The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps

The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps

by Peter D. Ward
     
 

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“A beautifully written, thoroughly researched and relentlessly terrifying work, and a must-read for anybody with an interest in the environment or the future of our planet.”—Salon.comSee more details below

Overview


“A beautifully written, thoroughly researched and relentlessly terrifying work, and a must-read for anybody with an interest in the environment or the future of our planet.”—Salon.com

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drawing from research on polar melting and current climate studies, paleontologist and NASA astrobiologist Ward (Under a Green Sky) depicts grim scenarios of the future as the ice caps melt away. Ward imagines Canadian indigenous people waging guerrilla warfare in 2030 on a government poisoning their bodies and ancestral lands with tars sands mining; Miami in 2120 as a lawless island abandoned by a federal government overwhelmed with building dikes to protect less doomed cities; topsoil from a dried-out Midwest being shipped in 2515 to an Antarctic Freehold State, one of the few locations where crops could still be grown; Bangladeshi refugees, fleeing their flooded nation after a 24-foot sea rise in 3004, being gunned down by Indian Border Security Forces. Ward assures us that it doesn’t have to be this way and attempts a feeble optimism. He recommends a combination of lifestyle changes and technical solutions, although he warns that the latter are fraught with unknown perils. This is indisputably important information, but Ward’s conclusion that hope is “perhaps itself a goal,” makes for a depressing read. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
More doom and gloom about rising sea levels. NASA astrobiologist Ward (Biology and Earth and Space Science/Univ. of Washington; Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future, 2007, etc.) describes the disastrous changes that can be expected as sea levels continue their accelerating rise due to global warming. Drawing on recent studies, the author writes that there will be massive flooding-far more than currently predicted-of world coastlines, home to more than 200 million people. In one of many scenarios, Ward predicts conditions in Miami in 2120, where a ten-foot rise in sea level has left behind a bankrupt island city without municipal freshwater, freeway and railroad ties or much of a middle class (most having fled to higher ground), its dying economy based mainly on illegal drugs. "All of the coastal cities can die by drowning," he writes, noting that flooding will destroy the infrastructure needed for survival. "If we do not act, none will be spared, even those that climb up hills onto steeper slopes, such as San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, and Vancouver." Ward examines each aspect of the havoc-making process: increasing greenhouse-gas emissions, rising temperatures, melting of the large ice sheets and glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica and a foreseeable sea-level rise of more than 200 feet over centuries. The biggest culprit behind rising seas, he writes, is overpopulation. Most vulnerable to drowning and economic calamity are coastal places at low sea levels in Holland, Bangladesh and more than 30 other countries, and the most likely to emerge as greater world powers are cold places like Russia and Canada. Ward writes that coastal cities have three choices: do little or nothing (and be inundated), build flood-control facilities and dikes or relocate populations to entirely new cities. More broadly, to avoid disastrous global warming, humans must not only reduce greenhouse gases; they must change behaviors (stop using coal, eliminate the suburbs and private vehicles) and engineer new climate-protecting techniques (artificial cloud cover, space reflectors, etc.). A blunt, vivid warning. Author tour to Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Los Angeles

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465029051
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
08/07/2012
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,361,395
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.78(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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