Book Review: Global Weirdness by Sean Sublette

Global Weirdness - Climate Central Published by Random House.

Climate Central, the non-profit science and journalism group based in Princeton, NJ, sent me this book a few days before it was released in late July. I had not heard that the book was in the works, and I will admit to some trepidation about reading it once I saw the title. As a general rule, I don't think any weather is weird (although if it is 90 degrees in January or it snows in July call me).

I have seen too many books that have bent the mainstream science, campaigning either for or against man-made global warming, and I was initially worried this would be another one screaming at me about how the world would be uninhabitable by 2100.

Hardly. I was pleasantly surprised. This book is one of the few I have come across that provides a comprehensive summary of the mainstream science of climate change, but manages to refrain from using scientific jargon and lecturing the reader. The book is broken into sixty small chapters (think Dan Brown) outlining the different aspects of the science. Most of the chapters are 2-4 pages, so reading just a chapter or two a day would put you through this book in a month.

Everything in it matches with the conferences and symposia I have attended over the past 3 years, so it also makes a great reference book.

I understand that some people have already made up their minds about this topic, and there is a segment that has dug in its heels so deeply that nothing will change their minds. So, this is probably not the book for them. However, if you are honestly trying to get past the clutter and spin of this topic, trying to get away from the talking points and chest thumping, trying for a little sanity, this is your book.

The mainstream science is clear in one broad direction, but there are several nuances to be worked out. The planet does not warm uniformly, which means different places will have different effects. Trying to figure out how individual places and ecosystems will react is still very preliminary. Most gratifying, the book is painfully honest about the current limitations on renewable energy. While I love the idea of covering my roof with solar panels to power my home, it's just not financially feasible.

And yes, the book even mentions that emotional tug, the polar bear. And the discussion of it was unlike anything I have seen or read.

The book was written by Emily Elert and Michael Lemonick at Climate Central, and it was reviewed by 22 scientists outside of Climate Central. As with any good science book, the references and the reviewers appear in the index.