* World Social Science Report 2013: Changing Global Environments. International Social Science Council and UNESCO. Paris: OECD and UNESCO Publishing, Nov 2013, 612p, $122 . Gathers the thoughts and expertise of hundreds of social scientists from around the world; highlights the transformative role of the social sciences in confronting climate and broader processes of environmental change, as well as in addressing priority problems from energy and water, biodiversity and land use, urbanization, migration and education. The Preface by Irina Bokova (Director-General, UNESCO) notes "the challenge of knowledge divides in the social sciences," and between the sciences and the social transformations needed to achieve sustainable development. "The gap between what we know about the interconnectedness and fragility of our planetary system and what we actually doing about it is alarming. And it is deepening." (p.3) This report examines the social dynamics of the Anthropocene age, in which human activity is the major force shaping the planetary system. "Environmental change must no longer be seen as peripheral." Rather, it is connected with a multitude of other crises, risks, and vulnerabilities which confront every society. To move forward, we need a "sustainability science" that overcomes barriers between disciplines and methods. "Ultimately, achieving sustainable development is a political challenge that involves making fundamental choices about how we understand ourselves and the world we wish to inhabit and leave to future generations... This requires moving beyond the obstacles of vested interests, the politicization of science, and entrenched habits of thought and behavior." (p.4) The 96 chapters by individual authors (not summarized) and descriptions of 12 ISSC projects such as global governance are organized in seven parts: 1) complexity and urgency of global environmental change (e.g., learning for sustainability, social and planetary boundaries, using the future differently by Riel Miller of UNESCO); 2) social science capacity (in the US, Latin America, Europe, Russia, Arab world, Africa, South Asia, China, and Japan); 3) consequences for society of global environmental change (e.g., migration, building resilience, land changes, impacts on children); 4) visions for change and sense-making (e.g., promises and pitfalls of the green economy, evolutionary psychology for sustainable lifestyles, education for sustainable development); 5) responsibilities and ethical challenges (e.g., ethics of energy consumption and geoengineering); 6) new approaches to governance (dealing with "wicked" problems, the need for IPCC transparency, using indigenous knowledge); 7) contributions from ISSC members, programs, and partners. [NOTE: Surely some useful ideas here, but mining them from the 612 pages is a daunting task.] (download at www.oecd-ilibrary.org) (CLIMATE CHANGE AND SOCIAL SCIENCE * SOCIAL SCIENCE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE)
* Routledge Handbook of the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation. Edited by Anil Markandya, Ibon Galarraga, and Eliza Sainz de Murieta (all at Basque Centre for Climate Change, U of the Basque Country, Spain). NY: Routledge, Jan 2014, 464p, $205. Climate change is one of the great challenges facing humankind, due to the great uncertainty regarding future impacts that affect regions and ecosystems. Many publications deal with economic issues relating to mitigation policies, but the economics of adaptation has received relatively little attention. This book identifies the difficulties, examining such issues as uncertainty, baselines, reversibility, flexibility and adaptive management, distributional impacts, discount rates and time horizons, mixing monetary and non-monetary evaluations, limits to the use of cost-benefit analysis, economy-wide impacts, cross-sectoral linkages, technology and the impacts of extreme events, and the role of low- and middle-income countries. (CLIMATE CHANGE * ADAPTATION ECONOMICS)
* Energy and Climate Policy: Bending the Technological Trajectory. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, Nov 2012, 134p, $67pb (with free e-book). Technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving environmental objectives. This is particularly true in the area of climate change where estimated future costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are affected greatly by the technological trajectory of the economy. These papers explore the extent to which technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving climate change mitigation objectives, the determinants of innovation in electricity generation technologies, technological change in electricity generation, intermittent renewable energy, international technology agreements for climate change, etc. (ENERGY * TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Climate Change Geoengineering: Philosophical Perspectives, Legal Issues, and Governance Frameworks. Edited by Wil C. G. Burns (Johns Hopkins U) and Andrew L. Strauss (Widener U School of Law, Delaware). NY: Cambridge U Press, July 2013, 328p, $99. The international community is not taking the action necessary to avert dangerous increases in greenhouse gases. The question that confronts humanity is whether the best of bad alternatives may be to counter global warming through human-engineered climate interventions. Eleven climate change experts consider the legal, policy, and philosophical issues presented by geoengineering, responding to three questions: 1) when, if ever, are decisions to embark on potentially risky climate modification projects justified?; 2) if such decisions can be justified, in a world without a central governing authority, who should authorize such projects and by what moral and legal right?; and 3) if states or private actors undertake geoengineering ventures absent the blessing of the international community, what recourse do the rest of us have? Contents focus on the ethical foundations of climate engineering, psychological costs of geoengineering, geoengineering and climate management, climate engineering and the anthropocene era, international legal regimes, and principles relevant to geoengineering, solar radiation management, intergenerational equity, ocean iron fertilization, etc. (CLIMATE CHANGE * GEOEGINEERING * CLIMATE ENGINEERING)
* Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of Rising Seas and a Changing Climate. Edited by Michael B. Gerrard (Columbia Law School) and Gregory E. Wannier (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California). NY: Cambridge U Press, Jan 2013, 666p, $140. Rising seas are endangering the habitability and very existence of several small island nations, mostly in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The situation poses many legal issues If a nation is under water, is it still a state? Does it still have a seat at the United Nations? What becomes of its exclusive economic zone, the basis for its fishing rights? What obligations do other nations have to take in the displaced populations, and what are these peoples' rights and legal status once they arrive? Should there be a new international agreement on climate-displaced populations? Do these nations and their citizens have any legal recourse for compensation? Are there any courts that will hear their claims, and based on what theories? Topics revolve around three major issues: 1) sovereignty and territorial concerns; 2) resettlement protections and proposed solutions; and 3) establishing accountability. (CLIMATE CHANGE AND ISLANDS * SEA LEVEL RISING)
* Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change. Andrew T. Guzman (Prof of Law and Associate Dean for Intel and Exec Ed, U of California, Berkeley). NY: Oxford U Press, Feb 2013, 280p, $29.95. The ten warmest years since 1880 have all occurred since 1998, and one estimate of the annual global death toll caused by climate change is now 300,000. That number might rise to 500,000 by 2030. A hotter world will bring unprecedented migrations, famine, war, and disease. It will be a social and political disaster of the first order. Guzman explores the real-world consequences of climate change. Even a 2° Celsius increase will have a devastating impact; rising seas will swamp island nations like Maldives; coastal food-producing regions in Bangladesh will be flooded; and millions will be forced to migrate into cities or possibly "climate-refugee camps." Melting glaciers in the Andes and the Himalayas will deprive millions upon millions of people of fresh water, threatening major cities and further straining food production. Prolonged droughts in the Sahel region of Africa have already helped produce mass violence in Darfur. (CLIMATE CHANGE * CLIMATE CHANGE: HUMAN COST)
* Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture: Supporting Climate-Friendly Food Production. Danielle Nierenberg and Laura Reynolds (both, Worldwatch Institute). Worldwatch Report 188. Washington: Worldwatch Institute, 2012, 33p. (available at www.worldwatch.org). The IPCC forecasts that Earth’s average surface air temperature could rise by 0.69 degrees C by 2030, 1.8 degrees by 2065, and as much as 6.4 degrees by 2099. “This warming, along with other climate-related shifts, including rising sea levels, drought, and ocean acidification, will make food production in the 21st century even more unpredictable, uncertain, and difficult.” (p.5) At the same time, agriculture is a major driver of human-caused climate change, contributing 25-30% of global GHG emissions. Sustainable agriculture, however, holds an important key to mitigating climate change. Through a variety of approaches, the global agricultural sector could potentially reduce and remove 80-88% of the CO2 that it currently produces. Six sustainable approaches are discussed: 1) Building Soil Fertility (through a variety of techniques that organically rebuild dry or lifeless soils, as an alternative to heavy chemical use and unnecessary tilling); 2) Agroforestry (growing trees on farmland to reduce erosion, remove CO2 from the atmosphere, provide shade for livestock and some crops, and keep soil healthier); 3) Urban Farming (to mitigate GHG emissions from transport and storage of food for urban populations, to increase food security, and to make urban landscapes more resilient to flooding while improving aesthetic value); 4) Green Manure/Cover Cropping (serves as a critical deterrent against pests and diseases; cover crops also fix nitrogen into the soil); 5) Improving Water Conservation and Recycling (use of precise techniques like drip irrigation also save energy); 6) Preserving Biodiversity and Indigenous Breeds (reduces overreliance on a small number of commodity crops that re vulnerable to global markets). These practices “all help to make farmland, farmers, and entire communities more resilient to the dramatic effects of climate change,” (p.6) while also mitigating overall climate change. Many of these practices are inexpensive to adopt, and are especially appropriate for smallholder farmers, who currently produce half of the world’s food. [NOTE: A nice, compact statement.] (FOOD/AGRICULTURE * CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE)
* The Climate Bonus: Co-benefits of Climate Policy. Alison Smith (UK environmental policy consultant, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2013, $59.95pb (also as e-book). We urgently need to transform to a low carbon society, yet our progress is painfully slow, in part because there is widespread public concern that this will require sacrifice and high costs. But this need not be the case. Many carbon reduction policies provide a range of additional benefits (reduced air pollution, increased energy security, financial savings, healthier lifestyles), that can offset the costs of climate action. Smith shows how low carbon policies can lead to cleaner air and water, conservation of forests, more sustainable agriculture, less waste, safer and more secure energy, cost savings for households and businesses, and a stronger and more stable economy. Offers recommendations for policy-makers and all those with an interest in making a healthier and happier society. Instead of being paralyzed by the threat of climate change, we can use it as a stimulus to escape from our dependence on polluting fossil fuels, and make the transition to a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future. (CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * LOW-CARBON SOCIETY: BENEFITS/COSTS)
*Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada. National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. Ottawa: NRTEE, Sept 2011, 168p; download at www.nrtee/trnee.ca. The 4th report in the Climate Prosperity series, examining potential future costs in four sectors: 1) Timber Supply: diseases, fire, and lower productivity could cost $2-17 billion/year by the 2050s; 2) Flooding by Sea-Level Rise: flooding of dwellings could cost $4-17 billion/year by the 2050s; 3) Health Systems Costs: examines costs such as premature mortality due to warming summers and poorer air quality in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary; 4) Ecosystems: looks at impacts on fish, long-term park visits, cascading ecological effects, and ecosystem services (still difficult to price). The overall conclusion is that costs for Canada could escalate from $5 billion/year in 2020 to $21-43 billion/year by the 2050s, and there is a small chance of costs over $150 billion/year. “The chance of catastrophe grows with every further degree of global warming” (p.38). If catastrophe occurs, 5-25% of GDP is expected to be lost. Adaptation can thus save money. “Ignoring climate change costs now will cost us more later” (p.119) (CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS IN 2050 * CANADA: CLIMATE COSTS)
** Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change. Andrew Guzman (Prof of Law, U of California-Berkeley). NY: Oxford U Press, Feb 2013, 260p, $29.95. No one knows with certainty what the impact of climate change will be, but “we must not lose sight of the very real possibility that it will have a cataclysmic impact...climate change may kill tens of millions or hundreds of millions, and severely disrupt the lives of perhaps billions.” (p.1) If fate is unkind, “we are all in deep, deep trouble.” Very conservatively assuming a 2oC increase in temperature by 2100, Guzman discusses the various estimates of climate scientists (6oC would be “an unmitigated disaster for the planet”), the lack of hard scientific evidence among climate deniers, catastrophic problems faced by Bangladesh (sea level rise may displace up to 20 million people, raising the global population of displaced people by 50%), the threat to Egypt (sea level rise of half a meter would put two-thirds of Alexandria—home to 4 million people—under water), how thermal expansion of oceans alone will cause a 50 cm. sea-level rise by 2100 (“a sea rise of 1 meter or more by 2100 is a good bet” p.84), melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica (see GFB Book of the Month, Oct 2012), the impact of more storms and floods, threats to the world’s freshwater (most glaciers will be gone by 2050), the shrinking snowpack in California (supplying up to 65% of the state’s water, snowpack will have shrunk at least 25-40% by 2050), reduction in global food production in many parts of the world, prospects for drought in Africa, potential climate wars (in the Middle East, North Africa, Nigeria and West Africa, and South Asia), how climate change can increase the risk of a global pandemic and aggravate illness, effects of more heat waves, the problems of denial and procrastinating, limits to geoengineering and other tech fixes, and “grown-up strategies” to deal with GHG emissions and prevent catastrophic warming (full cost pricing of energy, alternative energy, carbon taxes, and cap-and-trade). [NOTE: Popularized and well-documented. A very readable and sensible wake-up call for those who still need it, r need to broaden their thinking.] (CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS)
** Global Environment Outlook 5: Environment for the Future We Want (GEO-5). UN Environmental Programme. NY: United Nations, June 2012, 525p, $80 (also 20p. Summary for Policy Makers; www.unep.org/geo). “Currently observed changes to the Earth System are unprecedented in human history.” Efforts to slow the rate or extent of change have resulted in moderate successes, but have not reversed the scope or speed of change. Significant progress has been made in only 4 of 90 environmental goals (as concerns protecting the ozone layer, removing lead from fuels, better access to water, and research to reduce marine pollution. Little or no progress was found for 24 goals, including climate change, fish stocks, desertification, and drought. “As human pressures on the Earth System accelerate, several critical global, regional, and local thresholds are close or have been exceeded. Once these have been passed, abrupt and possibly irreversible change to the life-support functions of the planet are likely to occur, with significant adverse implications for human well-being.” Examples at a regional scale are the collapse of freshwater lake and estuary systems due to eutrophication, and accelerated and irreversible melting of glaciers and the Arctic ice-sheet. In turn, this will lead to increasing frequency and severity of floods and droughts, significant human health impacts, sea level rise, and substantial biodiversity loss affecting provision of ecosystem services. Chapters discuss drivers (population growth, consumption, urbanization), the atmosphere, land, water, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, an Earth System perspective, data needs, Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, North America, West Asia, regional summaries, scenarios, sustainability transformation, and necessary global responses. [Also see OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction (March 2012, 350p), providing similar warnings about temperature rise, biodiversity, water, and health.] (ENVIRONMENT * WATER * CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Handbook on Climate Change and Agriculture. Edited by Ariel Dinar (Prof of Environmental Economics and Policy and Director, Water Science and Policy Center, U of California, Riverside) and Robert Mendelsohn (Prof of Forestry Policy, Yale U). Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, 2012, 544p, $245 (on-line price $220.50). Agriculture is essential to the livelihood of people and nations, especially in the developing world; therefore, any impact on it will have significant economic, social, and political ramifications. Climate change is likely to have an extensive impact on agriculture around the world through changes in temperature, precipitation, concentrations of carbon dioxide, and available water flows. Scholars from around the world analyze direct agronomic effects, the economic impacts on agriculture, agricultural impacts on the economy, agricultural mitigation, and farmer adaptation. Topics include: 1) climate impacts and adaptation (security and uncertainty of global crop production, effects of climate variability on domestic livestock, use of crop models for climate change impact assessment, connections between climate change, drought and agricultural production); 2) economic studies of climate impacts on agriculture (farm-level impacts; impact of climate change on US agriculture); 3) agricultural impacts on the economy (adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa; integrated assessment models; growth and trade in agricultural adaptation to environmental change); 4) agricultural mitigation (biofuels and climate change; agricultural projects under the Clean Development Mechanism); and 5) adaptation to agricultural impacts (hydro-economic modeling in California; the use of endogenous irrigation and protected agriculture technology; technological innovation in agriculture; mixed crop–livestock farming systems in developing countries; insurance as an adaptation to climate variability in agriculture; the choice of livestock species in African and Latin American farms; effective institutions and infrastructure).] (CLIMATE CHANGE * FOOD AND AGRICULTURE * AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE CHANGE * DEVELOPMENT)
* What We Know About Climate Change (Second Edition). Kerry Emanuel (Prof of Atmospheric Science, MIT). Cambridge MA: Boston Review (dist by MIT Press), Sept 2012, 128p, $14.95. The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—most dramatically since the 1970s. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus. A politically conservative climatologist outlines the basic science of global warming, how the current consensus has emerged, the most recent round of updated projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate simulations, and the so-called “climategate” incident that heralded the subsequent collapse of popular and political support in the US for dealing with climate change. (CLIMATE CHANGE)
* The Hockey Stick and the Climate War: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Michael E. Mann (Director, Penn State Earth System Science Center). NY: Columbia U Press, March 2012, 384p, $22.99 (e-book). Worldwide human activity since the industrial age had raised CO2 levels, trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming the planet. In its 2001 report on global clime, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prominently featured the “Hockey Stick,” a chart showing global temperature data over the past 1,000 years, to demonstrate that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The “Hockey Stick” became the central icon in the “climate wars” and well-funded science deniers immediately attacked the chart and the scientists responsible for it. Mann tells the story of the science and politics behind this controversy, the “Climategate” scandal and the 2009 hacking of climate scientists’ emails, and the role of science deniers in diverting attention away from one of the central scientific and policy issue of our time. (CLIMATE CHANGE * CLIMATE WARS * “CLIMATEGATE”)
* Understanding the Earth System: Global Change Science for Application. Edited by Sarah Cornell (Stockholm Resilience Centre), I. Colin Prentice (Macquarie U, Sydney), Joanna House (U of Bristol), and Cat Downy (European Space Agency). NY: Cambridge U Press, Aug 2012, $64pb. Scientists involved in QUEST, a major UK-led research program, review research from the last decade, illustrated with cutting-edge data and observations; focus on the development of analysis tools that can be used to demonstrate options for mitigating and adapting to increasing climate risks, and emphasize the importance of Earth system feedback mechanisms and the role of the biosphere. Focusing on “the Anthroposphere,” they also explain advances in modeling, process understanding and observations, and the development of consistent and coherent studies of past, present and possible climates. (CLIMATE CHANGE * EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE)
* Climate Change Liability: Transnational Law and Practice. Edited by Richard Lord (Brick Court Chambers), Silke Goldberg (Herbert Smith LLP), Lavanya Rajamani (Centre for Policy Research), and Jutta Brunnée (U of Toronto). NY: Cambridge U Press, Jan 2012, 690p, $55pb. As frustration mounts in some quarters at the perceived inadequacy or speed of international action on climate change, and as the likelihood of significant impacts grows, the focus is increasingly turning to liability for climate change damage. Actual or potential climate change liability implicates a growing range of actors, including governments, industry, businesses, non-governmental organizations, individuals, and legal practitioners. Overviews the existing law and the direction it might take in the EU and in 17 developed and developing countries (including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, Russia Canada, the US, and Mexico). In some jurisdictions, the applicable law is less developed and less the subject of current debate. In others, actions for various kinds of climate change liability have already been brought, including high profile cases such as Massachusetts v. EPA in the United States. Each chapter explores the potential for and barriers to climate change liability in private and public law.(CLIMATE CHANGE LIABILITY * LIABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE * LAW AND CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Edited by Ottmar Edenhofer (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) and Ramón Pichs-Madruga (Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Mundial), Youba Sokona (The Sahara and Sahel Observatory), Kristin Seyboth and seven others (all, Technical Suppport Unit, Working Group III, IPCC). NY: Cambridge U Press, Nov 2011, 1,088p, $200pb. This IPCC-SRREN Report assesses the potential role of renewable energy in the mitigation of climate change; discusses the six most important renewable energy sources - bioenergy, solar, geothermal, hydropower, ocean,and wind energy - as well as their integration into present and future energy systems; considers the environmental and social consequences associated with the deployment of these technologies; and presents strategies to overcome technical as well as non-technical obstacles to their application and diffusion. SRREN brings a broad spectrum of technology-specific experts together with scientists studying energy systems as a whole, and assesses the potential role of renewable energy for the mitigation of climate change for policymakers, the private sector, and academic researchers.(ENERGY * RENEWABLE ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION * IPCC SPECIAL REPORT)
* Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living. Union of Concerned Scientists. Washington DC: Island Press, April 2012, 328p, $21.95pb (also as e-book). Shows individuals the most effective ways to cut their own global warming emissions by 20% or more, and explains why personal contributions are vital to addressing the global warming problem . Offers proven strategies to cut carbon, with chapters on transportation, home energy use, diet, personal consumption, and how best to influence the workplace, community, and elected officials. Explains how to make the biggest impact and when not to “sweat the small stuff.” Questions many eco-myths, such as the importance of locally produced food and the superiority of all hybrid cars.
(LOW-CARBON LIVING * CLIMATE CHANGE * EMISSION CUTS: INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS)
** OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Paris: OECD, March 2012, 350p (8x10”), $112pb. World population has increased by >3 billion since 1970 to 7 billion, and the size of the world economy has more than tripled. This growth has pulled millions out of poverty, but it has been unevenly distributed and incurred major cost to the environment. “Natural assets have been and continue to be depleted.” Providing for 2 billion more people by 2050 and improving living standards for all will challenge our ability to manage and restore those natural assets on which all life depends. “Failure to do so will have serious consequences, especially for the poor, and ultimately undermine the growth and human development of future generations.” Looks forward to 2050 to suggest what demographic and economic trends might mean for the environment if the world does not adopt more ambitious green policies, using a “Baseline scenario” and a “450 Delayed Action Scenario.” Focuses on four “red light” areas: 1) Climate Change: alternative growth pathways to stabilize GHGs at 450ppm, the level that has a 50% chance of keeping temperature rise to 2oC; 2) Biodiversity: loss of biodiversity is a major environmental challenge; “despite some local successes, biodiversity is on the decline globally and this loss is projected to continue; continuing with business as usual may have far-reaching adverse implications for human well-being, security and economic growth”; 3) Water: worldwide, cities, farmers, industries, energy suppliers, and ecosystems are increasingly competing for water; the situation is likely to deteriorate by 2050 without major policy changes; 4) Health and Environment: explores current and projected impacts of four key environmental factors: air pollution, unsafe water supply and poor sanitation, chemicals, and climate change (with emphasis on the incidence of malaria). (ENVIRONMENT * CLIMATE CHANGE * BIODIVERSITY * WATER * HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT)
*The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming. Hans-Werner Sinn (Prof of Economics, U of Munich; President, CESIfo Group). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Feb 2012, 288p, $29.95. Former chairman of the German Economic Association warns that the Earth is getting warmer, yet the dominant policy approach of curbing consumption of fossil energy has been ineffective. The relentlessly rising curve of CO2 output does not show the slightest downward turn. The owners of carbon resources are pre-empting future regulation by accelerating production of fossil fuel while they can. Thus, the “Green Paradox” where expected future reduction in carbon consumption has the effect of accelerating climate change. Sinn calls for a supply-side solution to curbing consumption of fossil energy: inducing the owners of carbon resources to leave more of their wealth underground. The swift introduction of a “Super-Kyoto” system – gathering all consumer countries into a cartel by means of a worldwide, coordinated cap-and-trade system supported by source taxes on capital income – can spoil the resource owners’ appetite for financial assets. We can only have a chance of staving off climate disaster by shifting our focus from local demand to worldwide supply. (CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * GLOBAL WARMING: SOLUTION)
* Waking the Giant: How A Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes. Bill McGuire (Prof of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, U College London). NY: Oxford UP, April 2012, 320p, $29.95. Over the last 20,000 years, the Earth experienced a huge temperature hike and its crust responded to the melting of great ice sheets and the filling of the ocean basins by earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Now, as human activities are driving climate change as rapidly as anything seen in post-glacial times, the sleeping giant beneath our feet is stirring once again. “When and if it finally wakes, we should all be afraid.” (CLIMATE CHANGE * NATURAL DISASTERS * EARTHQUAKES * TSUNAMIS, * VOLCANOES)
* The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge (Third Edition). Kirstin Dow (Assoc Prof of Geography, U of South Carolina) and Thomas E. Downing (President, Global Climate Adaptation Partnership; Visiting Prof, Oxford U). Berkeley CA: U of California Press, Jan 2012, 128p (8x10”), $21.95pb. Distills the vast science of climate change and reflects the latest developments in research and the impact of climate change. This edition contains more than 200 full-color maps, illustrations, and graphics. (CLIMATE CHANGE)
* World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation. United Nations. NY: United Nations Publications, July 2011, 200p, $65. Avoiding the climate change tipping point will require fundamental shifts in existing technologies to transform manufacturing, agriculture, living arrangements, and infrastructure. Calls for a massive technological revolution in developing countries to achieve food security and rural development, minimize damage from natural hazards, and transform their economies to beat destitution and create productive jobs. Assesses options and polities to facilitate a new technological revolution that is consistent with sustainability and poerty reduction. (CLIMATE CHANGE AND TECHNOLOGY * GREEN TECHNOLOGY * TECHNOLOGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Global Report on Human Settlements 2011: Cities and Climate Change. UN-HABITAT. NY: United Nations Publications, April 2011, 304p, $56. Reviews linkages between urbanization and climate change, two of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, whose effects are converging in dangerous ways. Illustrates the significant contribution of urban areas to climate change, while also highlighting the potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations. Urban areas have a pivotal role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation. The report identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this role.
(CITIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE * CLIMATE CHANGE AND CITIES)
* Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse. David W. Orr (Distinguished Prof of Environmental Studies, Oberlin College). NY: Oxford UP, Feb 2012, 288p, $15.95pb. Political negligence, an economy based on the insatiable consumption of trivial goods, and a disdain for the well-being of future generations have brought us to the tipping point. We now face a long emergency of rising temperatures, rising sea-levels, and a host of other related problems that will increasingly undermine human civilization. Offers pragmatic and far-reaching proposals for how to reconnect public policy with rigorous science, bring our economy into alignment with ecological realities, and begin to regard ourselves as planetary trustees for future generations. (CLIMATE CHANGE * FUTURE GENERATIONS)
* Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Edited by Cynthia Rosenzweig (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), William D. Solecki (Hunter College, CUNY), Stephen A. Hammer, and Shagun Mehrotra (both, Columbia U). NY: Cambridge U Press, April 2011, 312p, $50pb. Urban areas are home to over half the world's people and are at the forefront of the climate change issue. The need for a global research effort to establish the current understanding of climate change adaptation and mitigation at the city level is urgent. A coalition of international researchers -- the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) -- was formed at the time of the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York in 2007. Their first report tackles urban climate trends and projections, urban energy systems, water and wastewater, urban transportation systems, human health in cities, urban land, disasters and climate risk, challenges for governance. It will benefit mayors, city officials, urban sustainability officers and planners, researchers, professors and advanced students. (CLIMATE CHANGE * CITIES AND CLIMATE * URBAN CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH NETWORK)
* The Ethics of Global Climate Change. Edited by Dennis G. Arnold (U of North Carolina). NY: Cambridge U Press, April 2011, 352p, $90. The intergenerational and transnational ethical issues raised by climate change have been the focus of a significant body of scholarship. Contributors respond to first-generation scholarship and argue for new ways of thinking about our ethical obligations to present and future generations. Topics include moral accountability for energy consumption and emissions, egalitarian and libertarian perspectives on mitigation, justice in relation to cap-and trade schemes, a defense of grandfathering emission rights, the ethics of adaptation, ethics and the transformation of nature, common atmospheric ownership and equal emissions entitlements, living ethically in a greenhouse, reconciling justice and efficiency in cap-and-trade programs, and human rights and climate change. (CLIMATE CHANGE * ETHICS AND CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges, and Decisions. Katherine Richardson (U of Copenhagen), Will Steffen (Australian National U), and Diana Liverman (U of Arizona). NY: Cambridge U Press, March 2011, 524p, $99. Over 80 scientists have contributed to this overview of human-caused climate change, its current and projected impacts on society, and public policy options for mitigation and adaptation—a “synthesis of all knowledge relevant to the climate change issue.” Topics include climatic trends, the oceans, sea level rise and ice sheet dynamics, carbon cycle trends and vulnerabilities, defining “dangerous” climate change impact on human societies, tipping elements (“jokers in the pack”), impacts on the biotic fabric of the planet, linking science and action (targets, timetables, emission budgets), equity issues (responsibilities, vulnerabilities, inequality), mitigation and adaptation approaches, adapting to the unavoidable, geopolitics and governance, mobilizing the population, and the future of the human-Earth relationship. Chapters include “expert boxes” on key issues and research questions. (CLIMATE CHANGE OVERVIEW)
** Global Corruption Report: Climate Change. Transparency International. London and Washington: Earthscan, May 2011, 360p, $3405 (download full report or executive summary at www.transparency.org/publications). “Climate change is arguably the greatest governance challenge the world has ever faced.” It requires urgency, trust, and cooperation, and a robust system of climate governance. We must invest significantly in a low-carbon future, and we must make sure this investment is effective. Corruption (defined by TI as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”) is a risk in addressing climate change because efforts will have an enormous price tag of hundreds of billions of dollars, flowing through new and relatively uncoordinated channels. Pressure already exists to “fast-track” solutions, further enhancing the risk of corruption. The lobbying landscape is diversifying, and the associated risk of undue influence is higher than ever (e.g., in the US, “oil and gas interests outspent the clean energy sector by a factor of eight in lobbying in 2009.”) Yet mandatory lobbying registries are still not required in the majority of OECD countries. The overarching message of this Report: “a dramatic strengthening of governance mechanisms can reduce corruption risk and make climate change policy more effective and more successful.”
