The Best New Books on Climate Change for 2020 - Top 5
MUST READ. MUST ACT
Never before has climate change been a main topic in presidential campaigns. Never before have kids animated movies talked about recycling. Never before have we been in a situation like this. Climate is changing. Earth is changing. Are we changing, too? Are we changing our future? Can we??? Let's try to find the answers in the top 5 books on climate change published in 2020...
"A Good War" by Seth Klein
One of Canada's top policy analysts provides the first full-scale blueprint for meeting our climate change commitments Contains the results of an exclusive national poll on Canadians' attitudes to the climate crisis Shows that radical climate crisis transformation can bring jobs and prosperity as we retool how we live and work Deeply researched and targeted specifically to Canada and Canadians while providing a model that other countries could follow.
"This is a truly great book. Few people have thought as deeply or with as much precision about the climate crisis as Seth Klein." ― Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature" and co-founder of 350.org
"This is the roadmap out of climate crisis that Canadians have been waiting for. Serious, specific and madly inspiring." ― Naomi Klein, activist and author of "This Changes Everything"
"This is the blueprint for rapid societal transformation that we've all been waiting for." ― Ziya Tong, author of "The Reality Bubble" and science broadcaster
Read this inspiring book to realize giving up is not an option and 'can't be done' is not an excuse." ― David Suzuki, scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster
The world has just ten years to at least halve our greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a hope of holding global warming to a 1.5°C increase. Currently, Canada is not on a path to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, and radical systemic change to the way we live and work must happen at high speed, but how are we ever to do this? We can do it. We've actually done it before. During the Second World War, Canadians and their governments completely remade the economy ― retooling factories, transforming the workforce and creating common cause among Canadians for the war effort. In A Good War, author and activist Seth Klein looks at the Second World War strategies and shows how they can be repurposed today for a rapid transition. He demonstrates that this change can create jobs and reduce inequality while tackling our climate obligations and shows us a bold, practical policy plan for a zero-carbon Canada. In this unusually hopeful book, Klein explores how we can align our politics and economy with what the science says we must do. Inspiring and realizable, his book is an invitation to both the public and our political leaders to reflect on the people who saw us through the war, and to consider who we want to be, as we face down the defining task of our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has brought change upon our world that would have been unthinkable a few months ago, change very like what Klein has proposed. It turns out the world can turn on a dime if necessary. The blueprint is in your hands.
"Commanding Hope" by Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon
Calling on history, cutting-edge research, complexity science and even Lord of the Rings, Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon lays out the tools we can command to rescue a world on the brink. For three decades, the renowned author of "The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization", and "The Ingenuity Gap: Can We Solve the Problems of the Future?", has examined the threats to our future security - predicting a deteriorating global environment, extreme economic stresses, mass migrations, social instability and wide political violence if humankind continued on its current course. He was called The Doom Meister, but we now see how prescient he was. Today just about everything we've known and relied on (our natural environment, economy, societies, cultures and institutions) is changing dramatically - too often for the worse. Without radical new approaches, our planet will become unrecognizable as well as poorer, more violent, more authoritarian. In his fascinating long-awaited new book (dedicated to his young children), he calls on his extraordinary knowledge of complexity science, of how societies work and can evolve, and of our capacity to handle threats, to show that we can shift human civilization onto a decisively new path if we mobilize our minds, spirits, imaginations and collective values. Commanding Hope marshals a fascinating, accessible argument for reinvigorating our cognitive strengths and belief systems to affect urgent systemic change, strengthen our economies and cultures, and renew our hope in a positive future for everyone on Earth.
"Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal" by Noam Chomsky, Robert Pollin, C.J. Polychroniou
Climate change: watershed or endgame? In this compelling new book, Noam Chomsky, the world's leading public intellectual, and Robert Pollin, a renowned progressive economist, map out the catastrophic consequences of unchecked climate change—and present a realistic blueprint for change: the Green New Deal. Together, Chomsky and Pollin show how the forecasts for a hotter planet strain the imagination: vast stretches of the Earth will become uninhabitable, plagued by extreme weather, drought, rising seas, and crop failure. Arguing against the misplaced fear of economic disaster and unemployment arising from the transition to a green economy, they show how this bogus concern encourages climate denialism. Humanity must stop burning fossil fuels within the next thirty years and do so in a way that improves living standards and opportunities for working people. This is the goal of the Green New Deal and, as the authors make clear, it is entirely feasible. Climate change is an emergency that cannot be ignored. This book shows how it can be overcome both politically and economically.
"The New Environmental Economics" by Eloi Laurent
Too often, economics disassociates humans from nature, the economy from the biosphere that contains it, and sustainability from fairness. When economists do engage with environmental issues, they typically reduce their analysis to a science of efficiency that leaves aside issues of distributional analysis and justice. The aim of this lucid textbook is to provide a framework that prioritizes human well-being within the limits of the biosphere, and to rethink economic analysis and policy in the light of not just efficiency but equity. Leading economist Éloi Laurent systematically ties together sustainability and justice issues in covering a wide range of topics, from biodiversity and ecosystems, energy and climate change, environmental health and environmental justice, to new indicators of well-being and sustainability beyond GDP and growth, social-ecological transition, and sustainable urban systems. This book equips readers with ideas and tools from various disciplines alongside economics, such as history, political science, and philosophy, and invites them to apply those insights in order to understand and eventually tackle pressing twenty-first-century challenges. It will be an invaluable resource for students of environmental economics and policy, and sustainable development.
"Fossil Fuels and the Environment" by Adeniyi A Afonja
Climate change is a major global issue today, and one of the most controversial. The debate is full of well-mixed ideals, myths and realities. The pro-climate change world has an aggressive global campaign machinery against fossil energy use which is believed to be the cause of global warming and climate change. The sceptics are just as strong: either they do not believe that the climate is changing, or they think human activities have nothing to do with it. Infusion of politics inspired by intra-country exigencies has further complicated the issues and it has become difficult to distinguish between realities, facts, and fiction. Ideals and myths are strong weapons for sensitizing and motivating global mitigation action on climate change, but it is also useful to know what is real or possible. Facing realities would help to focus on feasible, sustainable adaptation and mitigation actions that could help the world optimize energy use and deal with the consequences of climate change. Global warming is one of the major indicators of climate change, and extensive climate database shows that the average global temperature has been rising steadily from pre-industrial 14oC and, although there are many natural phenomena that can cause the Earth to heat up or cool, strong scientific evidence indicates that between 0.8oC and 1.2oC of the rise has been caused by human activities which release heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, mostly in the last seven decades or so. This apparently small temperature rise can have very big impact on the global climate largely because the oceans which occupy around three-quarters of the Earth's surface area absorb over 90% of the anthropogenic heat and much of the carbon dioxide. An increase in the average global temperature by even less than 1oC can have a profound influence on weather and climate in many ways, in particular, wind dynamics and the intensity, frequency and geographical spread of extreme weather; draught and desertification. Also, about 7 million deaths annually are associated with environmental pollution. Although there are many natural phenomena that can cause global warming and climate change, ample scientific evidence shows that human activities particularly in the last seven decades or so have exacerbated the negative impacts on weather, climate, human health and the survival of the ecosystem, with potentially devastating consequences which may resonate for centuries, even millennia. Fossil fuels have powered the global economy for centuries but also account for by far the largest share of anthropogenic emissions that have been causing profound environmental issues. Considering the pivotal role of fossil fuels in industry, transportation and building sectors of the global economy, the vital role fossil energy production and trading in country economies, security, and human development across all regions of the world, and the currently slow rate of decarbonizing energy, the dominance will likely persist for decades. This book discusses in depth the global energy resources, production and use by the different sectors of the economy, and associated environmental issues. The extensive recent publications on energy use and the environment are reviewed in depth, alternative pathways to a lower carbon energy global economy are discussed and strategies for adaptation and mitigation that could place the world on the pathway towards a sustainable environment are presented.
