GLOBAL WARMING by Stephen H. Schneider


Email this review


Here, Schneider (coauthor, The Coevolution of Climate and Life; The Primordial Bond) kicks up the dust around ""global warming,"" particularly regarding consideration of the problem by the media and public policy. Schneider explores the widespread view that CO2 and other gases are likely to double in our atmosphere within the next century. He treats this alarmist subject with clarity, providing a compact summary of the earth's climactic evolution, and of studies on variability in the weather throughout earth time, as well as on Venus and Mars. His survey avoids hasty conclusions and at the same time lays bare the connection between human action and damage to an interactive ecosystem. Given that the atmosphere may be warming at an unnaturally swift rate, how do politics and communication affect the already dangerous intervention of the industrial world in our atmosphere? One chapter, ruefully titled ""Mediarology,"" explores the dichotomous tendency of objective journalism to either sensationalize the issue or to ignore it. This tendency might well continue in the future, he indicates, if the natural ""negative feedback"" of denser cloud cover keeps the heat from being very noticeable for several decades more. Schneider's indictment of the media fails to recognize the limits of a medium that relies on natural disaster. But his account is disturbing, his chilly treatment of federally commissioned science provocative; also of interest is a good deal of statistical speculation on the current crisis that he tucks in between the geo-history and the media-baiting.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1989
Publisher: Sierra Club--dist. by Random House