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Heat:How We Can Stop the Planet Burning

by George Monbiot

After the fiasco of Copenhagen, you may be wondering if there is anything that can be done about climate change. In this comprehensive book about the subject, George Monbiot, campaigning journalist and original thinker, tells us what we can do. He has investigated the science, crunched the numbers, questioned the experts and, in lucid, accessible prose, he summarises the latest research and makes practical, achievable suggestions for ways to slow down, if not prevent, a catastrophic rise in the world’s temperature.

It may come as no surprise that climate change deniers are funded one way or another by oil giants, like Exxon Mobil. But Monbiot provides evidence that the so-called grassroots campaigning organization, The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), which has been hugely influential in undermining the arguments for man-made global warming, was created by an unholy alliance of interested corporations. Initially set up by Philip Morris, the tobacco company, to gainsay scientific evidence about the dangers of passive smoking, TASSC’s agenda was broadened in order to link the tobacco issue with other controversial topics – global warming; nuclear waste disposal; and biotechnology – in order to gain credibility. With the massive weight of Philip Morris and Exxon behind it, TASSC’s ‘facts’ and the ‘experts’ associated with its website – junkscience.com – continue to hold sway not only in the media but have percolated through to establishment bodies as far reaching as the White House.

Many of the messages of the book are unpalatable and Monbiot doesn’t pull his punches:

‘...the connection between cause and effect seems so improbable. By turning on the lights, filling the kettle, taking the children to school, driving to the shops, we are condemning other people to death...’

But he is also a realist and the practical measures he suggests don’t involve us turning off the heating. Although we will have to change our behaviour, he advocates a system in which the pain will be felt equally by everyone: a sophisticated scheme of carbon emission rationing allied to radical approaches to transport, building, retail and, of course, renewable energy.

Read this book, get informed, join the debate and do something about the most vital issue of our times.

Clare Chandler

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