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In 2001 an international panel of climate scientists announced that the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last two millennia. The story of how scientists reached that conclusion was the story Weart told in The Discovery of Global Warming. The award-winning book is now revised and expanded to reflect the latest science. The award-winning book is now revised and expanded. In 2001 an international panel of distinguished climate scientists announced that the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last two millennia, and that warming was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from human activity. The story of how scientists reached that conclusion—by way of unexpected twists and turns—was the story Spencer Weart told in The Discovery of Global Warming. Now he brings his award-winning account up to date, revised throughout to reflect the latest science and with a new conclusion that shows how the scientific consensus caught fire among the general world public, and how a new understanding of the human meaning of climate change spurred individuals and governments to action. "Charting the evolution and confirmation of the theory [of global warming], Weart dissects the interwoven threads of research and reveals the political and societal subtexts that colored scientists' views and the public reception their work received." —Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times Book Review
In 2001 a panel representing virtually all the world's governments and climate scientists announced that they had reached a consensus: the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last ten millennia, and that warming was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from human activity. The consensus itself was at least a century in the making. The story of how scientists reached their conclusion--by way of unexpected twists and turns and in the face of formidable intellectual, financial, and political obstacles--is told for the first time in The Discovery of Global Warming. Spencer R. Weart lucidly explains the emerging science, introduces us to the major players, and shows us how the Earth's irreducibly complicated climate system was mirrored by the global scientific community that studied it. Unlike familiar tales of Science Triumphant, this book portrays scientists working on bits and pieces of a topic so complex that they could never achieve full certainty--yet so important to human survival that provisional answers were essential. Weart unsparingly depicts the conflicts and mistakes, and how they sometimes led to fruitful results. His book reminds us that scientists do not work in isolation, but interact in crucial ways with the political system and with the general public. The book not only reveals the history of global warming, but also analyzes the nature of modern scientific work as it confronts the most difficult questions about the Earth's future. Table of Contents: Preface 1. How Could Climate Change? 2. Discovering a Possibility 3. A Delicate System 4. A Visible Threat 5. Public Warnings 6. The Erratic Beast 7. Breaking into Politics 8. The Discovery Confirmed Reflections Milestones Notes Further Reading Index Reviews of this book: A soberly written synthesis of science and politics. --Gilbert Taylor, Booklist Reviews of this book: Charting the evolution and confirmation of the theory [of global warming], Spencer R. Weart, director of the Center for the History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics, dissects the interwoven threads of research and reveals the political and societal subtexts that colored scientists' views and the public reception their work received. --Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times Book Review Reviews of this book: It took a century for scientists to agree that gases produced by human activity were causing the world to warm up. Now, in an engaging book that reads like a detective story, physicist Weart reports the history of global warming theory, including the internal conflicts plaguing the research community and the role government has had in promoting climate studies. --Publishers Weekly Reviews of this book: It is almost two centuries since the French mathematician Jean Baptiste Fourier discovered that the Earth was far warmer than it had any right to be, given its distance from the Sun...Spencer Weart's book about how Fourier's initially inconsequential discovery finally triggered urgent debate about the future habitability of the Earth is lucid, painstaking and commendably brief, packing everything into 200 pages. --Fred Pearce, The Independent Reviews of this book: [The Discovery of Global Warming] is a well-written, well-researched and well-balanced account of the issues involved...This is not a sermon for the faithful, or verses from Revelation for the evangelicals, but a serious summary for those who like reasoned argument. Read it--and be converted. --John Emsley, Times Literary Supplement Reviews of this book: This is a terrific book...Perhaps the finest compliment I could give this book is to report that I intend to use it instead of my own book...for my climate class. The Discovery of Global Warming is more up-to-date, better balanced historically, beautifully written and, not least important, short and to the point. I think the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] needs to enlist a few good historians like Weart for its next assessment. --Stephen H. Schneider, Nature Reviews of this book: This short, well-written book by a science historian at the American Institute of Physics adds a serious voice to the overheated debate about global warming and would serve as a great starting point for anyone