Losing Earth : a recent history / Nathaniel Rich.

By: Rich, Nathaniel, 1980-
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2019]Edition: First editionDescription: x, 206 pages : illustrations ; 22 cmISBN: 9780374191337 (hardcover) :; 0374191336 (hardcover)Subject(s): Global warming -- History | Global environmental change -- History | Carbon dioxide -- Environmental aspects | Petroleum industry and trade -- HistoryDDC classification: 363.738/74
List(s) this item appears in: New Popular Science Books | New Adult Nonfiction
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Adult Book Phillipsburg Free Public Library
Adult Non-Fiction New Books 363.73874 RIC Available 36748002467498
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

<p>By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change--including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.</p> <p> The New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to Nathaniel Rich's groundbreaking chronicle of that decade, which became an instant journalistic phenomenon--the subject of news coverage, editorials, and conversations all over the world. In its emphasis on the lives of the people who grappled with the great existential threat of our age, it made vivid the moral dimensions of our shared plight.</p> <p>Now expanded into book form, Losing Earth tells the human story of climate change in even richer, more intimate terms. It reveals, in previously unreported detail, the birth of climate denialism and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry's coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. The book carries the story into the present day, wrestling with the long shadow of our past failures and asking crucial questions about how we make sense of our past, our future, and ourselves.</p> <p>Like John Hersey's Hiroshima and Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth , Losing Earth is the rarest of achievements: a riveting work of dramatic history that articulates a moral framework for understanding how we got here, and how we must go forward.</p>

Includes bibliographical references (pages 205-206).

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction: The Reckoning (p. 3)
  • Part I Shouts in the Street: 1979-1982
  • 1 The Whole Banana: Spring 1979 (p. 13)
  • 2 Mirror Worlds: Spring 1979 (p. 27)
  • 3 Between Clambake and Chaos: July 1979 (p. 33)
  • 4 Enter Cassandra, Raving: 1979-1980 (p. 39)
  • 5 A Very Aggressive Defensive Program: 1979-1980 (p. 47)
  • 6 Tiger on the Road: October 1980 (p. 53)
  • 7 A Deluge Most Unnatural: November 1980-September 1981 (p. 65)
  • 8 Heroes and Villains: March 1982 (p. 71)
  • 9 The Direction of an Impending Catastrophe: 1982 (p. 79)
  • Part II Bad Science Fiction: 1983-1988
  • 10 Caution Not Panic: 1983-1984 (p. 87)
  • 11 The World of Action: 1985 (p. 101)
  • 12 The Ozone in October: Fall 1985-Summer 1986 (p. 107)
  • 13 Atmospheric Scientist, New York, N.Y.: Fall 1987-Spriiif 1988 (p. 113)
  • Part III You Will See Things That You Shall Believe: 1988-1989
  • 14 Nothing but Bonfires: Summer 1988 (p. 125)
  • 15 Signal Weather: June 1988 (p. 129)
  • 16 Woodstock for Climate Change: June 1988-April 1989 (p. 135)
  • 17 Fragmented World: Fall 1988 (p. 143)
  • 18 The Great Includer and the Old Engineer: Spring 1989 (p. 149)
  • 19 Natural Processes: May 1989 (p. 155)
  • 20 The White House Effect: Spring-Fall 1989 (p. 161)
  • 21 Skunks at the Garden Party: November 1989 (p. 165)
  • Afterword: Glass-Bottomed Boats (p. 175)
  • A Note on the Sources (p. 205)
  • Acknowledgements (p. 207)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Kirkus Book Review

The time to have averted worldwide climate change was long agoand scientists knew that very fact a long time ago as well.As New York Times Magazine writer at large Rich (King Zeno, 2017, etc.) notes at the beginning, "nearly everything we understand about global warming was understood in 1979." Indeed, that understanding was largely unclouded by oppositional politics in a time when the president was not proud to proclaim that he was too smart to believe in climate change. The scientific consensus, then as now, was that human activities had altered the environment; the question was what could be done about it. Today, Rich notes, the odds of doing anything meaningful to slow climate change to an overall average warming of "only" 2 degrees Celsius are slimabout one in 20, he reckons, and even that will mean the extinction of coral reefs, rising sea levels, coastal flooding, and a host of other woes. Rich charts that 1979 terminus to a government study of coal emissions, which, if allowed to continue unmodified, would result in "significant and damaging" changes in the atmosphere. Other federal reports of the period were just as presciente.g., one that "warned that humanity's fossil fuel habit would lead inexorably to a host of intolerable' and irreversible' disasters" while recommending the transition to renewal energy sources. Big money buried these findings, along with a leadership that was reluctant to "change the national model of energy production" and, indeed, the world economy. By Ronald Reagan's time, the reluctance became intransigence. By the time of George W. Bush, business and government leaders had "consolidated behind the position that the benefits of emissions cuts should be weighed against immediate economic costs." By today, Rich warns, "the distant perils of climate change are no longer very distant"and they grow closer every day.A maddening book full of what-ifs and the haunting suspicion that if treated as a political problem and not as a matter of life and death, climate change will cook everyone's geese. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

New York Times Book Review

THE UNINHABITABLE EARTH: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells. (Tim Duggan, $27.) Wallace-Wells 0ffers a remorseless, near-unbearable account of anthropomorphic climate change, "the biggest threat human life on the planet has ever faced," and lays out · what it will take to avoid catastrophe. LOSING EARTH: A Climate History, by Nathaniel Rich. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Rich posits that "nearly every conversation we have in 2019 about climate change was being held in 1979." This history details the paths not taken and the warnings ignored as the threat of global warming increased over the course of those four decades of inaction. GREEK TO ME: Adventures of the Comma Queen, by Mary Norris. (Norton, $25.95.) Norris, a longtime copy editor at The New Yorker whose first book chronicled her passion for punctuation, here recounts, with the same contagious wit and enthusiasm, her obsession with Greece - its language, history and culture. WHAT BLEST GENIUS? The Jubilee That Made Shakespeare, by Andrew McConnell Stott. (Norton, $26.95.) In 1769 the great British actor David Garrick held a three-day extravaganza to celebrate Shakespeare and advance his own career. This lively book captures the poor planning, incessant rain and ensuing chaos. AMERICAN MESSIAHS: False Prophets of a Damned Nation, by Adam Morris. (Norton, $28.95.) The religious history of America is filled with cults and marginal sectarian communities. Morris fills in the fascinating details, with a focus on the charismatic prophets who dissented from traditional Christianity - and claimed, in one way or another, to represent God directly. STONY THE ROAD: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow, by Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Penguin Press, $30.) This lucid and essential history - bolstered by a wealth of visual material - traces the rise of white supremacy in the wake of the Civil War. WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance, by Carolyn Forché. (Penguin Press, $28.) As a young poet in the 1970s, Forché accompanied a stranger to El Salvador and found a country on the edge of civil war. This luminous memoir records her self-discovery and political awakening. MAGICAL NEGRO: Poems, by Morgan Parker. (Tin House, paper, $15.95.) Parker's tense, funny collection, her third, explores the gap between black experience and the white imagination's version of it, further proving her considerable skill and consequence. DOOMSTEAD DAYS, by Brian Teare. (Nightboat, paper, $17.95.) Teare's latest volume, composed largely while walking, addresses climate change, apocalypse and grief in poems that feel solitary but intimate. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books
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