Cleo Paskal has written an interesting if uneven book that contains enough startling information and tricky questions to keep most people interested. The opening sections – on the US and When Paskal tries to be Elizabeth Kolbert (The New Yorker journo who wrote the best book MCFly has read on climate change so far- “Field Notes from a Catastrophe”) the results aren’t pretty.
Side-stepping the he said she said minutiae of climate science, she focuses on rising sea levels, rising storm surges, melting glaciers and changing precipitation (rain, snow) patterns and how they will play out around the world. She looks at the Arctic and the opening of the Northwest Passage, China vs India and their mutual need, and closes with an extended look at the much-neglected Pacific. Throughout she has compelling stats, concepts and anecdotes.
Occasionally the prose is breathless to the point of purpleness (e.g. page 62 “the thawing Arctic, where the shimmering mirage of untold riches is leading to decisions that may dangerously undermine North American and European security”) the clumsy ‘nationalistic capitalism’ where neo-mercantilism would have been more historically informed, and digresses into the history of the Suez and Panama canals. There’s a lack of ‘further reading’ or further doing. It’s not clear what she hopes people will do with the information she has gathered. Other reviewers compare it unfavourably to Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars”, but if you’re looking for a well-informed ‘Green Confucian’ overview that doesn’t think “the world” consists of the US-Europe and China alone, then you could do worse than this. £20 is a bit steep, so wait for the paperback, it should be along soon enough.