While a band of hardcore denialists continues to question the existence of human-induced climate change, almost all scientists agree global warming is real, that it is driven primarily by human activity, and that it threatens the stability of the ecological systems that sustain life on Earth. Many climatologists concur that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide above the level of 350 parts per million (ppm) is the threshold at which disruptive and irreversable climate change becomes very likely. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) estimates that we have reached 390 ppm, the highest concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 10,000 years, far higher than the approximately 280 ppm the atmosphere contained before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. With so much carbon dioxide in the atmopshere, a rise in the planet's temperature and the ecological disruptions that will accompany it may already be locked in place.
As Christian Parenti warns in Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, a very grim future awaits humanity if the current carbon-based global energy economy is not radically changed, starting now.
This month at Brooklyn Book Talk, we will use Parenti's book as a starting point to discuss the climate crisis, how climate change threatens to make existing political, economic, and social conflicts even worse, and what our country and the world need to do in order to avoid potential catastrophe.
Brooklyn Public Library currently has one copy of the book in circulation, so if you'd like to read it you will have to place the title on hold through our catalog.
Christian Parenti has written widely on this topic, so while you are waiting for your copy of the book, check out some of his other publications and appearances on the Internet. He recently appeared on Democracy Now! to promote the book and talk about climate change:
He's also been on the excellent Against the Grain radio program on Berkely's KPFA 94.1, in addition to the also excellent Behind the News program on WBAI 99.5 in New York.