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A timely overview, with a positive slant, of the latest science on climate change
Climate change’s complexity and its abstract future consequences make it difficult to fathom, let alone feel empow- ered enough to address. In How Are We Going to Explain This? Jelmer Mommers presents a disarmingly concise and considered explanation of the global climate crisis and reveals the effective tools a growing movement is turning to. Tools you can pick up today to help create and maintain a sustainable future.
Drawing on the latest research and statistics, Mommers makes it painfully clear: climate change is the single greatest threat facing our species. If left unchecked, it will affect the economies of 90% of the world’s population. From nomadic hunter-gatherers with little effect on the planet we have become an advanced industrial civilization that has unwittingly managed to delay the next ice age while simultaneously placing our world at risk.
Mommers’ analysis pinpoints the philosophical, historical and economic roots of the world view that has led humanity to this moment, from Descartes to Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. Enlisting the help of graphs and diagrams from climate reports, he deftly illustrates climate change’s mechanics, and how human activity is overwhelming the planet’s natural greenhouse gas regulators. In a society historically based on abusing the planet’s ‘infinite’ resources for short-term gain, what role have businesses and governments played? What are the very serious issues with the easy ‘solutions’ they are now reaching for?
No less crucial is to know where we are headed, or can go. Besides presenting a clear spectrum of future outcomes be- tween business as usual and collectively achieving the optimistic UN Climate Goal of holding the global temperature increase to 1.5°C, Mommers helps us picture the shocking differences between a planet heated by 1.5°C and one by 2.0°C. In doing so, he leaves no doubt that every decimal point of change is worth fighting for.
The author examines the political, legal and individual means we have as citizens and consumers to force the necessary shift. Among other cases, we learn how action group Urgenda sued the Dutch government for gross negligence, and won, forcing the state to cut emissions, and inspiring similar lawsuits around the world. Divestment campaigns, political parties, consumer boycotts, changing the ways in which we travel — ever pragmatic, Mommers readily admits that this is a process that will take longer in some sectors than others — nevertheless, a sustainable future is achievable.