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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do » User review

"Consensus as strong as the one that has developed around this topic is rare in science."

  • Dec 2, 2008
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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 Water:  Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do" author Joseph Romm, a former Assistant Secretary of Energy and founder and executive director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions makes a compelling case that time to act on these urgent environmental issues is rapidly growing short.  Contemplating the consequences of our failure to take action is really too horrible to imagine.
It is amazing to me how many people are still not the least bit concerned about global warming.  Stubborn and short-sighted conservatives refuse to acknowledge the obvious for fear that in the short term the bottom lines of many major corporations might be adversely affected.  And those I would refer to as "limousine liberals" in their SUV's and 14 room houses show no inclination to demand change either.  It appears to me that far too many Americans are fat and comfortable with the status quo and are willing to accept the premise that new technologies will ultimately solve these complex problems.  In "Hell and High Water" Joseph Romm laments the incredibly poor job our media has done in relating the urgency of this situation.  He also outlines the public relations strategies of those he aptly refers to as the Delayers and Denyers Romm explains that these people deny the strong scientific consensus that the climate change we are witnessing is primarily caused by human activity and in addition they work feverishly to delay this country from taking any serious steps to reverse the situation.  And beyond merely pointing out the sheer folly of our misguided approach in this country, Romm offers up a comprehensive 8 point-50 year plan that would dramatically curtail carbon emissions and perhaps help to avoid a cataclysm that would be caused by melting ice in Greenland and Antartica.  In addition, Romm makes several suggestions on how those who agree with his position should present their case to the American people.

In the tradition of Ross Gelbspan's 2004 Pulitzer prize winning "Boiling Point", "Hell and High Water" should convince you that global warming is indeed a reality and that the time to act is now.  This is a convincing and extremely well written book.  Until I began reading about the issue several years ago, I have to admit that I was a bit skepical.  No more!  When I wrote this review it was nearly 60 degrees on a January day in the Northeast.  We have experienced the horrors of Hurricane Katrina as well as increasingly large and serious wildfires in the West and prolonged drought in our nations breadbasket. I would urge everyone to educate themselves about these important issues.  "Hell and High Water" would be a great place to begin.     Highly recommended!

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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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 ...

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ISBN-10: 006117212X
Author: Joseph Romm
Genre: General, Natural Resources
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
Date Published: December 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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