Anyone who has found themselves embroiled in a messy (perhaps beer-fuelled) debate over climate science would welcome a copy of James Hansen’s Storms of my Grandchildren.
Widely touted as the ‘Grandfather’ of world climate science, Hansen often appears before U.S. Congress to testify on climate issues (see “Messenger of doom”, Cosmos 28, p76), making this, his first book, essential reading for climate change enthusiasts.
It presents mounds of scientific evidence that suggests humanity is in danger of pushing the world past a tipping point and into run-away climate change, and also challenges common sceptical arguments against the role of man, such as those that blame the Sun cycle or variations in Earth’s orbit.
The book is almost an autobiography, recounting his experiences since he first began to study Earth’s changing atmosphere in the late 1970s.
Occasionally the focus on American politics is a little tiring, but Hansen does discuss a safe target for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and outlines how the world could achieve this. Hansen’s prescription is radically different to the cap-and-trade approach favoured by most countries – and some of his recommendations might surprise.