Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, University of California San Diego
Roger Aines, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Max Auffhammer, University of California Berkeley
Copyright Year: 2019
ISBN 13: 978-0-578-50847-4
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Climate Change Solutions: Bending the curve addresses a critical gap in teaching climate change in the classroom, especially from the perspective of solving this seemingly insurmountable environmental problem. The book does a good job of... read more
Climate Change Solutions: Bending the curve addresses a critical gap in teaching climate change in the classroom, especially from the perspective of solving this seemingly insurmountable environmental problem. The book does a good job of addressing climate change solutions and actions, and the relevant economics, sociology, and public policy behind these solutions. The book could be much more useful for classrooms in a wide variety of disciplines if it addresses two issues in subsequent editions. Firstly, the book explores the cases in California much more comprehensively than it does cases elsewhere in the US as well as the world. Given that climate change is global, we need to expand beyond the borders of California and look at some of the really enterprising climate change adaptation and mitigation work happening elsewhere. The book has a few examples from India and Latin America (and perhaps other places as well that evaded my reading), but not nearly enough international treatment of an issue that is truly global. Secondly, the book focuses on the social science aspects of climate change solutions. However, the book does not address the effects on the biosphere at any meaningful length and consequently does not address adaptation for the adverse effects on the biosphere. Also lacking in the content are mitigation strategies such as reforestation and ecosystem restoration where ecosystem management and a biosphere centric approach could play a key role in climate change solutions.
The books chapters are contributed by individual authors and then edited by the editors, resulting in a fairly accurate, unbiased, and fact-based discussion of the issues at hand. The scholarly and yet optimistic tone of the chapters is a refreshing change in this particular subject area!
The book is published in 2019 and even in this fast changing area of knowledge and research, the book is highly relevant. The relevance is most obvious in the chapters that deal with economic and policy aspects of climate change or case studies in California. The lack of treatment of climate change's impacts in the global south and how societies are responding to climate change globally could probably take away a bit of the relevance of this text pretty soon.
The book is written clearly. The authors of each chapter has different writing styles. Even then, the text in the chapters are approachable and easily understandable. The text is probably appropriate for advanced undergraduates or a survey course at early graduate level.
The book's treatment of the topics is thoroughly consistent with my understanding of the topic area (I am a climate change biologist). In my reading, I did not notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the terminology or framework around climate change policy and mitigation.
Each of the chapters can be assigned by themselves as readings in a course. The sections and the chapters do build on each other. The first four sections especially lay the foundation for the rest of the chapters. Still, each of the chapters are self-explanatory and can be assigned out of the sequence as they are laid out in the book.
The progression of the different topics around climate change solutions is gradual. The editors do a great job of organizing the different chapters in sections that help progress the reader's understanding of the issues at hand. Within chapters, the text boxes help highlight the key points. I probably would have appreciated a little less focus on the long sections of texts to make key points in certain sections. More visual aids, such as graphs, schematics and infographics could be useful in lessening the dependence on long sections of text to illustrate a point.
The text in the electronic version is easy to read. I received a printed copy from my university librarian and the printed version was as legible as any college textbook. For an electronic book, I would like to be a bit more use of electronic media. A lot of resources on climate change, from interactive modules to youtube videos from reputable sources are available on the internet. Integrating such resources, especially at the end of chapters, could make understanding some of the key concepts easier and could also provide with a wide variety of case studies. In the references for some of the chapters, links for reports that are online are easy to click on and go to. More of these sorts of references that we can click and read would be great to have in subsequent editions.
In my reading, I did not find any noticeable grammatical error.
The book is moderately sensitive to current cultural sensibilities in academia or on college campuses. I, however, find the overt focus on climate change solutions in California a bit puzzling and inconsistent with treating climate change as a truly global issue. As I pointed out earlier in my review, I wish for a proper treatment of global case studies, highlighting the ingenuity of climate change adaptation and mitigation work being done in the global south, or even outside the US and outside California.
Thank you to the editors and authors for creating this book. It is a much needed resource in classrooms across the US.
The authors managed to find a great balance between being thorough and succinct. This book covers a lot of ground, but each of the chapters are logically connected and pertinent. Summaries do a great job of distilling large amounts of information... read more
The authors managed to find a great balance between being thorough and succinct. This book covers a lot of ground, but each of the chapters are logically connected and pertinent. Summaries do a great job of distilling large amounts of information into key learning concepts, making it easy for students and educators to apply in classroom setting. The authors remain solution-focused while still providing enough detail on various aspects of the problem to justify the need for action.
