This year has seen record-high temperatures around the world, including in Japan, where triple-digit temperatures killed at least 86 people since May and hospitalized more than 20,000 over one week in July. According to scientists, this is an upward trend, and 2018 may be one of the hottest years on record. Here are three books that predict how global warming may affect humanity and what we can still do.
Our Future on a Hotter Planet
By Mark Lynas
336 pp. National Geographic. (2008)
In this book, Lynas draws on scientific research on climate change to predict how the planet will be affected by each degree of temperature rise. The Earth’s average global surface temperature has increased about 1 percent since 1880, and Lynas wrote that a 2 degree rise would constitute a point of no return. After 3 degrees, Greenland’s ice sheet would disappear, as would the Amazon, and deserts would begin to form across southern Africa and the American Midwest. Once we’ve reached 6 degrees, which is projected to happen by the end of the 21st century, most life on Earth would be eliminated, too.
The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
Edited by Paul Hawken
256 pp. Penguin Books. (2017)
This New York Times best seller gathers leading scientists and policymakers to present the 100 most effective solutions to global warming, which they argue would roll back global greenhouse gas emissions within thirty years. The solutions are modeled in the book, showing their cost and potential carbon impact through 2050. Items on the list are ranked based on the potential amount of greenhouse gases they can avoid or remove, and though some are directly tied to emissions — moderating use of air-conditioners and refrigerators, for instance, is number one — sociocultural shifts like adopting a plant-rich diet or family planning are also ranked highly.
THE CARBON DIARIES 2015
By Saci Lloyd
384 pp. Holiday House. (2009)
This young adult novel is told in short diary entries, narrated by a 16-year-old girl named Laura who lives in Britain, which has become the first country to implement a carbon rationing plan. Residents receive carbon debit cards, and Laura manages this new responsibility and London’s rapidly changing environment (think: drought, riots and disease), all while juggling school, trying to get the attention of her crush, Ravi, and playing in a band. It offers a teenager’s perspective on a collapsing world.