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Six Degrees Our Future On A Hotter Planet Paperback – Feb 21 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books (Feb. 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007209053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007209057
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Scientists predict that global temperatures will rise by between one and six degrees over the course of this century and Mark Lynas paints a chilling, degree-by-degree picture of the devastation likely to ensue unless we act now..."Six Degrees" is a rousing and vivid plea to choose a different future.' Daily Mail 'The saga of how, in the world as imagined by thousands of computer-modelling studies, global warming kicks in degree by degree. "Six Degrees", I tell you now, is terrifying.' Sunday Times 'Brilliant and higly readable.' Sunday Times

About the Author

Mark Lynas is an activist, journalist and traveller. He was editor of the website and has made many appearances in the press and TV as a commentator on environmental issues. He also throws custard pies at lunatics who pronounce global warming a fantasy. He is the author of 'High Tide: News from a Warming World'. He lives in Oxford.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 19 2007
Format: Paperback
It's hard to understand how there could be any climate change "sceptics" remaining. Perhaps they have failed to comprehend the long view of what the circumstances are. What does an increase in global temperatures really mean? Mark Lynas has culled the massive number of reports on the topic and here woven them into a comprehensive picture of likely futures for this planet. In this effective work, he lines out what the changes in our biosphere are likely to be over the next decades. It's a chilling account and one that should be in the hands of every industrialist, policy-maker and tax-paying consumer.

Using the data supplied by his extensive resources, Lynas depicts global and regional changes in environment due to increase over time. His temperature range selection is driven by the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC's reports indicate a six degree Celsius increase over the next century. Integrating the scientific research on the biosphere, IPCC is able to review existing and past conditions and those likely to ensue in the future. Lynas synthesizes the reports to present a picture of conditions likely with each degree of heat will lead to over time. The first degree is typified by examples of drought. The Great Plains of the US trans-Mississippi is already showing signs of that dry-out. The author explains that drought in one place may be off-set by rainstorms elsewhere. Heat over land desiccates, but heat over water increases evaporation leading to greater precipitation. Even with but a single step up in temperature, the rains may be intense in some locales. This seems to be occurring already, with ravaging storms displacing many refugees. Katrina is almost certainly an example of the new environment.
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By Chillyfinger on April 27 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While this is an entertaining read, a lot has happened since it's publication. There are lots of interesting ideas, but the reader looking for hard, up to date information should go directly to the IPCC reports. It is also worrying that the author seems to know nothing about what nuclear technology can provide over the time period discussed (next 2 or 3 decades). Contrary to most speculative writing on climate change, nuclear energy is still a strong option.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Francis Manns on Sept. 14 2008
Format: Paperback
I did not take this all the way to the end because the later arguments stand on the shoulders of the earlier bits. The earlier bits are crumbly, and my blood pressure, normally normal, was rising faster than the Author's imagination. I am keeping this book away from my library to prevent my library getting a fever.
P. 17
In the United States, fluid inclusion data from ice core are commonly used, but I suspect the data are very unreliable. Researchers at UofT never used secondary inclusions (bubbles on healed fractures) for sphalerite geothermometry, and never even bothered with calcite fluid inclusions, assuming them worthless because of the weakness of calcite. Strictly speaking, determining whether an inclusion is primary is not possible. It is possible, however, to determine whether an inclusion is secondary, but not the other way around. Many secondary inclusions are unrecognised until set in context where they cannot fit thermodynamically and then they are discarded.
Ice is an open system simply because it expands as it freezes. Think of it this way. Ice will vacuum ambient air into its structure as it crystallizes. The trapped gasses then reorganise into bubbles. Moreover, the transition from firn to ice can take hundreds to thousands of years on any particular glacier. In the top transparent to translucent tens of metres, the firn freezes and thaws an unknowable number of times before conditions obtain to freeze it for the long term as crystalline ice.
The isotopes used for temperature determinations are heavy isotopes of oxygen and carbon; in a closed system, they proxy for temperature. In an open system, the light isotopes differentially leave the system and the heavies concentrate. In the ice core scientific papers I have from Lonnie T.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Disturbing and provocative Nov. 24 2007
By Paul Vitols - Published on
Using a solid, conservative methodology, the author paints a frightening picture of the climatic changes that lie before us as Earth grows hotter from greenhouse-gas emissions.

I was torn between assigning this book four stars or five. While there's nothing about this book I don't like, I didn't want to be influenced by my own conviction of the overriding importance of this topic for all of us, and have tried to grade the book purely on the basis of my reaction to it as a book.

But the topic is urgent and important, and Mark Lynas has treated it effectively and with authority. His approach was to review all the published scientific literature he could find on climate modeling and paleoclimatology. His sources therefore consist exclusively of peer-reviewed scientific papers: no pop-science books, interviews, or mass-market magazine articles. He created a database of articles and organized them into categories according to the amount of warming they discussed: 1 degree Celsius, 2 degrees Celsius, and so on up to 6 degrees.

