to real places and stories from around the world.

I Heat, by George Monbiot (South End Press): Monbiot, one of the U.K.'s most respected journalists, offers a truly radical approach to avoiding atmospheric tipping points. His writing reflects the immediacy of the climate crisis by demanding changes such as rationing energy use. Monbiot doesn't believe that the range of policy options we describe in Part IV can get greenhouse gas levels low enough fast enough. He could well be right. (See Chapter 20 for more about Monbiot.)

I An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore (Rodale Books): Tied to the film of the same name (which we discuss in the section "Science on the Red Carpet," earlier in this chapter), this current affairs book is the most accessible title on climate change currently available. Gore conveys his message with minimal text, using easy-to-read graphs to show the science behind climate change.

I The Weather Makers, by Tim Flannery (Atlantic Monthly Press):

Beautifully written, this book covers environmental science and issues in detail and depth. Though the content is a little overwhelming, Flannery offers solutions and a vivid writing style that draws you in. This book is a little frightening, but offers solid and entirely correct scientific information. (We talk more about Tim Flannery in Chapter 20.)

^ The Winds of Change, by Eugene Linden (Simon & Schuster): Based in science and history, this book covers such overarching topics as the Gulf Stream, El NiƱo, weather patterns, and temperature. It gives you a very good overview of the chronology of climate change science, politics, and debate. It provides little in the way of solutions; however, it is well written, interlaced with personal, historical, and political anecdotes.

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