Global Weirdness: severe storms, deadly heat waves, relentless drought, rising seas, and the weather of the future. by "climate central"
New York: Pantheon Books, 2012 200 pages $22.95
If you want the short version, this is modern climate science as of 2012, presented the way James Patterson presents a crime novel: short chapters, simple ideas, and plenty of punch. Personally, I am not a fan of James Patterson novels (sorry if you are). BUT for understanding global warming, this approach actually works darn well.
What the science says, What's actually happening, what's likely to happen in the future, can we avoid the risks of climate change, and finally, The IPCC is what, exactly? That's what you will find in this slim volume. You will find out about droughts, Greenland ice melt, rising sea levels, food supply instability, polar bears, and how CO2 and other greenhouse gases work.
I'd like to help you understand that despite the shortness and simplicity of this book it is NOT "dumbed down." Dumbing something down is when you conclude your audience is stupid, so you leave out important facts. No, that's not what is done here. Instead, they explain things simply but thoroughly. You're not stupid, so you don't need it dumbed down. You may, however, be lacking in knowledge. This book will fix that, if you are willing to read it.
I think this book is overdue. Yes, there are plenty of hardcore denialists out there who will be quite unwilling to open the cover. But I believe that the hardcore denialists of the USA actually constitute around 20% of the citizenry. It's the other 80% we need to inform. No need to let the 20 stand in the way of the 80. What many journalists have failed to understand that it is not appropriate to target global warming books at the 30% who are true believers. What you gonna tell them, what they know already? It's the 50% between the 30% and the 20% who matter. Change their minds and you get us to the point of ACTION. But I digress- this is not referencing the content of the book, it is merely describing the problem of public ignorance that the book addresses. Most Americans think that they understand global warming. Most Americans are wrong.
In that regard, I will admit that I learned things reading this book, so it has things to offer the 30% too. You can get it at your library if you prefer not to spend the money on buying it. Will this book worry you and cause anxiety? Well yeah it will, but not because it is alarmist. It's a very matter-of-fact presentation. If you can read it and shrug it off, fine. If so you are tougher or more oblivious than I am. Why the odd title? It expresses the concept that global warming is not just about Heat; it is mostly about fundamentally changing the patterns of our planetary climate in ways that complicate the survival of all living things. In case you wondered, you are a living thing- and so are your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, etc. And as chapter 43 informs us, "The effects of greenhouse gases won't suddenly stop in 2100."