Proposals: 1) a robust system for measuring, reporting, and verification of emissions is crucial to transparency, and ultimately to the success of mitigation strategies (accurate MRV is critical in all countries); 2) carbon markets, a critical mechanism for mitigation, need safeguards to reduce the risk of corruption (the value of leading carbon markets has now reached some $144 billion); 3) strengthening citizen participation is essential to adaptation governance; 4) forests play a pivotal role in climate policy, but there is entrenched corruption in this sector ($10-23 billion of timber is illegally felled or produced from suspicious origins each year, aided by legal loopholes and deeply engrained corruption schemes); 5) governments must design key climate policy instruments to reduce conflict of interest, and ensure transparency in flows of funding for mitigation and adaptation; 6) business can be a powerful voice in climate policy through open engagement and disclosure (“an essential plank of corporate citizenship”), and must commit ample resources to green climate action and transparency; 7) civil society should undertake independent oversight and monitoring of governance and corruption risk in climate change issues, build broader coalitions for integrity, and ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are considered.(CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORRUPTION * CORRUPTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Climate Change and National Security: A Country-Level Analysis. Edited by Daniel Moran (Prof of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA). Washington: Georgetown U Press, March 2011, 320p, $29.95pb. Sheds light on the way environmental stress may be translated into political, social, economic, and military challenges in the future. Explores and estimates the intermediate-term security risks that climate change may pose for the United States, its allies and partners, and for regional and global order through the year 2030. Profiles of 42 key countries and regions cover China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Central Asia, the European Union, the Persian Gulf, Egypt, Turkey, the Maghreb, West Africa, Southern Africa, the Northern Andes, and Brazil.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * SECURITY * ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY * REGIONS/NATIONS)
* Climate Change and Global Sustainability: A Holistic Approach (Sustainability Science series). Edited by Akimasa Sumi, Nobuo Mimura and Toshihiko Masui. Tokyo & NY: United Nations U Press, Jan 2011, 325p, $35pb. Maps the knowledge about global warming; discusses its risks; reviews related policy concerns (impacts, adaptation strategies, the institution of a low-carbon society); presents quality of life issues associated with the move to a low-carbon society; and proposes a vision for the future based on three scenarios: a low carbon society, a resource-circulating society, and a society in harmony with nature. (SUSTAINABILITY * CLIMATE CHANGE)
** The Fate of Greenland: Lessons from Abrupt Climate Change. Philip Conkling (Island Institute in Maine), Richard Alley (Prof of Geosciences, Penn State U), Wallace Broecker (Prof of Geology, Columbia U), and George Denton (Prof of Geosciences, U of Maine). Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, April 2011, 216p, $29.95 (with some 70 color photos).
Greenland is the world’s largest island, 90% of it covered by ice, which stretches almost 1,000 miles from north to south and is 600 miles from east to west. Geological evidence suggests that Greenland has already been affected by two dramatic changes in climate: the Medieval Warm Period that enabled Norse settlements, and the Little Ice Age that followed. “If the Greenland ice sheet melts, sea level would rise 7 meters—or about 24 feet—worldwide. In contrast, if the West Antarctic ice sheet melted, it would cause a 5 meter or 16-foot sea level rise; the huge East Antarctic ice sheet is believed to be too cold to change dramatically.” If the Greenland ice sheet melts, most of lower Manhattan would be underwater, and Florida’s coast would recede nearly to Orlando. If warming also destroys the East Antarctic ice sheet, most of Florida would disappear. “The big news is that worldwide temperature spikes occur when the global climate is changing modes…If we are on the verge of a change of climate modes from one of relative stability to instability, then continued loading of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere only increases the uncertainty and the instability.” We have become the biggest force in the climate system, and “can have a huge effect on the rate of change the future will bring.” We do not yet know the likelihood that an abrupt climate change will occur at any specific time in the future, but “we now know that abrupt climate changes have repeatedly occurred in the past and that we are taking an enormous risk.” The best we can hope for is gradual warming in response to rising CO2. “Greenland appears to be poised at the edge of another rapid climate change, which in the past has propagated climate changes across both hemispheres. Therefore, it is in all of our interests to pay attention to Greenland, because in the fate of Greenland lie clues to the fate of the world.” The Greenland ice sheet is now high and cold in the middle, lower and warmer on the edges. If too much ice leaves, the center will be lowered, getting warmer. “We don’t believe that the ice sheet could fully disintegrate faster than many centuries, but we might cause enough warming within a few decades to cross the threshold leading to ice-sheet loss.” (Italics added)
Business-as-usual human fossil-fuel burning will change the climate, with the effects becoming more negative as the climate changes become bigger. “Recent assessments of abrupt climate changes have concluded that no single type of abrupt change is considered likely. We don’t expect a North Atlantic conveyor shutdown, or a belching of methane, or a sudden collapse of a big ecosystem, or a sudden ice-sheet collapse, but all appear possible. Even though we know that big, fast, and bad climate effects could occur, as scientists we cannot in good conscience actually predict with current information that Earth will soon jump far to the bad side. Nevertheless, it is also true that the uncertainties are dominantly on the bad side.” (Italics added) [NOTE: The authoritative assessment of Greenland ice by four leading climate scientists who have visited the Arctic many times in the past decade and skillfully deal with the uncertainties ahead. This extraordinary book is written for a general audience, and the dramatic color photos of melting ice are worth the price of the book alone. Co-author Richard Alley is also author of Earth: The Operator’s Manual (W.W. Norton, April 2011, 479p, $27.95), the book companion to the PBS documentary, which notes that, during the warming which ended the last ice age, “a tipping point was crossed—roughly 18 degrees F (10 degrees C) in a decade or so in Greenland.] (CLIMATE CHANGE * GREENLAND ICE MELTING)
* Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet. David G. Victor (Prof, U of California-San Diego). NY: Cambridge U Press, April 2011, 392p, $40. Climate change is a particularly pernicious problem because carbon dioxide levels can’t be lowered simply by stabilizing the rate of emission. The harm that CO2 does is slow and cumulative, and the benefits for any cuts in emission will be delayed and uncertain, whereas costs are all up front. The world’s current approach to the climate change problem is mostly ineffective, and alternative approaches will be hard to get up and running, and time-consuming. Thus the two-degree limit that current negotiators seek to put on global warming will in all likelihood be exceeded. Research into geo-engineering languishes, and the international problems such technology would raise seem unlikely to be sorted out any more wisely than the problems of climate change itself. Meanwhile, the scope for bad policy at a national level such as subsidizing corn ethanol grows ever larger. Governments can and do enact policies aimed at reducing emissions, but they cannot reliably predict how much reduction such policies will bring about. Rather than engaging the whole world at once, a much better approach would be small groups of “climate clubs” where countries band together and entice the less willing. (CLIMATE CHANGE)
* The Inquisition of Climate Change. James Lawrence Powell (Director, National Physical Science Consortium). NY: Columbia U Press, July 2011, 240p, $27.95 (also e-book). Public acceptance of climate change has declined even as the scientific evidence for global warming has increased. Looks at the climate change denial movement and its representatives; exposes their lack of credentials, industry funding, and absence of alternative theory to explain the observed evidence of warming; and analyzes the use of deceptive rhetorical techniques. “It is vital that the public understand how antiscience ideologues, pseudoscientists, and nonscientists have bamboozled them. We cannot afford to get global warming wrong, yet thanks to deniers and their methods, we are.” (Also See Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand by Hadyn Washington and John Cook of skepticalscience.com; Earthscan, June 2011.) (CLIMATE CHANGE * DENIAL OF CLIMATE CHANGE)
* The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World. Paul Gilding (former head, Greenpeace International; Program for Sustainability Leadership, Cambridge U; www.paulgilding.com ). NY: Bloomsbury Press, April 2011, 285p, $25 (also e-book). Global crisis is no longer avoidable. We have passed the limits of our planet’s capacity to support us, and our current model of economic growth is driving us over the cliff. The assumptions we are making about economic growth and global society are “a grand delusion.” Rather, we face the Great Disruption, where we risk social and economic collapse, and descent into chaos (“a category six hurricane is clearly heading for our coastline”.) But, facing the “biggest crisis our species has ever faced,” we will change at a scale and speed we can barely imagine, completely transforming our economy in just a few short decades. The crisis “will push humanity to its next stage of development and allow us to realize our evolutionary potential.” Proposes that we aim for “a profound transformation in values,” a “happiness economy” (with the mantra of “shop less, live more”), promoting more equality, and a 100-year war of three phases: Climate War (a global reduction of 50% of GHGs in 5 years), Climate Neutrality (moving to zero climate emissions by year 20), and Climate Recovery (a long-haul effort toward global climate control and sustainability). (CLIMATE CHANGE * “GREAT DISRUPTION”)
* Earth: The Operator’s Manual. Richard B. Alley (Prof of Geosciences, Penn State U; member, IPCC). NY: W. W. Norton, April 2011, 479p, $27.95. Companion to the PBS television documentary explores the history of energy use by humans over the centuries, provides proof that already-high levels of carbon dioxide are causing damaging global warming, and surveys alternative energy options available to exploit right now. The new energy sources may be the engines for economic growth in the 21st century, and the challenge is probably smaller than our successful installation of modern plumbing. “Our current system is completely unsustainable.” [Note: A generally popularized account with cutesy chapter heads, but also with 112 pages of footnotes.] (ENERGY * CLIMATE CHANGE)
* America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward. Robert Repetto (Senior Fellow, UN Foundation; former Prof of Environmental Studies, Yale U and VP, World Resources Institute). London & Sterling VA: Earthscan (dist by Stylus Publishing), March 2011, 192p, $29.95. What America does—or fails to do—in the next few years will largely determine the fate of the earth and humanity. Explains how a sensible national policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can bring about a transition to clean energy sources, while preserving healthy economic growth and high standards of living. Shows how America can successfully promote international cooperation on climate solutions while stressing that other nations will not take action unless the US leads. (CLIMATE CHANGE)
** Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. Hadyn Washington and John Cook (www.skepticalscience.com). London & Sterling VA: Earthscan (dist by Stylus Publishing), June 2011, 224p, $24.95pb. Paradoxically, as the climate science has become more certain, denial about the issue has increased within the citizenry, governments, and the fossil-fuel industry. Examines the nature of climate change denial, its history, how we let denial prosper, and how we can roll back denial. Refutes the principal climate change denial arguments (e.g., “the planet is cooling,” “there is no consensus”), attacks on the integrity of scientists, impossible expectations of proof and certainty, and cherry picking of data. [NOTE: Much of this info and more is posted on the excellent website. And it is needed: as reported in The New Yorker (7 Feb 2011, p22), “A majority of Republicans in the House, and three-quarters in the Senate, are on record as climate change ‘skeptics’.”
(CLIMATE CHANGE * DENIAL OF CLIMATE CHANGE * CLIMATE “SKEPTICS” REFUTED)
** Water Security: The Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus. The World Economic Forum Water Initiative. Davos: World Economic Forum (dist by Island Press), Jan 2011, 300p, $30pb (also e-book). “The world is on the brink of the greatest crisis it has ever faced: a spiraling lack of fresh water,” as demand for water surges, while groundwater dries up. Worsening water security will soon have dire consequences in many parts of the global economic system. At its 2008 Davos Annual Meeting, the WEF assembled a group of public, private, NGO and academic experts to examine the water crisis issue from all perspectives. The resulting forecast – a stark, nontechnical overview of where we will be by 2025 if we take a business-as-usual approach to (mis)managing our water resources – suggests how business and politics need to manage the water-food-energy-climate nexus as leaders negotiate details of a climate change regime to replace the Kyoto protocols.
