Summary and book reviews of The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

The Weather Makers

How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth

By Tim Flannery

The Weather Makers
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2006,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2001,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

Sometime this century the day will arrive when the human influence on the climate will overwhelm all other natural factors. Over the past decade, the world has seen the most powerful El Niño ever recorded, the most devastating hurricane in two hundred years, the hottest European summer on record, and one of the worst storm seasons ever experienced in Florida. With one out of every five living things on this planet committed to extinction by the levels of greenhouse gases that will accumulate in the next few decades, we are reaching a global climatic tipping point. The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Along with a riveting history of climate change, Tim Flannery offers specific suggestions for action for both lawmakers and individuals, from investing in renewable power sources like wind, solar, and geothermal energy, to offering an action plan with steps each and every one of us can take right now to reduce deadly CO2 emissions by as much as 70 percent.

THE SLOW AWAKENING

In 1981, when I was in my midtwenties, I climbed Mt. Albert Edward, one of the highest peaks on the verdant island of New Guinea. Although only seventy-four miles from Papua New Guinea’s national capital, Port Moresby, the region around Mt. Albert Edward is so rugged that the last significant biological work conducted there was by an expedition from the American Museum of Natural History in the early 1930s.

The bronzed grasslands were a stark contrast to the green jungle all around, and among the tussocks grew groves of tree ferns, whose lacy fronds waved above my head. Wallaby tracks threaded from the forest edge to the herbfields that flourished in damp hollows, and the scratchings and burrows of yardlong rats and the traces where long-beaked echidnas had probed for worms were everywhere. Many of these creatures, I later discovered, were unique to such alpine regions.

Downslope, the tussock grassland ended abruptly at a stunted, mossy forest. A single ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

The finest account of the overwhelming science behind global warming. Flannery gives us a terrifying glimpse of the future.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred review. An authoritative yet accessible presentation of the scientific evidence that climate change is happening; a clear delineation of what global warming has done and could do to life on our planet; and an urgent call for action. A powerful and persuasive book, sure to provoke strong reaction.

Booklist - Gilbert Taylor

This work is distinctive in its marriage of science to an act-now attitude and should energize environmentally minded readers.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain

Climate change is perhaps the most challenging collective action problem the world has faced. Almost uniquely, The Weather Makers provides insights not only into the history, science, and politics of climate change, but also the actions people can take now that will make a difference. Only through understanding can problems be properly addressed and solved. All who read The Weather Makers will be left wiser and able to appreciate how fragile our climate is and how it is this generation who must act to protect it.

Bill Bryson

It would be hard to imagine a better more important book.

Sydney Morning Herald

Like Jared Diamond and Stephen Jay Gould, Tim Flannery has the ability to take complex ideas and - seemingly effortlessly - make them accessible. This book captures your imagination through its extraordinary range of argument, its vivid imagery, its wealth of research, quick wit and richness of detail. It succeeds where equally worthy but more prosaic recent books have failed. You need to read it carefully, twice.

Publishers Weekly

Starred review. Flannery consistently produces the hard goods related to his main message that our environmental behavior makes us all 'weather makers' who 'already possess all the tools required to avoid catastrophic climate change'.

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Beyond the Book

Realistic Ways to Reduce Global Warming
(from TheWeatherMakers.com)

  1. Change to accredited Green Power option = Eliminate household emissions from electricity.
  2. Install energy-efficient hot water system = Up to 30% reductions in household emissions.
  3. Install solar panels = Eliminate household emissions from electricity.
  4. Use energy-efficient white goods = Up to 50% reduction in household emissions from electricity.
  5. Use triple-A rated shower-head = Up to 12% reduction in household emissions.
  6. Use energy-efficient light bulbs = Up to 10% reduction in household emissions.
  7. Check fuel efficiency of next car = Up to 70% reduction in transport emissions.
  8. Walk, cycle or take public transport = Can ...

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