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Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate [Hardcover]

Stephen H. Schneider , Tim Flannery
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 3 2009
It’s been nearly four decades since scientists first realized that global warming posed a potential threat to our planet. Why, if we knew of the threats way back in the Carter Administration, can’t we act decisively to limit greenhouse gases, deforestation, and catastrophic warming trends? Why are we still addicted to fossil fuels? Have we all just been fiddling for 40 years as the world burns around us?

Schneider, part of the Nobel Prize–winning team that shared the accolade with Al Gore in 2007, had a front-row seat at this unfolding environmental meltdown. Piecing together events like a detective story, Schneider reveals that as expert consensus grew, well-informed activists warned of dangerous changes no one knew how to predict precisely—and special interests seized on that very uncertainty to block any effective response. He persuasively outlines a plan to avert the building threat and develop a positive, practical policy that will bring climate change back under our control, help the economy with a new generation of green energy jobs and productivity, and reduce the dependence on unreliable exporters of oil—and thus ensure a future for ourselves and our planet that’s as rich with promise as our past.

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"Science As A Contact Sport unfolds the incredible true story of the struggle to understand the science and focus the world’s attention on the climate crisis. I have worked with Steve Schneider on the scientific and policy aspects of climate change for decades, and find him adept at bringing scientific clarity to this critical issue--explaining its many facets to concerned policymakers and the public." -Al Gore

"Why haven’t we halted global warming in the decades since it became recognized as a major threat to human well-being? What should we do to halt it now? In this crystal-clear, moving, funny book, Stephen Schneider makes a highly complex subject understandable." - Jared Diamond, author of "Guns, Germs, and Steel," and "Collapse"

"Stephen Schneider is masterful at translating enormously complex scientific principles into a language that we can all comprehend."—Robert Redford

"Give Stephen Schneider points for prescience...The ominous warnings that he and other climatologists sounded...are coming true
sooner.... –Newsweek.com

About the Author

Stephen H. Schneider, PhD, winner of a MacArthur "genius grant," also won a joint Nobel Prize in 2007 with his colleagues on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has been an expert adviser to the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bush administrations.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating memoir from a stellar scientist Jan. 15 2012
Format:Hardcover
Usually books about climate change take me some time to read. As fascinating as they are, they're not the kind of literature I would read to relax. They take far more energy to get through than something like Twilight.

This wasn't the case for "Science as a Contact Sport", the new book by Stephen Schneider. I couldn't put it down ' I absolutely whizzed through it. The narrative wasn't about explaining scientific processes as much as describing what it's like to be a climate scientist, and how that has changed since the early 1970s. Perhaps my enjoyment of the narrative was due to the fact that I think I like memoirs ' although the only other memoir I've read is "Memoirs of a Geisha" (and wasn't that fictional?) In any case, "Science as a Contact Sport" was a memoir of the kind of person I want to follow in the general footsteps of: someone who studies climate change, particularly modelling and radiative balance, and has a good sense of how to accurately communicate science to the media and the public.

Schneider has been studying climate change for a long time ' he's literally one of the pioneers of climate modelling ' so his story was able to begin in the 1970s. There were quite a few familiar figures in the early narrative, including James Hansen as a PhD student (there was even a photograph!) and Richard Lindzen, who was brilliant but had unusual views on how to communicate uncertain science to the government and the public.

I was fascinated by the insider's account of the 1970s radiative forcing debate ' which would win out in the end, aerosols or greenhouse gases? As Schneider was the co-author of one of the few papers that predicted a cooling, he was able to explain the problems with that paper and why it was quickly discredited.
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