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Climate Wars Hardcover – Oct 28 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Oct 28 2008
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; Canadian First edition (Oct. 28 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307355837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307355836
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #444,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“This is a truly important and timely book. No one, not even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, really knows what the world climate will be ten years from now, but we and our governments have to make intelligent guesses. Gwynne Dyer has made the best and most plausible set of guesses I have yet seen about the human consequences of climate change, of how drought and heat may ignite wars, even nuclear wars, around the globe.”
— James Lovelock, award-winning scientist, inventor, and originator of the Gaia hypothesis
“Gwynne Dyer is one of the few who are both courageous enough to tell the unvarnished truth, and have the background to understand, not misrepresent the inputs. This book does a superb job of detailing the merging realities of climate/energy. These realities are not pretty.”
— Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist, NASA Langley
“Anyone still complacent about climate change will find Climate Wars instructive and disturbing. These articulate insights into climate geopolitics by Gwynne Dyer are an important tool for understanding why the climate challenge is big, hard, and vital to human survival — yet soluble if we pay attention now.”
— Amory B. Lovins, chairman and chief scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
“The current debate on climate change is mostly on its future effects, but few are brave enough to work out what they might be. Here is a lovely, alarming and even entertaining attempt to look ahead. Water and war have always been associated. We need hope as well as good sense in looking at the future. Here it is.”
— Sir Crispin Tickell, diplomat, environmentalist, and director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin School at Oxford University
“Well written and well argued, crammed with impressive interview material and wonderful personal vignettes.”
Ottawa Citizen

About the Author

Gwynne Dyer has served in the Canadian, British and American navies. He holds a Ph.D. in war studies from the University of London, has taught at Sandhurst and served on the Board of Governors of Canada’s Royal Military College. Dyer writes a syndicated column that appears in more than 175 newspapers around the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I'm writing this review to respond to the author of amazon's solitary negative review of this book that implies that Gwynne Dyer is nothing more than a conspiracy theorist, attempting to create a profitable hysteria:

This publication is primarily based on military strategies based on projections of climate change, strategies created by credible sources like the US military and the pentagon. These Strategies (one of the more famous called, "the age of consequence") are not the work of, "a spaced out out hippy," but of militarized powers, analyzed by a renowned PhD Military and Middle Eastern History commentator - who publishes a weekly column in several international newspapers.

I can appreciate any argument on the validity of sourcing, or the probability of occurrence of predicted events being quite low, or maybe even slights on the authors character that give reason for bias. I find this very useful pieces of information in a review, and quite frankly relevant. That said: discounting a work of this caliber as alarmist fiction denies that it is based largely in fact (and when it treads into speculative territory, it goes out of its way to acknowledge this) as well as it's primary use as the basis of exploring current conception.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is remarkable. It is gripping and shocking. As one might say about a good thriller, I couldn't put it down. The information is current and well-sourced, and the analysis was typical Gwynne Dyer: smart, insightful and at times funny. Dyer talks about enormous social, political and environmental changes that are going to occur over the next several generations as a result of climate change. Take a look around: what are we as a society focused on? Can our society plan beyond a 5 year horizon? Can we invest in our future when most of us won't be around to see the return on our investment? You may ask yourself questions like that after reading this book. I sincerely wish any remaining climate change sceptics would read at least part of this book. To quote the introduction, "The potential cost of doing too little, too late is vastly greater than the cost that might be incurred by doing more to fight global warming than turns out, at some later date, to have been strictly necessary." Please read this book. For our futures.
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Format: Hardcover
While this book is rushed and repetitive in many places, it is a hugely important synthesis of scientific, military and political sources. Gwynne Dyer intersperses sci-fi type scenarios of the world in the future with scientific evidence and military analysis of the impact of climate change. He quotes extensively from interviews with a wide range of sources that are all extremely current and which might explain the lack of polish in some of the writing.

The prognosis for our world is not promising but Dyer does hold out hope that a massive global effort to reduce green house gas emissions may yet happen and postpone or alter the scenarios he foresees. Reading between the lines, however, I do not feel optimistic. Nuclear war and large scale famine loom large in his entirely plausible scenarios for the next 50 years. Human suffering will be immeasurable as temperatures and sea levels rise. Pressures on governments will be intense and the world as we know it in 2008 will be vastly changed by 2050.

Dyer neatly sidesteps the Israel/Palestine issue in his book but imagines a believable nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan over water. I would have liked to have read more of his ideas on the effect of global warming on Canada specifically though one can extrapolate from the ideas he puts forward indirectly. I also wonder how the current financial "crisis" will affect the capacity of nations to respond to the significantly more important environmental one.
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Format: Hardcover
The author interviewed an impressing selection of people from ALL sectors, including not only sciences but also the economy and the military from all over the world. If some reviewer defame this book as too green or too eco, he didn't read it: It is partly build on information from the US Pentagon which is not known for its hippie-eco-attitude. Instead, the book is written rather objective, the author does not claim to predict what will happen, but what can happen if we don't manage to reduce our GHG emissions. The illustrated scenarios raise various international topics and make you think of our future and of our current behaviour in new, disturbing ways.
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Format: Hardcover
The title "Climate Wars" hints at Dyer's contention that global warming will not be a benign phenomenon where things will continue as before. Rather like the human body, where a fever of only three and a half degrees Celcius is potentially fatal, an increase of only a few degrees can potentially cause massive changes in the earth's climate. The earth's biosphere appears to be more fine-tuned and fragile than we thought, and we have unknowingly pushed it far toward making the earth a far less habitable place for humans to live.

He believes that irreversible changes are coming at a rate higher than even recent generally accepted predictions, so that the goal, for example, of the U.S. and British governments to achieve 80 percent cuts to emissions by 2050, is not enough. To illustrate what may be coming, then, he creates a number of fictitious scenarios, set at various times in the relatively near future. These scenarios are possible futures he imagines in a world increasingly under stress from the effects of climate change. They illustrate his point that global warming is not the relatively easy problem that, for example, CFC's and the ozone layer was, where the world could simply rally together and deal effectively with it.

Though there are technological hurdles to be overcome, they are not insurmountable, and could largely be dealt with in the next couple of decades if the international community, with a single mind, made a decision to move away from oil and coal energy sources and develop alternatives. Of course that would include, among other projects, building five million wind turbines around the world in the next five years - quite an undertaking, but certainly doable, especially if you consider that the world builds 65 million cars a year.
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