BOOKCASE : Six Degrees – Our Future on a Hotter Planet

• Mark Lynas • Fourth Estate (Harper Collins) • $34.99

If you’re looking for some further inspiration to rev up your business or personal efforts to curb the worst effects of climate change then this might just be the book for you.
In Six Degrees – Our Future on Hotter Planet author Mark Lynas takes the reader systematically through the effects of climate change, degree by degree.
It’s sobering tome structured around six sections each telling the story of the climatic effect of single degree increase in temperature. As the book heats up, so to speak, so does the realisation of the truly staggering and frightening proportions of what on paper can appear to be seemingly insignificant increase in overall temperature.
Lynas has done the hard yards in writing Six Degrees. It’s superbly researched book that almost overwhelms as the author draws on study after study in helping to explain the full scope of the situation.
No part of the globe goes untouched. From Botswana to the Big Apple, the author clearly articulates the social, environmental and economic impacts of what is already widely regarded as the ultimate sustainability challenge of our century.
The book suggests that to avert the worst society should be aiming for peak in carbon emissions no later than 2015 and be on steady but downward trend from there. That would keep any global temperature increases down to relatively manageable two degrees, though the effects on the low lying Pacific atolls and similar environments would be severe. Heat waves like those felt in Europe in 2003 will be reasonably commonplace.
After three degrees things start to get ugly and essentially humanity loses control of its destiny, mainly due to the collapse of the Amazonian ecosystem.
And what happens beyond that? Well suffice to say, it ain’t pretty and if we ever get to the six-degree outcome, well, at the very least we won’t be here to suffer it. Actually, nothing much living will be.
A better option is to read this book for some encouragement and then if you haven’t already, decide how you’re going to make your business carbon neutral by 2015.

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