Our Fragile Moment by Michael Mann [10/10]

If our children and grandchildren need a hero—and they do, they do—Michael Mann is it. Brilliant, passionately active, and humane, he has been at the forefront of climate scientists’ spurring of action in this climate crisis. His latest book, Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from the Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis is very different to the earlier ones. It methodically, and with fine style and wit, proceeds through the four-and-a-half-billion-year history of Earth using the lenses of climate and greenhouse gas levels, seeking to understand not only those past eons but also the direct implications of our planet’s swings in temperature and climate and conditions for our understanding of the next three quarters of the century. Deep geology can be deeply boring and distancing. Not in Mann’s hands, he renders it all comprehensible, thrilling, and exciting. Ice ages, hot ages … the variety of the planet’s states astonished me. And the final chapter, in which Mann carefully, oh so carefully, unpicks the macro climate evidence of the past to shed light on how much time humans have to act to ameliorate climate change, is stunning. Our Fragile Moment undoubtedly crowns what has been an amazing (if often wrenching) climate change reading year.

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