James Hansen – Storms of My Grandchildren (2009)
One quarter sound but poorly explained climate science, one quarter anecdotes about Hansen’s visits to the White House, one quarter Hansen’s personal theories about how we’ll drown and/or fry ourselves to extinction, and one quarter reasonable discussions on energy policies.
Recommended: No. Hansen never really backs up his claim that we must limit CO2 levels to 350 ppm if we want to avoid a 75 meter sea level rise, or that burning all our oil, gas and coal is certain to cause Venus-like temperatures. He just repeats that he “has come to believe” that it is so. Hansen is in many ways a mirror image of the climate skeptics. He relies on generally accepted theories when he can, but cherry-picks when he must. He even resort to the same conspiracy theories as the skeptics do about why other scientists don’t take his theories seriously. It’s because he’s opposed by a powerful and tightly knit network of IPCC-related scientists! This isn’t science. It’s the ramblings of a crank. His views on solutions are more down to earth. He argues that cap-and-trade doesn’t work because it sets a floor on CO2 reductions, and that governments should not aim to “pick winners” among energy alternatives. The best solution is a large carbon tax where funds are distributed directly back to the citizens. Oh, and he’s pro-nuclear. (Oddly, the one thing nearly all the books I’ve read on climate change and energy alternatives so far have in common is that they’re cautiously pro-nuclear and pro-carbon tax.)