Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate

Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate

by William F. Ruddiman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691133980

ISBN-13: 2900691133989

Pub. Date: 10/22/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

"The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? William Ruddiman's new book argues that humans have actually been changing the climate for some 8,000 years - as a result of the earlier discovery of…  See more details below

Overview

"The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? William Ruddiman's new book argues that humans have actually been changing the climate for some 8,000 years - as a result of the earlier discovery of agriculture." "The "Ruddiman Hypothesis" will spark intense debate. We learn that the impact of farming on greenhouse gas levels, thousands of years before the industrial revolution, kept our planet notably warmer than if natural climate cycles had prevailed - quite possibly forestalling a new ice age." Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum is the first book to trace the full historical sweep of human interaction with Earth's climate. Ruddiman takes us through three broad stages of human history: when nature was in control; when humans began to take control, discovering agriculture and affecting climate through carbon dioxide and methane emissions; and, finally, the more recent human impact on climate change. Along the way he raises the possibility that plagues, by depleting human populations, also affected reforestation and thus climate - as suggested by dips in greenhouse gases when major pandemics have occurred. The book concludes by looking to the future and critiquing the impact of special interest money on the global warming debate.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900691133989
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/22/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224

Table of Contents

Ch. 1Climate and human history5
Ch. 2Slow going for a few million years17
Ch. 3Linking earth's orbit to its climate25
Ch. 4Orbital changes control ice-age cycles35
Ch. 5Orbital changes control monsoon cycles46
Ch. 6Stirrings of change55
Ch. 7Early agriculture and civilization65
Ch. 8Taking control of methane76
Ch. 9Taking control of CO[subscript 2]84
Ch. 10Have we delayed a glaciation?95
Ch. 11Challenges and responses106
Ch. 12But what about those CO[subscript 2] "wiggles"?119
Ch. 13The horsement of the apocalypse : which one?127
Ch. 14Pandemics, CO[subscript 2], and climate139
Ch. 15Greenhouse warming : tortoise and hare151
Ch. 16Future warming : large or small?159
Ch. 17From the past into the distant future169

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