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Global warming is the story of the twenty-first century. It is the most serious issue facing the future of humankind, and American energy and environmental policy is driving the whole world down the path of global catastrophe. Hell and High Water is nothing less than a wake-up call to the country. It is a searing critique of American environmental and energy policy and a passionate call to action by a writer with a unique command of the science and politics of climate change.

We have ten years, at most, to start making sharp cuts to our greenhouse gas emissions or we will face catastrophic consequences. The good news is that there is something we can do—but only if the leadership of the U.S. government acts immediately and asserts its influence on the rest of the world—in particular such emerging powers as China and India—to join an international effort to stop global warming.

Joseph Romm, an expert in the science, business, and politics of climate change, lays out a plan of action that involves:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by midcentury
  • adopting a California-style energy-efficiency effort nationwide
  • embracing high-mileage, advanced "hybrid" cars that can run on both electricity and biofuels

Unfortunately, the required government policies and spending are strongly opposed by conservatives, who have blocked serious action on climate change and continue to publicly deny the dire warnings of scientists. Never before has there been such a sharp divergence between what top scientists know and what policymakers, the general public, and the media believe. And, sadly, never has so much been at stake.

Romm, who ran the largest program in the world that was concentrated on climate solutions, offers an authoritative dissection of this disastrous policy. Hell and High Water goes beyond ideological rhetoric to offer pragmatic solutions to avert the threat of global warming—solutions that must be taken seriously by every American.


Joseph Romm is the founder and executive director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions and a fellow at the Center for American Progress. Under President Clinton he was acting assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, heading the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The author of the award-winning The Hype About Hydrogen, he holds a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and lives in Washington, D.C.


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ISBN-10:  006117212X
ISBN-13:  B000WPPY8G
Author:  Joseph Romm
Genre:  General, Natural Resources
Publisher:  William Morrow & Co
Date Published:  December 26, 2006
Format:  Hardcover
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review by . December 02, 2008
This quote from "Science" editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy from 2001 really sums up the situation quite succinctly.  Extensive research by scientists from a wide variety of disciplines over several decades all point to the same unsettling conclusion.  Unless the United States wakes up to the reality of global warming and takes action to dramatically curb carbon emissions we are facing an environmental calamity of epic proportions.  In his 2005 book "Hell and High …
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Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
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