The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg is a comprehensive book about our interlinked climate and environmental crises. It follows on from Greta’s previous books including No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, and the co-authored Our House Is On Fire, both of which are fantastic reads.
What is The Climate Book?
The Climate Book is different from Greta’s previous books in that she acted as a curator as well as an author, gathering a massive group of experts in various areas. As such the book is a one-stop book containing extensive material on just about every area of the ecological crises you can think of. It’s full of facts, figures and charts giving a current overview of where the world is currently at. It shows the trajectory we’re on which is leading us towards climate catastrophe, but also provides solutions for how we change tack.
While having so many expert contributors makes this a fascinating and key resource in the climate cannon, it can at times feel a bit overwhelming, not just in terms of what humanity is doing, but also with the sheer weight of facts leaping off the page. There is sometimes a bit of repetition between the contributors, but that’s to be expected given the fact that 100 people wrote sub-chapters for the book.
What makes this book unique is that it consolidates a mountain of information into one place. To put it simply, if someone asked you what book they should read about the climate crisis to give them the best picture of what’s happening, The Climate Book would likely be that book.
Contributors to The Climate Book
Around 100 experts contributed to The Climate Book, which is an incredible achievement. All of these experts wrote about their areas of expertise and included scientists, authors, activists and economists.
Some of the climate scientists include Johan Rockström, Katharine Hayhoe, Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf. Prominent authors and writers include Amitav Ghosh, Bill McKibben, David Wallace-Wells, Elizabeth Kolbert, Erica Chenoweth, George Monbiot, Jason Hickel, Kate Raworth, Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Naomi Oreskes, Robin Wall Kimmerer and Thomas Piketty.
There are so many notable names, that it’s hard not to list all 100 people. However, it’s also worth pointing out that the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was a contributor, alongside Lord Nicholas Stern, who led the Stern Review on the economics of the climate crisis.
Chapters in The Climate Book
The contents list in The Climate Book is split into five main chapters as follows:
- How climate works
- How our planet is changing
- How it affects us
- What we’ve done about it
- What we must do now
Each of these chapters have numerous sub-chapters that cover areas including tipping points, the warming of the Arctic, extreme weather, the impact on the oceans, microplastics, fresh water, wildfires, deforestation and our impact on the rainforests, the insect crisis, melting permafrost, air pollution, diseases, climate refugees, conflicts, geoengineering, drawdown technologies, food systems and reducing meat consumption, transport, consumerism, waste, degrowth, rewilding, social tipping points and activism, and so much more.
The Climate Book cover is inspired by ‘The Warming Stripes’, which visually shows how temperatures have risen over time, as the cool blues give way to the increasingly dark reds.
Solutions to the climate crisis
The Climate Book explores a large number of solutions towards the end. A selection of which include:
- Tree planting
- Restoring nature where human activities have prevented it from healing itself
- Criminalising ecocide
- Stop subsidising fossil fuels and divest from them
- Legislating to make polluters financially responsible for the damage they’ve caused
- Treating the climate crisis like the crisis it is
- Encouraging the use of public transport by making it free
- Investing in solar and wind power
- Moving to a meat-free diet
- Avoiding flying
- Turning to activism
Key quote from The Climate Book
Even though much of the information in this book wasn’t new to me, I found myself making 180 notes while reading it. That is far too many to list, so instead I’ll just include one which gives an idea of the predicament we’re in:
- “Every year, an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste are dumped into our oceans. Every day, we use around 100 million barrels of oil. Every minute, we subsidize the production and burning of coal, oil and gas by $11 million. Every second, an area the size of a football field of forest is cut down.”
Buy The Climate Book
The Climate Book is available to purchase here.
My new cli-fi children’s picture book is Nanook and the Melting Arctic. Nanook is a caring polar bear who lives in the Arctic. But when his igloo starts melting, Nanook must find a way to save his friends and his home. He knows that the people who can help are also those who’ve caused the problem and he must find a way to convince leaders to act on the climate crisis. You can purchase Nanook from Amazon’s global stores including Amazon UK and Amazon US.