Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth / Edition 1

Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth / Edition 1

by Curt Stager
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St. Martin's Press

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Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth / Edition 1

In this major new book, paleoclimatologist Curt Stager vividly shows how what we do to the environment in the 21st century will affect the next 100,000 years of life on this planet

Most of us have accepted that our planet is warming and that we’ve played the key role in causing climate change. Yet few of us realize the magnitude of what’s happened. The course we take will affect our civilization and the planet for millennia. What will that world look like? Curt Stager draws on the planet’s geological history to provide a view of where we may be headed. That future is far different from anything anyone has ever seen before.

In the long run, the greatest threat to humans will not be global warming, but global cooling. Just when that “climate whiplash” happens is entirely up to us. We have already put off the next Ice Age, but whether our descendents will see an ice-free Arctic, miles of submerged coasts, or an acidified ocean still remains to be decided. Stager shows how vastly different the world will be if we continue to pollute or if we rein ourselves in for the sake of future generations.

Like the bestsellers The World Without Us and The Next 100 Years, this book offers a new perspective that will change the way climate skeptics, activists, and everyone in between thinks about what we’re doing to our planet.

Deep Future is a richly informative and deeply persuasive book — one that will be relevant for generations.”

—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe


“A highly entertaining, carefully balanced, and deeply sobering look at our climate future”

—William F. Ruddiman, author of Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate


“Fascinating and measured - at last someone is taking the long view”

—Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet


“While most of our attention in the field of climate science has focused on what we might expect by the end of the 21st century, Curt Stager takes us to a time 100,000 years in the future.  This intriguing and thought-provoking view of the far future is an essential read for all interested in the full force of climate change.  Without thinking outside the box we would have assumed that abrupt climate change was impossible and that human influence on climate could be transparently absorbed by the massive Earth system.  Thinking and experimenting outside the box has expanded our climate view horizons and so will Curt Stager’s book.”

—Paul Andrew Mayewski, Director of the Climate Change Institute, and author of The Ice Chronicles


“We're short-term thinkers: this fiscal quarter, this presidential term. But as Curt Stager points out in this fascinating, eloquent, and truly novel new account, what we're doing in the short run will have an almost unimaginably long-term effect. Our short moment on earth is changing the planet essentially forever, at least in human terms — which means that this is both a scientifically and ethically crucial book.”

—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312614621
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/15/2011
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

1 Stopping the Ice 13

2 Beyond Global Warming 29

3 The Last Great Thaw 49

4 Life in a Super-Greenhouse 67

5 Future Fossils 86

6 Oceans of Acid 102

7 The Rising Tide 118

8 An Ice-Free Arctic 139

9 The Greening of Greenland 162

10 What About the Tropics? 181

11 Bringing It Home 203

Epilogue 228

References 243

Index 271

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Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
The author presents a balanced view of global warming based upon a wide range of scientific disciplines and study. His outlook is practical rather than emotionally charged although his objectivity is not impersonal. This book is not intended to appeal to those seeking fast paced drama, but rather to those wanting to get past the hoopla of global warming to understand the real seriousness and impact. The first point Stager makes is that global warming has had at least one very positive impact ¿ it has delayed the next ice age from 50,000 years to 130,000 years in the future. Incidentally, Stager discounts all the annihilation scenarios and sees no reason that mankind will not exist 130,000 years from now. He describes the existence, as many of us have suspected, of natural phenomena and cycles unrelated to global warming that impact climate (e.g., tilt cycle occurring every 41,000 years, eccentricity and oscillation of the orbital route of the earth occurring every 100,000 years and 412,000 years respectively, and earth wobble occurring every 19,000 and 23,000 years). Nevertheless, global warming is fact and not fiction. The severity of the impact depends on how quickly we reduce greenhouse gases. He provides different scenarios based upon CO2 concentrations to illustrate the impact. In a moderate scenario whereby we switch to non-fossil fuels as soon as possible, CO2 emissions peak in 2050, concentrations peak in 2100-2200, and temperature peaks in 2200-2300 at 3-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) higher than at present. The chemistry of sea water becomes more corrosive, polar ice melts several feet per century causing sea levels to rise 20-23 feet (6-7 meters) above the elevation today, and species loss and habitat due to climatic disturbances and ocean acidification will be significant. Recovery from the effects of global warming will take 50,000 to 500,000 years depending on the scenario. In the short term, there will be winners and losers. He advises poor tropical nations that make the smallest contributions to planetary heating to concentrate on reducing poverty, disease and war, and providing wider access to education and technology. As he points out, if a nation is financially and socially well off, then it matters less what the weather is like. His overall advice is to stem carbon emissions as much and as soon as possible and ¿don¿t panic and don¿t give up!¿