by Elizabeth Kolbert
published by Bloomsbury USA
© 2006 by Elizabeth Kolbert
Click on image to purchase.
From Publisher's Weekly
On the burgeoning shelf of cautionary but occasionally alarmist books
warning about the consequences of dramatic climate change, Kolbert's
calmly persuasive reporting stands out for its sobering clarity. Expanding
on a three-part series for the New Yorker, Kolbert (The Prophet of Love)
lets facts rather than polemics tell the story: in essence, it's that
Earth is now nearly as warm as it has been at any time in the last 420,000
years and is on the precipice of an unprecedented "climate regime,
one with which modern humans have had no prior experience." An
inexorable increase in the world's average temperature means that butterflies,
which typically restrict themselves to well-defined climate zones, are
now flitting where they've never been found before; that nearly every
major glacier in the world is melting rapidly; and that the prescient
Dutch are already preparing to let rising oceans reclaim some of their
land. In her most pointed chapter, Kolbert chides the U.S. for refusing
to sign on to the Kyoto Accord. In her most upbeat chapter, Kolbert
singles out Burlington, Vt., for its impressive energy-saving campaign,
which ought to be a model for the rest of the nation—just as this
unbiased overview is a model for writing about an urgent environmental
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