who wants to better understand the issue. --Maureen Christie, American Scientist Reviews of this book: I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Spencer Weart's account provides much valuable and interesting material about how the discipline developed--not just from the perspective of climate science but also within the context of the field's relation to other scientific disciplines, the media, political trends, and even 20th-century history (particularly the Cold War). In addition, Weart has done a valuable service by recording for posterity background information on some of the key discoveries and historical figures who contributed to our present understanding of the global warming problem. --Thomas J. Crowley, Science Reviews of this book: Weart has done us all a service by bringing the discovery of global warming into a short, compendious and persuasive book for a general readership. He is especially strong on the early days and the scientific background. --Crispin Tickell, Times Higher Education Supplement A Capricious Beast Ever since the days when he had trudged around fossil lake basins in Nevada for his doctoral thesis, Wally Broecker had been interested in sudden climate shifts. The reported sudden jumps of CO2 in Greenland ice cores stimulated him to put this interest into conjunction with his oceanographic interests. The result was a surprising and important calculation. The key was what Broecker later described as a "great conveyor belt'"of seawater carrying heat northward. . . . The energy carried to the neighborhood of Iceland was "staggering," Broecker realized, nearly a third as much as the Sun sheds upon the entire North Atlantic. If something were to shut down the conveyor, climate would change across much of the Northern Hemisphere' There was reason to believe a shutdown could happen swiftly. In many regions the consequences for climate would be spectacular. Broecker was foremost in taking this disagreeable news to the public. In 1987 he wrote that we had been treating the greenhouse effect as a 'cocktail hour curiosity,' but now 'we must view it as a threat to human beings and wildlife.' The climate system was a capricious beast, he said, and we were poking it with a sharp stick. I found the book enjoyable, thoughtful, and an excellent introduction to the history of what may be one of the most important subjects of the next one hundred years. --Clark Miller, University of Wisconsin The Discovery of Global Warming raises important scientific issues and topics and includes essential detail. Readers should be able to follow the discussion and emerge at the end with a good understanding of how scientists have developed a consensus on global warming, what it is, and what issues now face human society. --Thomas R. Dunlap, Texas A&M University
From the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference there was a concerted international effort to stop climate change. Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life. In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries. Climate change also threatens our sense of meaning, since it is difficult to believe that our individual actions matter. The challenges that climate change presents go beyond the resources of common sense morality -- it can be hard to view such everyday acts as driving and flying as presenting moral problems. Yet there is much that we can do to slow climate change, to adapt to it and restore a sense of agency while living meaningful lives in a changing world.
Weaving together stories from elite science, cutting-edge technology, and popular culture, Fleming examines issues of health and navigation in the 1830s, drought in the 1890s, aircraft safety in the 1930s, and world conflict since the 1940s.
For much of the first half of the twentieth century, meteorology was more art than science, dependent on an individual forecaster's lifetime of local experience. In Weather by the Numbers, Kristine Harper tells the story of the transformation of meteorology from a "guessing science" into a sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and mathematics. What made this possible was the development of the electronic digital computer; earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations quickly enough for timely forecasting. After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation network developed for military purposes, newly trained meteorologists, savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital computer created a new way of approaching atmospheric theory and weather forecasting. This transformation of a discipline, Harper writes, was the most important intellectual achievement of twentieth-century meteorology, and paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all the sciences.
How did the global climate change issues emerge? The issue of human-induced global climate change became a major environmental concern during the twentieth century. In response to growing concern about human-induced global climate change, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed in 1988. Written by its first chairman, this book is an overview of the history of the IPCC. It describes and evaluates the intricate interplay between key factors in the science and politics of climate change, the strategy that has been followed, and the regretfully slow pace in getting to grips with the uncertainties that have prevented earlier action being taken. The book also highlights the emerging conflict between establishing a sustainable global energy system and preventing a serious change in global climate. This text provides researchers and policy makers with an insight into the history of the politics of climate change.

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