Since King described climate change in 2004 as “the most severe problem we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism”, the scale of the situation has become even more evident.
The authors, both of whom are chemists, navigate their way through the subject of global warming, successfully avoiding densely scientific language, the “green” political soapbox or the alarming scenarios that have been labeled “climate porn”. Instead, Walker – a writer and broadcaster — and King – a former chief scientific advisor to the British government – guide their readers smoothly through the facts and the misconceptions surrounding climate change.
They clearly explain how we earthlings got into the mess we’re in and what we need to do now – how to cope with what we can’t change and how to mitigate the effects of climate change where we can. While acknowledging that the global warming problem is “probably the most serious that the human race has, collectively, ever faced”, Walker and King remain optimistic.
Insisting that it’s not too late and that there is still plenty that humans can do to hold off the worst effects of global warming, the authors lay out the adaptations and the technological, economic and political solutions that need to be pursued. They also include a key chapter on individuals: what we can do, the influence we have in our daily life-choices and why seemingly small decisions matter. High on the list: stay informed and be open-minded. The Hot Topic is a good place to start.
The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights On
Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008
— By Maryann Bird
Maryann Bird is associate editor of chinadialogue.