The book builds up a picture of the heating Earth, each chapter notching the average temperature one degree higher. At 1 degree, for example, Lynas discusses the likely desertification of the American West. The great plains ranging east of the Rockies north to Saskatchewan are actually an ancient dune-field covered with a thin layer of soil held in place by plants. Climate models show its likely reversion to a more drought-stricken regime that has also existed in the ancient past. The result will be the death of the plants, and blowing away of the topsoil--just as happened with the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma in the 1930s. This new Dust Bowl will be much larger and more enduring--and where will all the people go?

That's only one heading in the 1-degree chapter; there are nine more, including the slowing or stopping of the Gulf Stream, the melting of the Arctic icecap, and the die-off of coral reefs. Then it's on to chapter 2, with 11 headings of its own. The effects he looks at are diverse, sometimes smaller, such as the extinctions of individual species, but mostly much larger, such as the severe droughts and mass migrations we can expect when the world's mountain glaciers--source of much of our drinking-water--finally disappear, as they are rapidly doing right now.

By the time we get to 6 degrees, the point is abundantly clear: we must not let this happen. At that point our planet will be ice-free, largely desert, and whipped by "hypercanes" vastly more powerful than today's strongest storms. In Lynas's personal opinion, the human species will likely survive, but it will be a small remnant, and one of only a few survivors of this great extinction event.

Still relatively buried in the scientific literature are discussions of positive-feedback loops that may--indeed likely will--lie ahead: mechanisms that will accelerate warming beyond our ability to stop or control it. One such is the melting of tundra permafrost, which will likely release methane in large quantities, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2. Another is the awesome storehouse of methane as hydrates on the continental shelves, which may be released as the oceans warm.

Based on his survey, Lynas finds that our window of opportunity to head off the worst of it is very small indeed. We have almost certainly already crossed the threshold of 2 degrees of global warming, so the first two chapters are a snapshot of how our world will look just a few years from now. Indeed, the current droughts in Atlanta, California, Portugal, Australia, and elsewhere are themselves the manifestation of the process unfolding.

Lynas sums up with a discussion of what's stopping us from acting more vigorously, as well a look at the magnitude of the task. It makes for mighty sobering reading.

His prose is vigorous, vivid, and confident. Lynas has studied the climate for years, and visited remote spots of the globe. To be sure, I found the message depressing. It's all the scarier because it's not hysterical--it's lifted right out of peer-reviewed papers. But it has woken me from my own torpor of denial. Whatever decisions we each make, we should be informed. And this book provides an especially crucial kind of information.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
On the need for radical urgent action Dec 4 2007
By Brian Delaney - Published on
He certainly did his homework for this book. It was a given a very positive review on realclimatedotorg which convinced me it was worth reading. I consider myself fairly well informed on this topic but I learned a lot of useful information here. He particularly explains all the possible positive feedback mechanisms very well. Perhaps the most interesting single fact I learned was that the global temperature in the depths of the last ice-age was just 6 degrees colder than today, which makes me appreciate what a significant change we could be facing if we don't soon adopt a radically different way of life.

My quibble with this work was that he skims over the 'positive' aspects of climate change, if he mentions them at all. He briefly refers to longer growing seasons and improved productivity in the higher latitudes, and doesn't at all refer to reduced mortality from warmer winters, of which Lomborg makes much of in 'Cool It' (unscientific and not recommended), and even the IPCC mentions in its 4th review. While not in any way a climate skeptic, I was left with the feeling of not being given an opportunity to make my own evaluations, and his tone seemed a little evangelical for me at times.

In the long run, if society needs convincing of the need for radical action, I don't think this is the correct approach. Everyone's intelligence and discernment should be respected.

But I don't want to dwell on a small error in a really well-researched and engaging work. This is a fine book, a gripping read, and I recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Scary but important to any one with a pulse. Nov. 9 2014
By Holden - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a critical read for anybody planning to survive the 21st century. Mr. Lynas has exhaustively collected the research data and scientific reports on global climate change and pre historical events we know have actually happened, and fashioned this examination of the most probable results to our climate as we sustain each of six degrees celsius global temperature rise. While our planetary policies seem to accept the inevitable 2 degree celsius rise by 2050 because of the environmental damage we have already caused, he demonstrates this seemingly small change is only the best possible scenario and it includes some very worrisome changes. Because very little action has been taken to limit temperature and CO2 rise so far, it is clear that this goal will almost certainly be overshot in the coming century, leading to some rather catastrophic climate changes for humans to try and survive. While many good people continue to work on this knotty problem, It would seem that until our policy makers abruptly change their focus from research and rhetoric to more forceful global action against further environmental destruction, our future looks bleak indeed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great overview July 25 2012
By Jeff Fecke - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A quick, straightforward read about what different levels of warming mean for the planet. Lynas writes clearly, boils the science down into a clear narrative, and illustrates just what our current use of CO2 could mean for our children. Can't recommend enough.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Need more proof of climate change? Me neither, but this is good Oct. 29 2013
By Doc jojo - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Books on climate change and global warming can be a little dry. Not this book. It's easy to read...more of a conversational style. You'll turn off your lights and monitor, unplug your chargers, and drive less from now on after reading this book.