Ian Angus takes a look at five new books of interest to ecosocialists, looking at urban climate change, past mass extinctions, tropical rainforests, religious anti-science, and the end of Arctic ice. Angus is the editor of Climate and Capitalism, where this list first appeared, and author of the new book A Redder Shade of Green.
Extreme Cities: The Perils & Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change
By Ashley Dawson
Cities are ground zero for climate change, contributing the lion’s share of carbon to the atmosphere while also lying on the frontlines of rising sea levels. Today, most of the world’s megacities are located in coastal zones, yet few are adequately prepared for the floods that will increasingly menace their shores.
Instead, most continue to develop luxury waterfront condos for the elite and industrial facilities for corporations. These not only intensify carbon emissions, but also place coastal residents at greater risk when water levels rise.
The Ends Of The World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, & Our Quest to Understand Past Extinctions
By Peter Brannen
Using the visible clues for past extinctions left behind in the fossil record, Brannen tells the story of each extinction. He introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits.
On The Edge: The State & Fate of the World’s Tropical Rainforests
By Claude Martin
Club of Rome, 2015
Claude Martin, an eminent scientist and conservationist, integrates information from remote imaging, ecology and economics to explain deforestation and forest health throughout the world.
He explains how urbanisation, an increasingly global economy, and demand for biofuels puts new pressure on rainforest land. Using evidence from ice core records and past forest-cover patterns, he predicts the most likely effects of climate change.
Paranoid Science: The Christian Right’s War on Reality
By Antony Alumkal
New York University Press, 2017
Christian Right leaders see conspiracies within the scientific establishment. For them, scientists not only peddle fraudulent information, but actively conceal their true motives from the public and threaten to destroy the moral foundation of society.
Rejecting science, Christian Right leaders create their own alternative reality that does not challenge their literal reading of the Bible.
A Farewell To Ice: A Report from the Arctic
By Peter Wadhams
Penguin Allen Lane, 2016
Rapid feedbacks in the Arctic region are accelerating climate change more rapidly than almost all scientists have previously realised. The dangers of further acceleration are very real. Wadhams reports from the frontline of planetary change in the Arctic and Antarctic, presenting incontrovertible scientific data in clear, understandable language.