Books and Arts

Nature 455, 733 (9 October 2008) | doi:10.1038/455733a; Published online 8 October 2008

Crisis reading

Jenny Meyer

Crisis reading

Books on natural cataclysm, often climate-induced, are in vogue. Two books, Bruce Johansen's The Global Warming Combat Manual (Praeger, 2008) and Bill McGuire's Seven Years to Save the Planet (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008), seek to make readers more environmentally aware. McGuire explains how our homes can be made more energy efficient and our holidays greener. He recommends draconian measures to reduce China's greenhouse-gas emissions, and highlights the battle over crops for biofuels and for food production. The Global Warming Combat Manual discusses climate-driven changes in US environmental policy and practice. By describing recent switches — the increasing use of wind power in Texas, for example — and emerging technologies and trends, Johansen lays out a range of solutions for minimizing climate change.

Crisis reading

CO2 Rising by Tyler Volk (MIT Press, 2008) explains the carbon cycle in detail. Volk describes how evidence of past changes in carbon dioxide levels is obtained and interpreted, before discussing recent increases brought about by our use of fossil fuels.

Edited by Kurt Campbell, Climatic Cataclysm (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) looks beyond the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to the consequences of expected, severe or even catastrophic climate change, and to what national and international organizations can do now to prevent future threats.

Dire Predictions by Michael Mann and Lee Kump (Dorling Kindersley, 2008) is an illustrated guide to the IPCC reports. Running through the scientific evidence, conclusions and key figures behind these influential reports, the book explains the latest thinking on climate science to a general reader.

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