If we are going to act we need to realistically understand the problem of how our climate is changing. How much it is going to heat up by. Over what timescale and the consequences to natural habitats, farming, water supply, storms, flooding, society, politics. Mark Lynas summarises paleo-climatology research (he took months reading papers in the Oxford libraries) in an accessible format by telling a series of stories from all over the world of how our world is changing now and how it changed in the past when temperatures were higher. Written like a national geographic article divided into bite sized chunks. Each chapter covers a 1ºC rise up to 6 ºC. Will most likely be in your local library but if a group of you buy one copy and read it you can share and discuss the issues.
Harper Perennial ISBN978-0-00-720905-7
Storms of my Grandchildren: The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity
Professor James Hansen
James Hansen is the worlds pre-eminent climate scientist, professor in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia university and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He has decided to be more vocal on climate change and the need for urgent change in policy direction. Since the 80’s Hansen began testifying to congress on climate change science and witnessed time and time again vested interest obstructing effective change in policy. Hansen’s message is clear if you have a vested interest in your loved ones especially the children, get clued up about the vested interest in the political elite who are not acting responsibly for all life on the planet and start to try and change things before it is too late. Hansen in each chapter equips you with the whole story right up to telling us what we cant afford to happen which is the continued burning of coal and unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas and tar sands. A very important read
Report: Climate Extremes: Recent Trends with implications for National Security Oct 2012
The CIA funded this study to look at the extent and pace of climate changes and how they will lead to potential impacts on food, water, energy and economic security. This document at just over a 100 pages is relatively easy to read and understand especially if you skip the technical bits. Presently it is having an effect in America as many congressman are reading this document and taking it seriously. Coupled with many ordinary Americans being directly affected by drought, floods, storms and water shortages it is no wonder it has started to be put back on the political agenda. The report is global and concentrates on the next couple of decades, close enough to allow us to imagine what situation we will experience in our lifetimes.
Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies
The author is a journalist and educator who through explaining these issues to his students has come to write a book which deals with the imminent decline of cheap oil. It shows how oil and war have been closely related for the past century and how competition to control oil supplies is likely to lead to new resource wars. Tracing the crucial role of fossil fuels in the rise of industrialism, Heinberg discusses the degree to which energy alternatives can compensate for oil, and makes realistic recommendations to deal with the problem.
Plan B 4.0 Mobilization to Save Civilization
W.WNorton ISBN 978-0-393-33719-8
Causes of Global Warming Observed since the 19th Century
Authors: M.J Ring, D.Linder, E.Cross, M.Shlesinger Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2012, 2,401-415
Published online www.SciRP.org/journals/acs
A Fair Plan to Safeguard Earth’s climate Authors M.Shlesinger, M.Ring, E.Cross Journal of Environmental Protection, 2012, 3, 455-461
Published online www.SciRP.org/journals/jep
Both these papers are worth reading, the teams who put these papers together have tried to make them accessible to non-scientists. Leave out the methodology, try to understand the graphs and concentrate on their summarised conclusions. The first report is looking at the influence of human activities and natural variability over the period 1908-2010 on near surface global temperature. It concludes that the overall warming is predominantly caused by human activity and not natural variability. However it breaks up the data into shorter periods: 1904 -1944, 1944-1976 and 1976-2010 and looks at the contributions of natural variability and human forcing in these periods. It highlights that early 20th century warming is caused by natural variability and progressively warming through to the present day is caused overwhelmingly by human activity i.e. the burning of fossil fuels. It highlights this trend which is particularly prominent from 1976 onwards.
The second short report puts forward a plan of cuts for developing and developed countries where by the emissions peak in 2015 and get reduced to zero by 2065.Thereby preventing a 2ºC rise in global temperature.
Crisis in Civilization
This a documentary featuring Dr Nafeez Ahmed who investigates how global issues such as climate change, financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages are converging symptoms of a single failed global system. It is a first rate analysis of our current problems. Filled with edited archive footage which brings irony and humour to some serious issues. Worth multiple viewings because there is a lot of interesting information in there that is well researched and worth taking note of.
Age of Stupid: Extended Interviews
George Monbiot and Richard Heinberg
These interviews describe in a nutshell many of the issues of climate change, peak oil and our current inaction to do anything to solve them. Each piece is c. 20mins long.