With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change

Fred Pearce, Author . Beacon $24.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8576-9

Pearce (When the Rivers Run Dry ) presents some climate modelers' frightening predictions about the consequences of increased global warming. After studying the history of the earth's climate changes, these scientists have learned that, under pressure from natural forces, major shifts can happen abruptly. Today, with the added stress of human interference, irreversible changes could threaten the habitability of our planet. For example, drought and fire could cause the Amazon rainforest to disappear; huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that can be 100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, could be released by the meltdown of Siberian peat; and aerosol emissions in India and China could end the indispensable Asian monsoon. Hard-line skeptics disagree, of course, but Pearce cites highly respected scientists who assert that the threats have been underestimated, especially by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Even President Bush's chief climate modeler notes that the glaciers and ice sheets at the poles are disintegrating at alarming rates and warns that we may be only a decade and one degree of warming away from global catastrophe. The science behind climate studies is complex, but Pearce makes it accessible enough to terrify even the most uninitiated layperson. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-8070-8577-6
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