Bill McKibben in the New York Review of Books reviews
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming by Bjørn Lomborg
Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger
What We Know About Climate Change by Kerry Emanuel
Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren edited by Joseph F.C. DiMento and Pamela Doughman
During the last year, momentum has finally begun to build for taking action against global warming by putting limits on carbon emissions and then reducing them. Driven by ever-more-dire scientific reports, Congress has, for the first time, begun debating ambitious targets for carbon reduction. Al Gore, in his recent Live Earth concerts, announced that he will work to see an international treaty signed by the end of 2009. Even President Bush has recently reversed his previous opposition and summoned the leaders of all the top carbon-emitting countries to a series of conferences designed to yield some form of limits on CO2.
The authors of the first two books under review have some doubts about a strategy that emphasizes limits on carbon emissions, Lomborg for economic reasons and Nordhaus and Shellenberger for political ones. Since any transition away from fossil fuel is likely to be the dominant global project of the first half of the twenty-first century, it’s worth taking those qualms seriously.