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Earth under Fire: How Global Warming Is Changing the World

GARY BRAASCH
WITH AN AFTERWORD BY BILL McKIBBEN
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 2
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppfpm
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  • Book Info
    Earth under Fire
    Book Description:

    More than a warning,Earth under Fireis the most complete illustrated guide to the effects of climate change now available. It offers an upbeat and intelligent account of how we can lessen the effects of our near-total dependence on fossil fuels using technologies and energy sources already available. A thorough revision and a new preface for the paperback edition bring the compelling facts about climate change up to date.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94393-3
    Subjects: Physics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xxvi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xxvii-xxvii)
  3. PREFACE TO THE 2009 EDITION
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-3)

    This book is a message from many of the places where the eªects of rapid climate change are being seen and where scientists are studying what is happening. It is also a report on what these changes mean and what we can do about them.

    As a witness to climate change, I have stood in the empty rookeries of displaced Adélie penguins and felt the chill as huge icebergs separated from an ice shelf in Antarctica. I have seen the jagged fronts of receding Greenland glaciers and observed subtle changes on the tundra. I have tracked down Alpine glaciers depicted...

  5. 1 FIRE ON THE ICE
    (pp. 5-45)

    I felt like I was exploring a different planet. Four searchlight beams arrowed down from above me to a vanishing point over dark water. Sea fog swept in along the beams and occasionally an iceberg was illuminated. To the left, a small, pale full moon barely showed over the clouds. My exploring vessel was the National Science Foundation research icebreakerNathaniel B. Palmer,a 300-foot floating laboratory whose crew can sample the sea and its creatures to depths of many thousands of feet. I stood on the bridge with the captain and ship scientists, approaching the Antarctic Circle along the...

  6. 2 POLAR THAW
    (pp. 47-75)

    It’s a blustery day on Torgersen Island, a tiny speck of rock tucked into a bight at the south end of Anvers Island, Antarctica. Even though it is summer here, squalls blow down across the Marr Glacier, pasting snow against the north side of sharp shale promontories. Lost in the wind is the sound of several large Adélie penguin colonies, where tiny chicks are hatching out daily. The weather makes it a rather normal day so far for three humans scrambling up shoreline rocks from the black Zodiac that brought them the half-mile from Palmer Station. Buffeted by gusts and...

  7. 3 BREAKING THE BOUNDARIES OF LIFE
    (pp. 77-111)

    The wind was blasting sideways across the sharp ridge, each gust so full of moisture it felt not like air but nearly like an ocean wave. It knocked us cockeyed. With our boots slithering on slimy mud and eyes half-blinded by the mist, we could barely keep our balance. Ecologist Alan Pounds, a shiny ghost just ahead in his blue rain gear, was leading the way down Brillante Ridge in Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica. On this day, the place was certainly living up to its reputation as the focus of trade winds that careen up and over Central...

  8. 4 TOMORROW’S CLIMATE TODAY
    (pp. 113-157)

    The minute I descended from the prop aircraft in Tuvalu in the South Pacific and walked through the tiny air terminal with its throng of relatives welcoming arriving passengers, taxi drivers, and vendors, I was strongly reminded of villages in the Arctic. If not for the tropical heat and very different clothing, I could have been in Pangnirtung on Baffin Island or Nome, Alaska. The feeling of connection grew stronger as I learned more about Tuvaluans’ relationship with their environment. Like the Inuit and Iñupiaq, who live off the land and ice, they have a long history of living off...

  9. 5 CHOOSING A SAFER, CLEANER, AND COOLER WORLD
    (pp. 159-211)

    “It Is Five Minutes to Midnight.” With that headline in January 2007,the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistsmoved its clock two minutes closer to doomsday. And for the first time the scientists concluded that “the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons.” In more than a hundred years of making choices about our economy and how to power it we have sought abundant energy and improved the lives of many millions. Now we are learning that those energy sources, primarily coal and oil, generate most of the excess heat that is...

  10. EPILOGUE Mission: Possible
    (pp. 213-214)

    The earth is warming rapidly, and climate change effects are spreading faster than most of us realize. For thousands of years, human civilization has flourished on a hospitable Earth, but that hospitality is waning. Everyone in every nation, and the entire natural world, will be affected.

    Fossil fuels, the very power that brought civilization to this point of progress and peril, are responsible for this global change. What comes next could be profoundly negative, rendering hollow the promises of life, human rights, and peace that we hold out to our children and the rest of the world.

    We already have...

  11. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 215-216)
    Bill McKibben

    In 1989, when I was writingThe End of Nature,I interviewed an MIT professor named Kerry Emanuel. One of the country’s leading hurricane scientists, he’d done some of the early work to suggest that eventually warmer ocean temperatures might increase the intensity of tropical storms. But with the usual reserve of a careful researcher, he wouldn’t say more than that.

    I thought of that interview this week, when I read Emanuel’s latest paper. It showed that hurricanes were already 50 percent more intense than a generation ago—it showed, in short, that we are already seeing effects of climate...

  12. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 217-220)
  13. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 221-222)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 223-250)
  15. REFERENCES
    (pp. 251-254)
  16. ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
    (pp. 255-256)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 257-267)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 268-268)