(WATER * SECURITY AND WATER * CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * FOOD/AGRICULTURE)
** Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change. National Research Council. America’s Climate Choices Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Nov 2010, 326p (7x10”), $49.95pb. The first of four congressionally requested studies stating that, across the US, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. Even if GHG emissions were substantially reduced now, “climate change and its resulting impacts will continue for some time.” The NRC Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change calls for “a new paradigm that considers a range of possible future climate conditions and impacts that may be well outside the realm of past experience,” as well as actions by many decision-makers in government at all levels, the private sector, and NGOs. Current efforts are hampered by a lack of solid information on costs, benefits, and effectiveness of various adaptation options. A national adaptation strategy is needed to provide technical and scientific resources, incentives to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, and shared lessons learned. (CLIMATE CHANGE * AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES)
** Advancing the Science of Climate Change. National Research Council. America’s Climate Choices Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Nov 2010, 506p (7x10”), $49.95pb. “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks—and in many cases is already affecting--for a broad range of human and natural systems.” While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process if never closed, the NRC Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change shows that “hypotheses about climate change are supported by multiple lines of evidence and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.” This book identifies decisions being made in response to climate change in 12 sectors, ranging from agriculture to transportation; and calls for a single federal entity or program to coordinate a national, multidisciplinary research effort aimed at improving both understanding and responses to climate change. (CLIMATE CHANGE * AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES)
** Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change. National Research Council. American’s Climate Choices Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Nov 2010, 300p (7x10”), $49.95pb. “Human activity – especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change – is affecting global average temperatures, snow and ice cover, sea level, ocean acidity, growing seasons, precipitation patterns, ecosystems, and human health.” Climate-related decisions are being carried out by almost every agency of the federal government, many state and local government leaders and agencies, businesses, and individual citizens. The NRC Panel on Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change assesses tools for informing decision-makers about climate change and helping them plan and execute effective, integrated responses at all levels of decision-making (local, state, federal, and international.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES)
** Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change. National Research Council. America’s Climate Choices Series. Washington: National Academies Press, Nov 2010, 258p (7x10”), $49.95pb. “Climate change, driven by increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world.” The US should establish a “budget” that sets a limit on total domestic greenhouse emissions from 2010-2050. Meeting such a budget would require a major departure from business as usual, requiring the US to act aggressively and deploy all available energy efficiencies and less carbon-intensive technologies and to develop new ones. The NRC Panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change urges establishement of a carbon pricing system--either cap-and-trade, a system of taxing emissions, or a combination of the two. Complementary policies are also needed to accelerate progress in key areas: 1) developing more efficient and less carbon-intense energy sources in electricity and transportation; 2) advancing full-scale development of new-generation nuclear power; 3) carbon capture and storage systems; 4) amending emissions-intensive energy infrastructure.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES)
*Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits. Edited by Bjørn Lomborg (Director; Copenhagen Consensus Center; Adjunct Prof of Management, Copenhagen Business School). NY: Cambridge U Press, Nov 2010, 450p , $34.99pb. The failure of the December 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen revealed major flaws in the way the world’s policy maker have attempted to prevent dangerous levels of increases in global temperatures. The collection focuses on the likely costs and benefits of a very wide range of policy options and technological ideas. A panel of economists further evaluate and rank the attractiveness of proposed policies. [A somewhat narrower focus on climate, in contrast to Lomborg’s Global Crises, Global Solutions (Cambridge, 2nd ed, 2009), which also features cost-benefit analysis by economists.] (CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. Mark Hertsgaard (northern California). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dec 2010/328p/$24. Author of Earth Odyssey: Around the World in Search of Our Environmental Future (1998) and environmental writer for The New Yorker and The Nation discusses rising sea levels (a three-foot rise in the next 50 years is not impossible), the next 50 years (harsher heat waves and more power blackouts, stronger storms, more disease and pestilence due to hotter weather, less freshwater and food, more forest fires), the 200-year adaptation plan of the Dutch, the need for ecological agriculture, the $50 billion wine industry as an early warning for all food crops and businesses, the insurance industry, and the need for a Green Apollo program to jump-start transition to a climate-resilient economy. (Also see “Adapting to Climate Change: Facing the Consequences,” The Economist Cover Feature, 27 Nov 2010, 85-88.) (CLIMATE CHANGE * WINE INDUSTRY AND CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming. William Antholis (managing director, Brookings Institution; former deputy director, White House climate change policy team) and Strobe Talbott (president, Brookings Institution; former US deputy Secretary of State). Washington: Brookings Institution Press, June 2010/150p/$22.95. Urgently-needed actions related to climate change may amount to the most difficult political transaction in the history of mankind. “Politics as usual” will not get the job done. A new mind-set is needed, particularly a focus on what can be accomplished immediately and on ethical responsibilities to future generations alike. “Those changes should entail, first and foremost, shifting from reliance on a cumbersome UN-led pursuit of a legally binding global treaty, on slow forward for 20 years, to a less formal process by which the US, the EU, China, and India form the core of an expanding circle of countries that will develop their energy policies and regulate their emissions in an increasingly coordinated fashion”. (CLIMATE CHANGE * WORLD GOVERNANCE)
**World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse. Lester R. Brown (president, Earth Policy Institute, Washington; www.earthpolicy.org). NY: W. W. Norton, Jan 2011/160p/$14.95pb. On the race between political and natural tipping points. Draws on decades of research and analysis to respond key questions: Can we close coal-fired plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? See Book of the Month for January 2011.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * ECONOMIC COLLAPSE AHEAD? * TIPPING POINTS)
* Climate Finance: Regulatory and Funding Strategies for Climate Change and Global Development. Edited by Richard B. Stewart (Prof of Env. and Administrative Law, NYU), Benedict Kingsbury (Prof of Intl Law, NYU), and Bryce Rudyk (Center for Environmental and Land Use Law, NYU). NY: New York U Press, March 2010, 352p, $25pb. (www.climatefinance.org). Preventing risks of severe damage from climate change requires enormous amounts of public and private investment to limit emissions, while promoting green growth in developing countries. Attention has focused on emissions limitations commitments and architectures, but the crucial issue of mobilizing and governing the necessary financial resources has received too little attention. The 36 essays show how a complex mix of public funds, private investment through carbon markets, and structured incentives is needed. This requires national and global regulation of cap-and-trade and offset markets, forest and energy policy, international development funding, international trade law, and coordinated tax policy.
(DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE * CLIMATE CHANGE FINANCE)
*Achieving Global Sustainability: Policy Recommendations (Sustainability Science, 5 of 5). Edited by Takamitsu Sawa (Adviser, Kyoto Sustainability Initiative), Susumu Iai (Director, Kyoto Sustainability Initiative), and Seiji Ikkatai (Prof of Economics, Kyoto U). Tokyo & NY: United Nations U Press, Aug 2010, 375p, $37pb. “The problem of global sustainability is indisputably the most serious issue facing humanity today.” Solving this difficult problem requires a drastic redesign of society in all aspects—technological, economic, and social. Advocates paradigm shifts in both economic growth and socioeconomic development, in terms of social common capital, contemporary social discipline, and economic valuation of the environment. Presents climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies (the latter with a focus on technology), and recommends a “Green New Deal” leading to a low-carbon society by 2050.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABILITY* LOW CARBON SOCIETY * “GREEN NEW DEAL”)
* Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. James Hansen (director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; www.stormsofmygrandchildren.com). NY: Bloomsbury, Dec 2009/320p/$25. A leading American climate scientist who first warned of global warming in 1982 warns that “the timetable is shorter than we thought…(due to) the nearness of climate tipping points, beyond which climate dynamics can cause rapid changes out of humanity’s control.” The biggest obstacle to addressing global warming is the undue sway of special interests, and “government greenwash” (the vast disparity between words and reality) contributes to the crisis. “In 2001, I was more sanguine about the climate situation,” thinking that CO2 at 450ppm was tolerable. It is now at 387ppm in 2009, “already in the dangerous range” and we must reduce it to 350ppm at most. (WORLD FUTURES * CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. Stewart Brand (Sausalito CA). NY: Viking, Dec 2009/316p/$25.95. Founder of The Whole Earth Catalog views climate change as the single largest threat to humanity. A carbon-free future is needed, with rapid deployment of a new generation of nuclear power plants as the leading component of a green energy plan. Other key ideas: 1) large-scale geoengineering is now imperative because it is too late to completely prevent or mitigate climate change; 2) booming megacities facilitate beneficial arrangements between humans and the environment (e.g., allowing half of humanity to live in 2.8% of the land); 3) urban slums (“squatter cities”), home to more than half of city dwellers, are the new sustainable communities pioneering in urban farming; 4) GM crops must be embraced so as to reduce pesticide and water use; 5) “open-source biotech” is needed to develop non-patent-protected seeds. (CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABILITY * NUCLEAR ENERGY * MEGACITIES * SQUATTER CITIES * GM CROPS * GEOENGINEERING)
* Global Warming: The Complete Briefing (4th edition). Sir John Houghton (Prof of Physics, Oxford U; former chair, IPCC Scientific Assessment Working Group). NY: Cambridge U Press, April 2009, 456p, $59pb An undergraduate textbook based on the latest IPCC findings, seeking to be “the definitive guide to climate change.” Earlier editions published in 1994, 1997, and 2004. (with 60 b/w illus, 332 color illus, and 19 tables). (CLIMATE CHANGE)
**Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change. Clive Hamilton (Prof of Public Ethics, Australian National U). London & Sterling, VA: Earthscan (dist. by Stylus), May 2010, 286p, $24.95. Greenhouse gas emissions are now exceeding the worst-case scenarios of a few years ago, and, after a decade of little real action, “catastrophic climate change is now virtually certain.” Even if we act promptly and resolutely, “the world is on a path to reach 650ppm” of CO2, well above the “safe” level of 450ppm. Chapters discuss growth fetishism, wasteful consumption, the many forms of denial, disconnection from nature, climate engineering, and life in “the four-degree world” expected by leading climate scientists, well beyond the two degree rise previously expected. See long review as GFB Book of the Month. (CLIMATE CHANGE * WORLD FUTURES)
** Climate Change Science and Policy. Edited by Stephen H. Schneider (Prof of Biological Sciences, Stanford U) and three others. Washington: Island Press, Dec 2009/608p/$59.50pb. An up-to-date reference showing that climate change has progressed faster than the 2007 IPCC reports anticipated, and that the outlook for the future is bleaker than seen by the IPCC; the 49 chapters address ecological impacts of climate change, policy analysis, international considerations, US considerations, and mitigation options to reduce carbon emissions. (ENVIRONMENT * CLIMATE CHANGE)
** The Climate Solutions Consensus. National Council for Science and the Environment. Edited by David E. Blockstein of NCSE and Leo Wiegman. Washington: Island Press, Nov 2009/388p/$30pb. The first major consensus statement on US solutions to climate change, drawing on recommendations of >1200 experts; some 35 results-oriented approaches are proposed; also deals with controversial topics such as nuclear energy, ocean fertilization, and atmospheric geo-engineering.
(ENVIRONMENT * CLIMATE CHANGE)
** The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity. Nicholas Stern (Chair, Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics). NY: Public Affairs, April 2009/400p/$27.95. A popularized version of The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Cambridge UP, Jan 2007/712p), an independent Review reporting to the UK Prime Minister, assessing the evidence for climate change (“the greatest market failure the world has ever seen”) and building understanding of its economics, showing that, even at moderate levels, climate change will have serious impacts on world output, human life, and the environment. All countries will be affected, and action is required by all countries—the earlier it is taken, the less costly it will be.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * STERN REVIEW)
** The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World without Ice Caps. Peter D. Ward (Prof of Geological Sciences, U of Washington). NY: Basic Books, July 2010/272p/$25.95. Sea-level rise will happen no matter what we do. Even if we stopped all CO2 emissions today, the seas would rise one meter by 2050 and three meters by 2100. This will be the most catastrophic effect of global warming. Details what our world will look like in 2050, 2100, and 2300. Also, as icebound regions melt, new sources of oil, gas, minerals, and arable land will be revealed, leading to fierce geopolitical battles.
(WORLD FUTURES * CLIMATE CHANGE * SEA LEVEL RISE)
* Climate Change and the Global Trading System: On the Advantages of a Carbon Tariff. Christian Egenhofer (head, Energy and Climate Change research unit, CEPS), Daniel Gros (director, CEPS), and Selen Guerin Sarisoy (head, Trade Policy research unit, CEPS). Centre for European Policy Studies, Oct 2009/80p/$20pb (dist. by Brookings). Analyzes the impacts of supplementing the EU “cap and trade” emissions trading system with a tax on the CO2 content of imported goods; this border tax or carbon tariff would increase global welfare and can probably be made WTO-compatible.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * TRADING SYSTEM * CARBON TARIFF PROPOSED)
* Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity. Mike Hulme (Director, Centre for Climate Change Research, U of East Anglia). Cambridge U Press, June 2009/300p/$29.99pb. Climate change is an environmental, cultural, and political phenomenon re-shaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies, and humanity’s place on Earth; using different standpoints from science, economics, faith, psychology, and politics, Hulme explains how climate change is a catalyst to revise perception of our place in the world. (CLIMATE CHANGE)
* Greenhouse Governance: Addressing Climate Change in America. Edited by Barry G. Rabe (Prof of Public Policy, U of Michigan). Brookings Institution Press, Dec 2009/375p/$34.95pb. Essays on the influence of US public opinion on climate change, how state and local governments have taken a more active role than once expected, renewable electricity standards, mandating greater vehicle fuel economy, emissions trading vs. carbon taxes, the role of the courts and regulatory agencies, the “adaptation vs. mitigation” debate, and possible models for international governance.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * GOVERNANCE AND CLIMATE)
* The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming. Guy Dauncey (President, BC Sustainable Energy Assn). New Society Publishers, Nov 2009/288p/$24.95pb (with 140 B&W photos). Futurist and author describes a century of exciting change, characterized by renewable energy, sustainable farming, carbon-rich forestry, green cities, electric vehicles, high-speed trains, a blossoming of innovation, and a host of new “green collar” jobs. Steps already taken by homes, schools, businesses, cities, and governments worldwide show that it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint to almost zero by 2040. (CLIMATE CHANGE * SOLUTIONS)