Synopses & Reviews
The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, most dramatically since the 1970s. In February 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human-produced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are chiefly to blame, to a certainty of more than 90 percent. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus.
In What We Know About Climate Change, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. Although it is impossible to predict exactly when the most dramatic effects of global warming will be felt, he argues, we can be confident that we face real dangers. Emanuel, whose work was widely cited in media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, warns that global warming will contribute to an increase in the intensity and power of hurricanes and flooding and more rapidly advancing deserts.
But just as our actions have created the looming crisis, so too might they avert it. Emanuel calls for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases and criticizes the media for playing down the dangers of global warming (and, in search of "balance, " quoting extremists who deny its existence).
An afterword by environmental policy experts Judith Layzer and William Moomaw discusses how the United States could lead the way in the policy changes required to deal with global warming.
Kerry Emanuel is Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science at MIT. He is the author of Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes and Atmospheric Convection. In May 2006 he was named one of Time magazine's "Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World." The MIT Press The MIT Press The MIT Press The MIT Press
"Emanuel"s words are measured and authoritative. His book should help reduce the huge gap between what is understood by the scientific community and what is known by the people who need to know, the public and policymakers."James Hansen , NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies The MIT Press
"Kerry Emanuel's book What We Know About Climate Change is one of the best [books on climate change] and is certainly the shortest. In less time than it takes to eat dinner, the respected atmospheric scientist and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor filters out the noise and presents clearly the essence of the issues that surround global warming." The Plain Dealer The MIT Press
An introduction to the scientific consensus on the human role in global warming.
An introduction to the science of climate change and the scientific consensus on global warming: how higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to increased power and intensity of hurricanes, more rapidly advancing deserts, and other significant changes.
The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere--most dramatically since the 1970s. In February 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global warming is unequivocal and that human-produced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are chiefly to blame, to a certainty of more than 90 percent. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus. In
About the Author
Judith A. Layzer is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is the author of The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy.