Why We Disagree About Climate Change – review

Author: poppy | Date: 28 February, 2012 | Category: Book Reviews | Comments: 0

Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity, by Mike Hulme, April 2009, Cambridge University Press, 380 pages, ISBN 978-0521727327, RRP £16.99

Mike Hulme is Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Science at UEA and founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. In this well-researched and comprehensive book, he covers the fields of science, economics, faith, psychology, sociology, politics, communication and development in order to explore the issues surrounding climate change, and our individual and collective response to it.

There are ten chapters in total, dealing with the following topics:
1. ‘The Social Meaning of Climate’: a guide to the concept of climate, drawing on history, geography and anthropology;
2. ‘The Discovery of Climate Change’: outlining its historical perspective, including anthropogenic influences;
3. ‘The Performance of Science’: a critique of our understanding and expectations of science;
4. ‘The Endowment of Value’: exploring the economic assessment of climate change;
5. ‘The Things we Believe’: an exploration of how different faiths have engaged with climate change;
6. ‘The Things we Fear’: which looks at risk as applied to the discourses on climate;
7. ‘The Communication of Risk’: the  media’s role in reporting and portraying climate change;
8. ‘The Challenge of Development’: how climate change impacts on sustainable development and the different approaches to the problem;
9. ‘The Way we Govern’: exploring the part of international protocols in managing climate change globally;
10. ‘Beyond Climate Change’: exploring the creative possibilities and responses to the phenomenon.

The book is well-structured, each chapter having a summarising and concluding section, greatly facilitating one’s ability to dip in and out rather than having to read from cover to cover. There is also an extensive and well-organised bibliography and a Further Reading list at the end of each chapter. A must-have book for those who take climate change seriously and want to have an intelligent and detailed grasp of all the factors involved.

Linda Wickham


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