“High Tide: the truth about our climate crisis,” Mark Lynas

Sarah Lindon
28 September 2005

High tide

UK paperback title: “High Tide: news from a warming world”

“High Tide: the truth about our climate crisis”
by Mark Lynas
HarperCollins (UK) | March 2005 | ISBN 0007139403

Buy now: UK, US, Worldwide

Recommended by Sarah Lindon: “If you have ever had trouble conceptualising climate change, this book can certainly help. I picked it up shortly after hurricane Katrina and read about the UK’s floods in 2000, when York escaped inundation by just 5cm. Connecting the two events, climate change means the recent suffering of New Orleans has global significance, as well as American. Many cities worldwide are at risk of severe flooding as extreme weather increases, just as New Orleans has been for years.

Mark Lynas takes the reader on a vivid trip around a strange new world, to parts of the planet where climate change is already producing dramatic, serious effects. As he observes, if you choose to look, climate change is there to see. He describes ‘drunken forests’, disappearing lakes, salt-rotted plants, ghost towns, retreating glaciers, birds failing to breed, abandoned tourist sites, seawater springs, environmental refugees, cities running short of water, plants retreating up mountains and hundreds of species migrating towards the poles.

The effect is thriller-like in places (the UK edition’s design is also oddly thrillerish). Stories of mountain adventures and encounters with extreme conditions, told in lucid, fluent prose, keep the pages turning. The implications of these accounts are grounded clearly for the reader in scientific explanation. In fact, he reveals, climate change has happened before. Readers may be familiar with the ‘six degrees of separation’ idea – here is a new six degrees to remain etched in your mind. 251 million years ago a giant volcanic eruption in Siberia warmed the earth’s climate by six degrees, causing mass extinction. 95% of species died out and it took 50 million years for biodiversity to reach its previous levels. Six degrees is the IPCC’s current upper estimate, based on all available scientific evidence, to predicted climate change over the next hundred years.

What can be done? Mark believes a global citizens’ movement is needed. And he outlines the options currently available, from the useful to the illusory, from green electricity to trading hot air to carbon sinks. The book is not just a gripping read, it is also a good starter kit for understanding the issues and getting involved. Resources and contacts are provided so readers can act.”

What the publisher says: “A glacier disappears high in the Peruvian Andes. Floodwaters surge across the English countryside. Ten thousand Pacific islanders evacuate their homeland. A dust storm turns day into night across the Inner Mongolian plains. To many people, these events might seem unrelated. But they’re not. Even as scientists and other experts continue to debate the specifics, climate crisis has crept up almost unnoticed on planet earth.

In this groundbreaking book, Mark Lynas reveals the first evidence – painstakingly collected over three years of travelling to far-flung corners of the globe – of how global warming is hitting people’s lives, not in the future, but in our world today. And in the process, Lynas gives us a stark warning about the even worse dangers that lie ahead if nothing is done.”

Mark Lynas

About the author: Born in Fiji in 1973, Mark Lynas grew up in Peru, Spain, and the UK. A specialist in climate change, he is a journalist, campaigner, broadcast commentator and editor of OneWorld.net until 2000. High Tide was longlisted for both the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and the Guardian First Book Award in 2004. He lives in Oxford and is currently working on his new book Six Degrees. His website is at: www.marklynas.org.

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