Given the potentially polarizing nature of climate change and it's solutions, it's critical that texts on the topic present trustworthy information, and this book has done just that. The authors draw from a variety of reputable sources, from peer-reviewed journal articles to programs and organizations with the highest levels of expertise and authority. Data appears current, accurate and free from bias.
The topic of this book is extremely relevant for a wide range of students, educators, and community members alike. Information and recommendations from this book could easily be applied to courses from a variety of disciplines, such as environmental studies, public administration, economics, and social work. Content appeared up to date and could be easily updated as new data emerges.
The concise summaries of climate change basics were detailed enough to provide excellent context, while still being simple enough to be easily understood by someone without expertise in environmental studies. I found the text easy to follow throughout the book. Bolded and color-coded keywords make learning new terms straightforward.
The text appeared internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
Each section logically builds on the next, but could also stand alone. Sections are clearly organized and distinct topics are easily identifiable. Having a companion resource with discussion questions and other activities makes it easy for educators to imagine portions of the textbook being broken into modules.
The authors start by laying out a clear, compelling case for why action on the climate crisis is urgently needed and then give readers a cogent roadmap for bending the curve.
Overall the book was very easy to navigate regardless of device used to access the text. Headings and the main text were very clear. Most of the photos and images were clear as well, but there were a few places where graphics or charts appeared pixelated, making the chart labels difficult to make out even after zooming in. Similarly, a few graphics featured light colored font on light-colored or "busy" backgrounds, which is challenging for individuals with any vision impairment.
The proofing and copy-editing appear excellent. No notable grammatical issues.
As a social work practitioner and educator, I paid special attention to cultural relevance and appropriateness. I was pleased to see that the authors used terminology consistent with best practices in the social sciences, such as using the gender neutral "Latinx". There was also a demonstrated effort to include perspectives and case examples from a variety of diverse contexts. Writing was inclusive and sensitive to issues disproportionately impacted vulnerable or historically marginalized populations.
I wish I had found this book before I developed the syllabus for my new Green Social Work course, but will definitely be utilizing portions of the book in future sections of the course. Thank you for creating such a useful resource!
Table of Contents
Part I Concepts and Solutions
- 1 Climate Change
- 2 Humans, Nature, and the Quest for Climate Justice
- 3 Climate Change and Human Health
- 4 Overview of the Ten Solutions for Bending the Curve
Part II Ten Solutions
- 5 Your Leadership: Social Movements and Social Solutions to Climate Change
- 6 Social Transformation: Changing Attitudes, Norms, and Behaviors
- 7 Religion, Ethics, and Climate Change
- 8 Communicating Climate Change Science
- 9 Lessons from California
- 10 The Paris Agreement and Its Implementation
- 11 Economics: Emissions, Impacts, and Policy
- 12 Cost-Effective Climate Policies
- 13 Two Evolving Energy Technology Pathways
- 14 Environmentally Sustainable Transportation
- 15 Technologies for Super Pollutants Mitigation
- 16 Enhancing Carbon Sinks in Natural and Working Lands
Part III Current Topics
- 17 Sea Level Rise from Melting Ice
- 18 Atmospheric Carbon Extraction: Scope, Available Technologies, and Challenges
- 19 Local Solutions
About the Book
Climate change is an urgent problem. Because it is causing new weather extremes and fatal catastrophes, climate change is better termed climate disruption. Bending the curve to flatten the upward trajectory of pollution emissions responsible for climate disruption is essential in order to protect billions of people from this global threat. Education is a key part of the solution.
This textbook book lays out ten solutions that together can bend the curve of climate warming below dangerous levels. These solutions fall into six categories: science, societal transformation, governance, economics, technology, and ecosystem management. Four themes emerge from the book:
* There is still time to bend the curve. The time to act was yesterday, but if proper actions are taken now, there is still time to avoid disastrous changes. We have to pull on three levers: The carbon lever to achieve zero net emissions of carbon dioxide before 2050; the short-lived climate pollutants lever to drastically reduce concentrations of other major climate pollutants; and the atmospheric carbon extraction lever to remove massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
* Bending the curve will require interdisciplinary solutions. Climate change requires integrating approaches from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, so this textbook—unlike most on climate change solutions—does just that, with chapters written by experts in climate science, social justice, economics, environmental policy, political science, energy technologies, ecology, and religion. Bending the curve also requires preservation and restoration of ecological systems.
* Bending the curve requires a radical shift in attitude. This shift requires change in behavior, change in our attitudes towards each other, and change in our attitude towards nature. Climate justice has to be an integral part of the solution.
* Technology, market mechanism and policy need to be a part of the solution. New market mechanisms and other policies are required to spur technological innovations and to scale clean technologies globally.
There are ancillary materials available for this book.
List of Authors:
Tucker, Mary Evelyn
About the Contributors