Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

My latest library selection is "Six Degrees: Our Future on A Hotter Planet" by Mark Lynas. In it he describes what will happen to our ecosystem and speculates on the impact on civilization for each degree of global warming from one to six. The impact is astounding: rising sea levels, drought and famine, destruction of rainforests, loss of biodiversity, human population disruption, and even worse.

Although six degrees sounds insignificant, we experience temperature swings like that every day, in reality it will have a profound effect on the Earth. During the last ice age, the average temperature was only six degrees colder than it is today, and ice sheets stretched across North America.

His book is a carefully researched synthesis of hundreds of scientific studies and models. It presents a compelling case for immediate and far-reaching actions to slow global warming. I think the first step we must take is an unbiased scientific analysis of the data. I've had a lot of conversations with people who do not "believe" in global warming. I think we have to return to the basics and learn to think scientifically and examine evidence in an unbiased search for truth. So often what we allow ourselves to accept is only information consistent with what we regard to be our world view. This human tendency creates a potential bias in our perceptions. It is essential for all of us to study and learn as much as possible. Six Degrees is a compelling first step to take in our self-education. I am looking forward to reading and learning more.


At 4:08 PM, Blogger Watercolor said...

Interesting. I'll have to check this one out. Thanks!


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