The environment has been important to me for a long time, and over the last five or ten years climate change (aka global warming) has emerged as the greatest threat to its future. I am particularly interested in what it means to us here in Australia but it is a global problem and most of my references are global.
I don't claim any specialist knowledge of climate science but I can claim a good general knowledge and enough scientific literacy to avoid the commonest pitfalls. This page was written when a friend who knows his climate science told me my list of references might be useful to others. If this page helps anyone to become a better, or just better informed, global citizen, it will have repaid the time it took to create.
The science is advancing so quickly, and the public debate is changing so fast, that most references more than a few years old are seriously out of date. Please let me know (see 'Contact' in menu) if you notice any errors or broken links, and feel free to suggest new links. Books are listed after the Web links. Click here to go straight to them.
This page has been duplicated on my newer site, at http://malcolmtattersall.com.au/wp/?page_id=356, so the version here will be maintained but not extended from now on.
Sites in this group get more technical as you go down the list.
The hottest decade on record:
World NOAA reports that 2010 ties with 1998 as the hottest on record.
World (ABC news reporting on NOAA's State of the Climate report July 2010)
Australia (ABC News, Jan 2010)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html
ABC Science unit http://www.abc.net.au/science/expert/realexpert/climatechange/
My review of Poles Apart by Morgan and McCrystal, which assesses the evidence for and against global warming.
Australia's changing climate
http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/trendmaps.cgi lets you see the changes over different time spans and areas.
An animated graph of the rise of atmospheric CO2 over the last 800 000 years: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html There's no commentary - it doesn't need one.
The first link takes you to the main page of ABC's Science unit, the second to their dedicated climate-change page. Both bring you the latest news stories.
RealClimate - Climate Science from Climate Scientists http://www.realclimate.org/
A blog by, and mostly for, climate scientists. Experts discuss the implications - and accuracy - of the latest research: fascinating stuff.
How Much Will the Sea Level Rise?
An introduction to the core climate solutions
Climate Progress is an authoritative blog which 'occupies the intersection of climate science, economics and policy', not surprising when you know its author Dr Joe Romm was Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during the Clinton administration.
An interim update on the IPCC predictions http://ossfoundation.us/
Three years after the cut-off date for the IPCC report and a few months before the Copenhagen meeting...
Climate Change and Australia's Botanic Gardens
Dot Earth - 1988-2008: Climate Then and Now
Changing perceptions of climate science over twenty years.
The Discovery of Global Warming
How did we come to know what we know?
Take part 1: Climate Prediction Net
A 'distributed computing' project to produce predictions of the Earth's climate up to 2080 and to test the accuracy of climate models. Help by running simulations on your home computer.
Take part 2: The Australian Emisssions Reduction Model
Play with the numbers yourself.
(1) What we can do
Shun meat, says UN climate chief - BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7600005.stm
Get Tips to Fight Global Warming http://www.fightglobalwarming.com/
Earth Garden http://www.earthgarden.com.au/portal/news.php
(2) Why we should act
Why and how 'business as usual' is a global Ponzi scheme
Eco-Buddhism: A Buddhist Response to Global Warming http://www.ecobuddhism.org/
Environmental Awareness - Catholic Education
Changing Views on Global Warming: Rupert Murdoch comes on board, 2006 - ABC Science Show
The Climate Institute http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/
Australian Conservation Foundation http://www.acfonline.org.au/default.asp
The Wilderness Society (Australia) http://www.wilderness.org.au/
Rising Tide Australia http://www.risingtide.org.au/
Climate and Politics: This article by Rod Keenan from ABC News - http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s3006148.htm - is an unusually good, concise overview of the political problems inherent in dealing with climate change. A lot of it is a summary of Mike Hulme's recent book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, which could be a good read, too, for anyone who has the time.
'Peak Oil' - the very strong likelihood that the world's oil reserves are much smaller than we would like to think - is going to challenge the status quo whatever we try to do about climate change. It a very mixed curse, and we do need to think about it.
Wikipedia introduction to Peak Oil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
Oil Prices 1861 to 2007 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Oil_Prices_1861_2007.svg
1. Fiction with a environmentalist and/or ethical slant and a sense of humour. A fun way of exploring serious ideas.
Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson *****
The President of the USA doesn’t want to know about global warming but an odd coalition of American scientists and Tibetan diplomats is about to do something about that. It is the first book of a trilogy but can stand alone.
The other two books are very good as well but don't really make sense without their partners. In Fifty Degrees Below and Sixty Days and Counting we get disastrous climate changes, a presidential election which puts an activist in the White House, and the beginnings of wholesale changes to the way the USA operates; also a bunch of sub-plots which any other author would spin off into a whole new book. More: http://www.sfsite.com/lists/ksr.htm
The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (2007) ***
Science fiction about ecological collapse and much more. Review here.
River of Gods by Ian McDonald (2005) *****
More science fiction: water wars in a fragmented India in 2047 are just one strand of this brilliant, challenging novel. Review here.
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett ***
Gods really do exist on Discworld, but only so long as people believe in them. Their power is proportional to the number of worshippers they have, which makes for some fairly desperate deific competition.
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett ****
Golems are made to serve. Does that mean they should have no rights?
If you’re hooked on Discworld after these two, read Thief of Time (*****) or Reaper Man (****) next. If you’re not, you probably never will be. If you just want a tiny sample of Pratchett's work, visit http://www.au.lspace.org/books/dawcn/dawcn-english.html
2. The serious stuff
Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal: Poles Apart
The debate about climate change has become politicised – inevitably so, because if the theory is correct we have to either make big changes to our economies or deal with potentially catastrophic environmental changes within the next few decades – but we risk making the wrong call if the politics obscures the science. Morgan and McCrystal set out to separate the facts from the rhetoric, and do a pretty good job. My review is here.
Al Gore: Our Choice - how we can solve the climate crisis
There are two versions of this important book - a big one for adults and a simplified version for younger readers, which I review here.
Three books on environmental themes (2007):
- Michael Norton: 365 Ways to Change the World ****
- Angela Crocombe: A Lighter Footprint **
- Robin Williams: Future Perfect ***
The books are quite different, being respectively a manual for activism, a manual for individual action, and a caustic but entertaining look at some of the policies that have led towards our looming predicament, but they are all worthwhile and all reviewed here.
...and two more (2009):
- [no author]: Composting
- Michael Braungart and William McDonough: Cradle to Cradle
... a 'how to' guide for householders and a look at rethinking industrial design to make complete recycling possible, both reviewed here.
David King and Gabrielle Walker: The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still
Keep the Lights On (publisher's listing) (2008)
This book was reviewed very positively by Mary-Lou Considine for ECOS, journal of Australia's CSIRO. Download a pdf of her review here:
Created 27 Nov - 4 Dec 2009