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A World Without Ice by Henry N. Pollack
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A World Without Ice

by Henry N. Pollack

Other authors: Al Gore (Foreword)

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Henry Pollack is a venerable scientist with a thousand stories to share. He’s been doing ice science for over 40 years. He’s also been explaining what he does, and the implications of what he and his colleagues have learned, for nearly as long. All of that experience makes A World Without Ice a great introduction to climate science.

Pollack doesn’t bother to tackle the climate change deniers head on. At this stage of the game, there’s really no point. Although surveys inform us that Americans remain stubbornly pig-headed about the subject, the rest of us are innovating and positioning ourselves to capitalize on the inevitably growing demand for greener, cleaner technology. For example, roughly thirty percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the buildings we live and work in. Reducing emissions from buildings (either by building new ones right or by retrofitting existing ones) not only lowers our overall carbon footprint but lowers utility bills, as well. So the deniers can fume all they want; they’ll modify their tune soon enough when their wallets are empty.

Alas, behavior modification won’t happen nearly fast enough to blunt the sharp edge of climate change extremes. The planet will be largely ice-free by 2030, Pollack argues, which will mean severe hardship for many hundreds of millions of people. We’ve already seen the government of the Maldives hold a cabinet meeting underwater to dramatize rising sea levels, but tiny far-flung islands hardly register in the media-clotted American’s brain. When New Yorkers start swimming to work, though, perhaps the tune will change.

We are who we are, Pollack shows, because of ice. Our landscapes were shaped by ice, our cultures formed in the give-and-take of glaciers. Pollack writes,

Ice is nature’s best thermometer, perhaps its most sensitive and unambiguous indicator of climate change. When ice gets sufficiently warm, it melts…. It is not burdened by ideology and carries no political baggage as it crosses the threshold from solid to liquid. It just melts.

And that’s exactly what it’s doing.

Say goodbye to ice by taking a tour through time and place with Pollack. It may make you sad, but it’s a fascinating journey with a voluble guide. And, who knows? Maybe if enough people read this book, we’d wake up to the fact that we’re acting like a bunch of dope fiends and admit we have a problem. Then again, no. We’d just have a better appreciation of what’s going on as we watch the ice melt.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Brian Charles Clark, 2010 ( )
  funkendub | Oct 4, 2010 |
An outstanding summary of the current status of climate change science. This book really is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the forces at work behind global warming, climate instability, and implications for human life of a world without ice. And a great sequel to Alan Weisman's A World Without Us. ( )
  bodhisattva | Apr 1, 2010 |
Dr. Pollack is Professor of Geophysics at the University of Michigan, a member of the IPCC and an advisor to Al Gore's Climate Project. In this book he presents a concise and easy to understand explanation of the many forces that are at work on Earth that are causing global warming. He cautions that we have little time left to make changes in human activities to avoid the worst possible catastrophes that are inevitable if we simply continue on our current course. But, there is still time to make a difference.
I have had an interest in this subject for a long time, and there is a lot in this book that I was already aware of. But, there is also a huge amount of information that I had not yet come across and that was completely new to me. Despite the wealth of facts included, I am still left with many questions about the causes and particularly the effects of global warming.
Anyone who needs ammunition to use in discussions with deniers of climate change, or deniers of the effect of human activity on climate change, should read this book. The case he makes is compelling and hard to dispute. ( )
  BillPilgrim | Dec 16, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry N. Pollackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gore, AlForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A cowinner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize shares a comprehensive survey of ice as a force of nature while describing potential catastrophic consequences of ice shortages, in a reference that outlines recommended steps for avoiding environmental threats.… (more)

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