Synopses & Reviews
Sometime this century the day will arrive when the human influence on the climate will overwhelm all other natural factors. Over the past decade, the world has seen the most powerful El Nino ever recorded, the most devastating hurricane in two hundred years, the hottest European summer on record (which killed twenty-six thousand people in two months), the first South Atlantic hurricane ever, and one of the worst storm seasons ever experienced in Florida. With one out of every five living things on this planet committed to extinction by the levels of greenhouse gases that will accumulate in the next few decades, we are reaching a global climatic tipping point. The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Originally somewhat of a global warming skeptic, Tim Flannery spent several years researching the topic and offers a connect-the-dots approach for a reading public who has received patchy or misleading information on the subject.
Pulling on his expertise as a scientist to discuss climate change from a historical perspective, Flannery also explains how climate change is interconnected across the planet. Along with a riveting history of how climate change has shaped our planet's evolution, Flannery offers specific suggestions for action for both lawmakers and individuals, from investing in renewable power sources like wind, solar, and geothermal energy, to offering an action plan with steps each and every one of us can take right now to reduce deadly CO2 emissions by as much as 70 percent. Nothing in predictive climate science is morecertain than the destruction of many of the world's mountain-dwelling species. We can even foretell which will become extinct first. This high degree of scientific certainty comes from three factors. First, the effect of rising temperatures on mountain habitats is easily calculated, and past changes to warming are documented; second, the conditions that many mountain-dwelling species can tolerate are known; and third, as the climate warms, mountain species have nowhere to go but upward, and the height of mountain peaks worldwide has been precisely ascertained. Given the rate of warming, we can calculate the time to extinction of most mountain-dwelling species. Every high tropical mountain on Earth has an equivalent alpine habitat that is rich in biodiversity, and below them are mountain ranges that are refuges for an astonishing variety of life: from iconic species such as pandas and mountain gorillas to humble lichens and insects. Over the course of the twentieth century, mountain-dwelling species have withdrawn on average twenty feet up the slopes of their mountain homes per decade. The creatures and plants did this because conditions at the lower margins of their distributions became intolerable (either too hot or too dry) or because of newly arrived species they could not outcompete. This may seem a small amount of movement, but we must remember that out planet has not been warmer than it is now for millions of years, a situation that has left many ancient species clinging to the last few thousand feet of mountain peaks around the world. Throughout the world, every continent, as well as many islands, has mountain ranges that are the last refuge of species of astonishing beauty anddiversity. And we stand to lose it all, from gorillas to pandas to New Zealand's vegetable sheep.
"Mammologist and paleontologist Flannery (The Eternal Frontier), who in recent years has become well known for his controversial ideas on conservation, the environment and population control, presents a straightforward and powerfully written look at the connection between climate change and global warming. It's destined to become required reading following Hurricane Katrina as the focus shifts to the natural forces that may have produced such a devastating event. Much of the book's success is rooted in Flannery's succinct and fascinating insights into related topics, such as the differences between the terms greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change, and how the El Nio cycle of extreme climatic events 'had a profound re-organising effect on nature.' But the heart of the book is Flannery's impassioned look at the earth's 'colossal' carbon dioxide pollution problem and his argument for how we can shift from our current global reliance on fossil fuels to a hydrogen-based economy. Flannery consistently produces the hard goods related to his main message that our environmental behavior makes us all 'weather makers' who 'already possess all the tools required to avoid catastrophic climate change.' Agent, Kim Witherspoon." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An authoritative yet accessible presentation of the scientific evidence that climate change is happening; a clear delineation of what global warming has done and could do to life on our planet; and an urgent call for action. A powerful and persuasive book, sure to provoke strong reaction." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"At last, here is a clear and readable account of one of the most important but controversial issues facing everyone in the world today. If you are not already addicted to Tim Flannery's writing, discover him now: The Weathermakers is his best book yet." Jared Diamond, author of Collapse and Guns, Germs & Steel
"It would be hard to imagine a better or more important book." Bill Bryson
"This is a magnificent book; exciting, poetic, passionate and full of knowledge we all need and can act upon before it's too late." Redmond OHanlon
