There are many books worth reading. These are some that have made an impact. This page is a work in progress, with more books added over time.
'A Farewell to Ice; A report from the Arctic' by Peter Adhams
A chilling (no pun intended) review of the state of the Arctic ice and the consequences of continued warming for sea level rise. Peter Adhams is the world’s foremost expert on sea ice and is professor of Ocean Physics, at the University of Cambridge.
'Our planet has actually changed colour … Today, from space, the top of the world in the northern summer looks blue instead of white. We have created an ocean where there was once an ice sheet. It is Man’s first major achievement in reshaping the face of his planet,' (Peter Adhams).
But it is not just planetary aesthetics that concerns Prof Adhams; it is the speed at which the ice is retreating and the consequences for the release of massive amounts of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas that CO2, that is creating a rapid feedback loop, causing more global warming and thus more melting. The idea of several metres of sea level rise does not bare thinking about. It is this idea that the system might well accelerate that is deeply concerning.
'Utterly extraordinary ... the starkest book I've read on the impacts of accelerating climate change for a very long time', (Guardian)
Review from the Arctic Journal
Merchants of Doubt; How a handful or scientists Obscured the Truth of Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M Conway
The most important recent exposé of the way large corporations have deliberately and systematically sown of doubt into the minds of the public about the harms from smoking and global warming. This occurred even though the corporations’ own scientists had clear evidence of the harm of tobacco on people’s health and the reality and dangers of climate change.
In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson called for a serious
investigation into the impacts to the climate of burning fossil fuels. The
fossil fuel industry took up the challenge and began looking into the impacts
of CO2. They did good science, and then had
to make a decision; call for a new direction for our energy future or place
immediate profits over the long-term wellbeing of the earth’s community. They
chose the latter. This book tells that story.
'Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway have demonstrated what many of us have long suspected: that the ‘debate' over the climate crisis--and many other environmental issues--was manufactured by the same people who brought you ‘safe' cigarettes' Former Vice President Al Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth
New York 2140: A Novel by Kim Stanley Robinson
From one of our favourite science fiction authors comes another epic and very human novel based in, unsurprisingly, New York, around the year 2140. With a range of interesting and compelling characters, each slowly introduced independently and whose paths eventually converge, Robinson paints a post-climate change world that has already experienced two ‘pulses’ of traumatic sea level rise so that all of lower Manhattan is now flooded and a new water city has emerged.
Kim Stanley Robinson is a perceptive story teller who imaginatively creates highly plausible worlds. New York 2140 is not an entirely dystopian future. There is still money to be made (by the 1% in particular) and there is the usual struggle to survive by many in the bottom on the social ladder. One chapter in particular tells the story of how the world ended up as it did:
‘The Second Pulse was a lot worse than the First in its effects, because the total rise in sea level ended up at around fifty feet. This truly thrashed all the coastlines of the world, causing a refugee crisis rated at ten thousand katrinas. One eighth of the world’s population lived near coastlines and were more or less directly impacted, as was fishing and aquaculture, meaning one third of humanity’s food, plus a fair bit of coastal (meaning in effect rained-upon) agriculture, as well as the aforementioned shipping. And with shipping forestalled, thus impacting world trade, the basis for that humming neoliberal global success story that had done so much for so few was also thrashed. Never had so much been done to so many by so few!’ Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140 (Kindle Locations 2325-2330). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.
But don’t worry, the world still trundles on, people get born (and die), and that world seems normal to them. And we get to read about it!