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Global Fever

How to Treat Climate Change

Every decade since 1950 has seen more floods and more wildfires on every continent. Deserts are expanding, coral reefs are dying, fisheries are declining, hurricanes are strengthening. The debate about climate change is over: there’s no question that global warming has made the Earth sick, and the outlook for the future calls for ever-warmer temperatures and deadlier results. Something must be done—but how quickly?
            With Global Fever, William H. Calvin delivers both a clear-eyed diagnosis and a strongly worded prescription. In striking, straightforward language, he first clearly sets out the current state of the Earth’s warming climate and the disastrous possibilities ahead should we continue on our current path. Increasing temperatures will kill off vegetation and dry up water resources, and their loss will lead, in an increasingly destructive feedback loop, to even more warming. Resource depletion, drought, and disease will follow, leading to socioeconomic upheaval—and accompanying violence—on a scale barely conceivable.
            It is still possible, Calvin argues, to avoid such a dire fate. But we must act now, aggressively funneling resources into jump-starting what would amount to a third industrial revolution, this one of clean technologies—while simultaneously expanding our use of existing low-emission technologies, from nuclear power to plug-in hybrid vehicles, until we achieve the necessary scientific breakthroughs.
            Passionately written, yet thoroughly grounded in the latest climate science, Global Fever delivers both a stark warning and an ambitious blueprint for saving the future of our planet.

352 pages | 118 halftones, 9 line drawings | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2008

Biological Sciences: Ecology

Earth Sciences: Environment, General Earth Sciences

Economics and Business: Economics--Agriculture and Natural Resources


“This is perhaps the most accessible book that I have ever read about how humanity is changing Earth’s climate, and what can be done about it.”

David Archer, author of Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast

"Calvin approaches climate change as a sensible doctor would: if a patient has unusual symptoms, and medical science points to a risk of a horrible disease, therapy should begin without delay. For decades climate scientists thought they were doing enough by pointing out a risk, while symptoms grew ever more ominous. But as doctors know, patients with signs of cancer often deny it, putting off action until it is terribly costly and uncertain. Global Fever is a timely effort to combat such denial of the danger of climate change."

Spencer Weart, author of The Discovery of Global Warming

“Calvin dissects the ongoing controversies over global warming like a master surgeon. Global Fever offers a sobering diagnosis for the future and a realistic assessment of effective strategies for living with the major climatic changes that are humanity’s destiny.”

Brian Fagan, author of The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization

“It needs a physician to look at the patient that is our Earth, to make a diagnosis, to measure its rising temperature, to look at the reasons for it, to assess the likely effects, and not least to suggest what now needs to be done. William Calvin’s new book does all this and more in simple and telling language. Above all Calvin brings out the need for urgent action if the wonderful Earth that we have inherited will be as wonderful for our children and generations to come.”

Sir Crispin Tickell

Table of Contents

1.   The Big Picture
2.   We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
3.   Will This Overheated Frog Move?
4.   "Pop!" Goes the Climate
5.   Drought’s Slippery Slope
6.   Why Deserts Expand
7.   From Creeps to Leaps
8.   What Makes a Cycle Vicious?
9.   That Pale Blue Sky
10.  Slip Locally, Crash Globally
11.  Come Hell and High Water
12.  Methane is the Double Threat
13.  Sudden Shifts in Climate
14.  A Sea of CO2
15.  The Extended Forecast
16.  Doing Things Differently
17.  Cleaning Up Our Act
18.  The Climate Optimist
19.  Turning Around by 2020
20.  Arming for a Great War
21.  Get It Right on the First Try

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     List of Illustrations

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