Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynas. National Geographic, 2008
Ever since "The Secret Life of Dust" introduced me to "readable non-fiction", I've enjoyed learning about different aspects of our Earth. One of my co-workers recommended "Six Degrees" and said it would be scary and shocking. It was. But it was also very one-sided, with very little mention of competing theories.
Five years ago, when the book was published, the average temperature of the earth was already at least 1 degree hotter. Degree by degree, Lynas takes us through changes that will occur as the earth's average temperature rises, until by the time it reaches 6 degrees, much of earth will be desertified, and people will be warring for the few remaining habitable places. Relying heavily on computer modeling scenarios and other research, the evidence is compelling. Not until the very end does the author propose measures that can be undertaken to slow the process. Seven years later, none of them has been implemented, and we are rapidly approaching the tipping point of a carbon dioxide "feedback loop" that will make the heating process not only accelerate, but become irreversible.