And two more...
"All We Can Save" by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Katharine K. Wilkinsony
Provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward. There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it's clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial table. More than a problem of bias, it's a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone. "All We Can Save" illuminates the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States—scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, wonks, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race—and aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. These women offer a spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can rapidly, radically reshape society. Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future. We must summon truth, courage, and solutions to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility. Curated by two climate leaders, the book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.
With essays and poems by Emily Atkin • Xiye Bastida • Ellen Bass • Colette Pichon Battle • Jainey K. Bavishi • Janine Benyus • adrienne maree brown • Régine Clément • Abigail Dillen • Camille T. Dungy • Rhiana Gunn-Wright • Joy Harjo • Katharine Hayhoe • Mary Annaïse Heglar • Jane Hirshfield • Mary Anne Hitt • Ailish Hopper • Tara Houska, Zhaabowekwe • Emily N. Johnston • Joan Naviyuk Kane • Naomi Klein • Kate Knuth • Ada Limón • Louise Maher-Johnson • Kate Marvel • Gina McCarthy • Anne Haven McDonnell • Sarah Miller • Sherri Mitchell, Weh'na Ha'mu Kwasset • Susanne C. Moser • Lynna Odel • Sharon Olds • Mary Oliver • Kate Orff • Jacqui Patterson • Leah Penniman • Catherine Pierce • Marge Piercy • Kendra Pierre-Louis • Varshini • Prakash • Janisse Ray • Christine E. Nieves Rodriguez • Favianna Rodriguez • Cameron Russell • Ash Sanders • Judith D. Schwartz • Patricia Smith • Emily Stengel • Sarah Stillman • Leah Cardamore Stokes • Amanda Sturgeon • Maggie Thomas • Heather McTeer Toney • Alexandria Villaseñor • Alice Walker • Amy Westervelt • Jane Zelikova
"What Can I Do?" by Jane Fonda
A call to action from Jane Fonda, one of the most inspiring activists of our time, urging us to wake up to the looming disaster of climate change and equipping us with the tools we need to join her in protest.
"This is the last possible moment in history when changing course can mean saving lives and species on an unimaginable scale. It's too late for moderation. "
In the fall of 2019, frustrated with the obvious inaction of politicians and inspired by Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein, and student climate strikers, Jane Fonda moved to Washington, D.C., to lead weekly climate change demonstrations on Capitol Hill. On October 11, she launched Fire Drill Fridays, and has since led thousands of people in nonviolent civil disobedience, risking arrest to protest for action. In "What Can I Do?", Fonda weaves her deeply personal journey as an activist alongside conversations with and speeches by leading climate scientists and inspiring community organizers, and dives deep into the issues, such as water, migration, and human rights, to emphasize what is at stake. Most significantly, Fonda equips us all with the tools we need to join her in protest, so that everyone can work to combat the climate crisis. No stranger to protest, Fonda's life has been famously shaped by activism. And now she is once again galvanizing the public to take to the streets. Many are already aware of the looming disaster of climate change and realize that a moral responsibility rests on our shoulders. In 2019, we saw atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases hit the highest level ever recorded in human history, and our window of opportunity to act is quickly closing. We are facing a climate crisis, but we're also facing an empathy crisis and an inequality crisis; the surge of protests over police violence against black Americans has once again highlighted the links between racism and environmental degradation in our country. It isn't only earth's life-support systems that are unraveling. So too is our social fabric. This is going to take an all-out war on drilling and fracking and deregulation and racism and misogyny and colonialism and despair all at the same time. As Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA and Fonda's partner in developing Fire Drill Fridays, has declared, "Change is inevitable; by design, or by disaster." Together, we can commandeer change for the positive--but it will require collective actions taken by social movements on an unprecedented scale. The problems we face now require every one of us to join the fight. The fight for not only our immediate future, but for the future of generations to come.100% of the author's net proceeds from "What Can I Do?" will go to Greenpeace.