So clearly in the last few weeks I’ve not been working and I’ve had half as many kids to look after … so in between tears I’ve been dealing with fears …. the sort that abound if you make it much past the first chapter of Mark Lynas’ book: Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet.

Inspired by Aaaron Schwartz, albeit recognising reality (although heavily modified by recent events), I’ve decided to try and blog my years reading. Don’t expect it to be too erudite, when I’ve got time I read pretty eclectically, and often choose mindless crap just to eat up time with as few brain cells as possible involved.

Anyway, back to the book of the day. The basic thesis is that there are six chapters describing the likely outcomes should our planet heat by between one and six degrees as a result of anthropogenic CO2 climate change.

It’s a pretty well written book, with what looks to me like a reasonable coverage of the apocalyptic end of the literature. Clearly it’s got a journalistic tone, with a fair dose of hyperbole, but he does temper it with a some qualification from time to time. While we all hope the six degree end is pretty unlikely, the possible consequences of even (!) the 2-3 degree changes make scary reading.

It’d be pretty easy, I think, to find the “ifs buts and maybes” in the original literature, and not much of it was “news” to me, but the thing about reading it all in one place was that it brought home to me that if even some of the predictions come home to roost, the world (both geographically and socially) is going to be a pretty different place in just a few decades, let alone a few centuries. Again, maybe that wasn’t news, but there’s something about having it rammed home all in one volume …

So it’s inspired me in two ways: I’m going to get back to the entire IPCC report and read the bits I don’t normally (i.e. WG2 and WG3 stuff), and I’m going to try much harder to avoid business travel (you may well ask about personal travel, but we’ll save the answer for another day). As regular readers will know, I’ve been avoiding business travel this last year anyway, in favour of virtual conferencing. You now know why, Evan having been pretty sick for a long time, and while looking after Evan is no longer an excuse for not travelling, I think given my profession, and given what we now believe about the future, it’d be wrong not to continue to try. Which brings me to my new years resolution: to try and convince my colleagues, especially the senior ones, to try harder to avoid physical meetings - particularly where the meetings are part of a regular sequence.

Update later same day: One of the things Lynas worries about is declining growth of corals: Ka ching!

trackbacks (1)

Two degrees of Warming (from “Bryan’s Blog” on (on Friday 09 January, 2009))William asked what ML thought would happen with two degrees. I suspect the reason he asked that is that most of us believe that two degrees is in the pipeline, and pretty much inescapable now …

comments (2)

William (on Tuesday 06 January, 2009) You have my sympathy, it must be terrible.

On the other sort of terrible, I’d be interested to know what ML finds are the worst consequences of 2-3 oC warming.private villas bali (on Wednesday 13 January, 2010) I often visited your site these before also and I always enjoyed reading all your share as it’s always refreshing and there is always something new to know here. Great job dude..