Surviving Global Warming
Why Eliminating Greenhouse Gases Isn’t Enough
Roger A. Sedjo, Prometheus Books (MARCH) Hardcover $24 (288pp), 978-1-63388-528-8
Roger Sedjo, a senior fellow at an environmental think tank and a shared recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate assessment, is guardedly hopeful about humanity’s ability to deal with climate change—though Surviving Global Warming, in stark but realistic terms, argues that it must be handled differently.
The book offers substantive proof that the current strategy of focusing on preventing greenhouse gases—called “Plan A”—is woefully inadequate. It discusses both the positives and negatives of mitigation, referring specifically to Al Gore’s widely popular view that carbon and greenhouse gases are primarily the result of human activities and are important contributing factors to global warming. However, Sedjo is strong and eloquent in stating that the world’s remediation approach, based on this view, “will be insufficient to fully halt climate warming.”
The bulk of the book’s content revolves around an adaptation solution, called “Plan B.” The text is clear in distinguishing between Plan A and Plan B, highlighting the fact that Plan B focuses on “adaptive management,” or “management of the damage associated with warming, rather than trying to stop the warming itself,” some of which is a natural occurrence. While admitting that the adaptation approach is yet to be fully developed, Sedjo provides ample explanations of ways in which it could be applied as a kind of supplemental “insurance” to enhance rather than replace Plan A.
At the heart of the adaptation approach is geoengineering, which is meticulously described. Importantly, adaptation activities can occur largely on a local level rather than requiring international cooperation to be implemented. Included is a key discussion of the political challenges of this approach.
Surviving Global Warming is provocative and very possibly monumental in its visionary message that more than current thinking is needed to properly address climate change.