"[Flannery] is a clear and engaging writer who has done his homework." Chicago Sun-Times
"[Flannery's] detailed explanations of the science and impact of climate change are both educational and disturbing." Christian Science Monitor
"The Weather Makers is written in 35 short chapters of the sort that make for good subway or bus reading, each addressing a different aspect of global warming, which is, to put it mildly, a complex issue." Los Angeles Times
"Flannery's The Weather Makers is a cogent and readable exposition of global warming, distilling the latest scientific research into easily accessible language....[A] good start for anyone concerned about the world we are creating and what we can do about it." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"As a paleontologist and mammalogist, Flannery wanders into and out of his home disciplines in The Weather Makers
but manages the material with force, clarity and authority throughout....Flannery is fast emerging as one of our best popularizers of science a term vaguely insulting in many academic circles for those who somehow manage to convey not just the why of things but the why-we-should-care. The secret in Flannery's case...seems to be confident knowledge joined to a storyteller's gifts and a writer's determination to get it just right a rare combination, and a powerful one when brought to bear on such a monumental topic." Thomas Hayden, The Washington Post Book World
(read the entire Washington Post Book World review
Sometime this century the day will arrive when the human influence on the climate will overwhelm all other natural factors. Over the past decade, the world has seen the most powerful El Niand#241;o ever recorded, the most devastating hurricane in two hundred years, the hottest European summer on record, and one of the worst storm seasons ever experienced in Florida. With one out of every five living things on this planet committed to extinction by the levels of greenhouse gases that will accumulate in the next few decades, we are reaching a global climatic tipping point. The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Along with a riveting history of climate change, Tim Flannery offers specific suggestions for action for both lawmakers and individuals, from investing in renewable power sources like wind, solar, and geothermal energy, to offering an action plan with steps each and every one of us can take right now to reduce deadly CO2 emissions by as much as 70 percent.
About the Author
Dr. Flannery has made contributions of international significance to the fields of palaeontology, mammalogy and conservation and to the understanding of science in the broader community. His work, which includes a number of major discoveries, has received international acclaim from both peers and professionals.
His book, The Future Eaters (1994), concerns the evolution of Australasian environments and is the first of its kind. It is a remarkable synthesis of the determinants of life in the southern lands that comprise Australasia. The Times Literary Supplement praised the work's insight and fresh approach to issues of international concern. The book quickly became a best seller in Australia and it has been released in the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. It is currently used as a major university textbook in the Environmental Sciences.
By utilising his original and innovative approach to solutions to environmental problems, Dr. Flannery maintains a high, provocative and vocal profile. This serves to initiate positive, active debate and draws needed attention to vital issues such as the loss of Australian biodiversity, degradation of the land, sustainability and conserving our resources. Dr. Flannery seeks to link the nature of the Australian environment with social and economic problems, and by popularising science provides access to issues of fundamental importance to all Australians.
Dr. Flannery's expertise is sought by national environmental committees and educational bodies. He is a Member of the National Environmental Education Council and a member and voice of many other projects and organisations.
Dr. Flannery is not only an outstanding national figure. His expertise is sought internationally. He recently returned from a year as Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University, where he drew international attention to Australia and its unique biodiversity, character and history.
Dr. Flannery has also promoted international conservation issues within Papua New Guinea and the surrounding lands, making major inroads into understanding their biodiversity whilst making groundbreaking discoveries (e.g., the tree kangaroos of Irian Jaya). His research clarifies and draws attention to the status of endangered species and publicises past extinctions to prevent future ones. Without Dr. Flannery's conservation work it is likely that species such as Bulmer's Fruit Bat would already be extinct.
Dr. Flannery publishes prolifically, having written 9 books and over 90 refereed papers. His high, often controversial, profile provides an outstanding example for others to follow, both young and old. His documentaries and videos, radio appearances, proposals for conservation programs and teaming also support the nomination of this excellent Australian.
Dr. Flannery is a worthy recipient of the Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for his deep commitment to secure a future for the Australian environment.