Laboratory Earth: The Planetary Gamble We Can't Afford to Lose

Stephen H. Schneider, Author
Stephen H. Schneider, Author Basic Books $20 (176p) ISBN 978-0-465-07279-8
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-465-07280-4
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Global climate change is a complex topic, and there's no one better equipped to make it accessible to the public than Stanford biologist Schneider (Global Warming: Are We Entering the Greenhouse Century). He was one of the first scientists to predict global warming due to anthropogenic causes 20 years ago and, since then, has consistently advised government agencies on the subject. Unfortunately, it is too intricate for the abbreviated book he has written. He offers chapters on basic geological processes, the coevolution of life and climate, the causes of climatic change, mechanisms for modeling that change, the importance of biodiversity and policy options. All are disappointing with respect to style and substance; the writing is flat and the content too condensed to enlighten the uninformed. The policy section is the best. Good suggestions abound here--that we understand the role of the media in (mis)informing the public, that we integrate economics and ecology, that we create a scientific consensus. Had this single chapter been expanded to book length, Schneider might well have produced a volume that deserved a wide readership. Illustrations. (Jan.)
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