Al Gore showed in An Inconvenient Truth, to his own satisfaction if not to everyone's, that global warming is a real and urgent problem. The obvious next question is how to solve it, so Our Choice is 'about the things we can do, the things we must do, to stop global warming before it's too late.'

Gore says that we can't afford to keep pumping CO2 into the air but acknowledges that we do need energy so he examines the alternatives. Solar, wind and geothermal all get a 'yes'; biofuels get a 'need to do better', and carbon capture and nuclear power get a 'not yet and possibly not ever'. Then he looks at deforestation, soil degradation, overpopulation, the true cost of carbon, and 'changing the way we think.' The last of these is the key to the whole book. His message, repeated in different forms at the end of almost every chapter, is that the crucial factor is not our capacity to make the necessary changes but our will to do so: that the quality of our future is, indeed, Our Choice.

This is the 'young reader's edition'. The text is brief and clear, and more than half of its 200 pages are colourful illustrations. USA looms enormous on its cover, accidentally giving fair warning of its only real drawback for young non-American readers: 'we' often refers specifically to the US but doesn't say so, and too many of the examples are American; an international edition would be an excellent idea.

Anyone wanting more depth should seek out the original, adult version, more than twice as long and attracting spectacularly partisan reviews (e.g. Huffington Post; NY Post) worldwide. See also An Inconvenient Truth - http://www.climatecrisis.net/

Bloomsbury Children's Books, November 2009, $24.99

Review not previously published
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