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Mark Lynas

Six degrees : our future on a hotter planet

Global Warming is much in the news nowadays and so it should be - most of the other problems we have pale into insignificance compared to what global warming might bring. InSix degrees : our future on a hotter planet Mark Lynas tells the reader just how bad it might get.

The book is divided into chapters from 1° to 6°, each describing what is likely to happen with that degree of warming. 1 ° means that many mountain glaciers will shrink, leading to water shortages around the rivers they feed. Fragile ecosystems are also likely to be hit badly. 2° will mean that the heatwaves of 2003 will come to be thought of as normal, and that much of the arctic ice will disappear. I'll skip ahead here and point out that even if we go ahead with most of the plans to limit global warming, we're still likely to have a temperature rise of 1-2 degrees. And it gets worse. 3° means the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and more devastating storms. 4° leads to the huge sea level rise we've seen in the movies. 5° - well if it gets that bad then it's not likely to stop there. Positive feedback mechanisms such as the release of methane hydrates will mean the temperature will go on increasing. This brings us to 6°, which may well lead to a mass extinction - worse than that at the end of the Permian, since it will happen so much quicker.

The book ends with a look at which of these temperatures it is likely to be, and emphasises that business as usual is simply not an option and that the naysayers are just clutching at straws. Lynas argues however, that we are not powerless to tackle the problem. One of the things I liked about this book was the way that Lynas packed in a great amount of detail, which can't just be dismissed with a few platitudes, but did so in a way that kept the readers interest. Hence I feel that this is likely to be an important book in spreading the message of what we are likely to be in for. info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 142620213X
Salesrank: 604937
Published: 2008 National Geographic
Amazon price $24.96
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Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 0007209053
Salesrank: 103893
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2008 Harper Perennial
Amazon price £8.48
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Product Description
Possibly the most graphic treatment of global warming that has yet been published, Six Degrees is what readers of Al Gore's best-selling An Inconvenient Truth or Ross Gelbspan's Boiling Point will turn to next. Written by the acclaimed author of High Tide, this highly relevant and compelling book uses accessible journalistic prose to distill what environmental scientists portend about the consequences of human pollution for the next hundred years.

In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report projecting average global surface temperatures to rise between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius (roughly 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. Based on this forecast, author Mark Lynas outlines what to expect from a warming world, degree by degree. At 1 degree Celsius, most coral reefs and many mountain glaciers will be lost. A 3-degree rise would spell the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, disappearance of Greenland's ice sheet, and the creation of deserts across the Midwestern United States and southern Africa. A 6-degree increase would eliminate most life on Earth, including much of humanity.

Based on authoritative scientific articles, the latest computer models, and information about past warm events in Earth history, Six Degrees promises to be an eye-opening warning that humanity will ignore at its peril.