We’ve heard lots about climate change – but what can we do about it? Wallace Broecker, the eminent scientist who coined the term global warming way back in 1975, believes in a techno-solution: ‘artificial trees’ to scrub CO2 directly from the air.
With Broeker as his guide, award-winning science writer Robert Kunzig looks back at Earth’s volatile climate history so as to shed light on the challenges ahead. Ice ages, planetary orbits, a giant ‘conveyor belt’ in the ocean … it’s a riveting story full of maverick thinkers, extraordinary discoveries and an urgent blueprint for action. Likening climate to a slumbering beast, ready to react to the smallest of prods, Broecker shows how assiduously we’ve been prodding it, by pumping 70 million tonnes of CO2 into the air each year. Fixing Climate explains why we need not just to reduce emissions but to start removing our carbon waste from our atmosphere. And in an intriguing final section of the book, we learn how this could become reality, using ‘artificial trees’ and underground storage.
Wallace S. Broecker is Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He developed the idea of a global ‘conveyor belt’ linking the circulation of the global ocean and made major contributions to the science of the carbon cycle and the use of chemical tracers and isotope dating in oceanography. He has received the Crafoord Prize (‘the Nobel of earth sciences’) and the Vetlesen Prize.
Robert Kunzig is environment editor at National Geographic and author of Mapping the Deep, winner of the Royal Society Aventis Science Book of the Year.