The Climate Book review: An essential guide to a better world – created by Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg has enticed over 100 experts to write about the climate crisis.
IT FEELS like Greta Thunberg has been around for ages – I guess if you are in the fossil fuel business it feels like even longer. Yet it was only in 2018 that she first sat down outside the Swedish parliament and started the School Strike for Climate movement. What has happened since isn’t just a testament to her personally – then a bullied teenager with selective mutism, now a globally important figure and icon – but also proof that the change we need to happen can happen. With The Climate Book, a stunning and essential new work, she takes her mission to the next level.
Thunberg has used her status to entice more than 100 experts from around the world to write about some aspect of the crisis we face. I can’t think of anyone else who would have the clout to do this, and the result is an incredible and moving resource. There are chapters on almost everything you might need to know about, from climate feedback loops to permafrost instability, from tackling consumerism to ecosystem collapse, from managing the transition over to renewable energy to environmental racism, where communities of colour are disproportionately affected by climate change.
The book is divided into five parts: how climate works, how our planet is changing, how it affects us, what we have done about it, and what we must do now. Each section is introduced and rounded off by an essay from Thunberg. What I like about this approach is that it forces each author to distil their expertise into a few pages. Thunberg still gets a pulpit, but the book is a curated, portable library of knowledge, full of classics.
Everyone will get something different from reading this book. The first half covers the science of the unfolding crisis, laying a solid and detailed foundation for the rest of the book to build on. Friederike Otto at Imperial College London explains the science of attribution – determining how we can link heatwaves, droughts and hurricanes to climate change. She reveals the financial cost of extreme weather events that can be attributed to climate change, showing that of the $90 billion of damage done to Houston by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, $67 billion was down to global warming.
Author: Rowan Hooper, Environment, The New Scientist