William H. Calvin, GLOBAL FEVER (University of Chicago Press, Spring 2008)

 "The climate doctors have been consulted; the lab reports have come back. Now it’s time to pull together the Big Picture and discuss treatment options."

Seattle's Lake Union view of Mt. Rainier

my climate talks
brief bio
The Bookshelf
2008-05-21 10:47

William H. Calvin
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 University of Washington



Global Fever
How to Treat Climate Change

William H. Calvin 

(The University of Chicago Press, 2008)  ISBN 0226092046    US$22.50 cloth


My Beijing lecture on our climate crisis, “The Great Use-it-or-lose-it Intelligence Test,” is now on the web. The occasion was the World Bank's CGIAR Crawford Memorial Lecture.

1. The climate talk in streaming video (RealMedia*) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, audience of 800 from 60+ countries.

2. Color slides in PDF (might wish to download before watching the video).

3. Written version in PDF; will appear as a World Bank pamphlet.

President's Lecture Series, Rice University (same topic as Beijing) in MP3 and streaming video.
   1. SLIDES for Houston in PDF

  1.      The Big Picture

  2.      We’re Not in Kansas Anymore 

  3.      Will This Overheated Frog Move?

  4.      “Pop!” Goes the Climate

  5.      Drought’s Slippery Slope

  6.      Why Deserts Expand   

  7.      From Creeps to Leaps   

  8.      What Makes a Cycle Vicious?

  9.      That Pale Blue Sky  

10.      Slip Locally, Crash Globally 

 11.     Come Hell and High Water    

12.      Methane is the Double Threat   

13.      Sudden Shifts in Climate    

14.      A Sea of CO2

15.      The Extended Forecast    

16.      Doing Things Differently    

17.      Cleaning Up Our Act The gray line is simply my cocktail-napkin sketch of what is needed to reverse the growth in emissions by 2020 and getting into net removal of CO2 by 2040.

18.      The Climate Optimist    

19.      Turning Around by 2020      

20.     Arming for a Great War  

 21.     Get It Right on the First Try     



Interviews and such:


Summary of Chapter 19: Turning Around by 2020


Read Widely

Five books set the stage effectively.

  • Jared Diamond, Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. Viking, 2005.

  • Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. Rodale Press, 2006.  Closely follows the world-famous film that won an Oscar.

  • Robert Henson, The Rough Guide to Climate Change: The Symptoms. The Science. The Solutions. 2006. It’s one of the best of the reader-friendly books that could also be used for a climate course.

  • Mark Lynas, Six Degrees. Fourth Estate HarperCollins, 2007. His chapter on the consequences of a one degree fever is sobering enough, but then he works his way through the consequences of higher ones; the book’s title refers to the sixth such chapter. A six degree fever is what’s forecast for a business-as-usual scenario. His book is very well done and a remarkable achievement for a nonscientist. It shows that with a first-class honours degree in history and politics, you can read and understand much of climate science.

  • Joseph J. Romm, Hell and High Water (William Morrow, 2007). An excellent book of climate science, science policy, and informed advocacy. The author is a physicist and oceanographer by training, formerly Acting Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy in the Clinton administration. His take on the climate science and the energy options is especially valuable because of that background. He also writes well (that his father was a journalist might have something to do with it).

  • Then consider reading these books:

  • Brian Fagan, The Long Summer: how climate changed civilization, Basic Books, 2004.

  • Tim Flannery, The weather makers. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005.

  • Ross Gelbspan, Boiling point. Basic Books, 2004.

  • Elizabeth Kolbert, Field notes from a catastrophe. Bloomsbury, 2006.

  • Eugene Linden, The Winds of Change. Simon & Schuster, 2006.

  • James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia. Penguin, 2006.

  • Mark Lynas, High Tide. Picador, 2004.

  • George Monbiot, Heat: how to stop the planet burning. Penguin/Allen Lane, UK, 2006.

  • Fred Pearce, The Last Generation: how nature will take her revenge for climate change. Eden Project Books, UK, 2006.

  • Phillip W. Schewe. The Grid. Joseph Henry Press , Washington DC, 2007.

  • A. Barrie Pittock, Climate change: turning up the heat. CSIRO, Australia, 2005.

  • On the web, try

  • RealClimate.org, done by real climate scientists,

  • Society for Environmental Journalism at www.sej.org/resource/index18.htm.

  • Professor Stephen Schneider’s climate website, stephenschneider.stanford.edu

  • American Institute of Physics, www.aip.org/history/climate/links.htm

  • Pew Center on Climate Change, www.PewClimate.org

  • Climate Institute at Climate.org,

  • ClimatePrediction.net,

  • Union of Concerned Scientists at ClimateChoices.org.

  • Rocky Mountain Institute at www.rmi.org.

  • World Resources Institute, at wri.org. Navigating Numbers is excellent.

  • BBC’s updated climate pages at www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics­/climatechange/

  • New York Times at topics.nytimes.com/top/news­/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html?8qa.

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science at http://www.aaas.org/climate/

  •  Copyright 2008 by William H. Calvin

    For the Amazon.com link, click on a cover.

    Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change

    Almost Us, 2005

    A Brief History of the Mind, 2004
    A Brief History of the Mind, 2004

    A Brain for All Seasons, 2002
    A Brain for All Seasons

    Lingua ex Machina:  Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the Human Brain (Calvin & Bickerton, 2000)
    Lingua ex Machina

    The Cerebral Code:  Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind (1996)
    The Cerebral Code

    How Brains Think:  Evolving Intelligence, Then and Now (1996)
    How Brains Think

    Conversations with Neil's Brain:  The Neural Nature of Thought and Language (Calvin & Ojemann, 1994)
    Conversations with
    Neil's Brain

    The River That Flows Uphill
    The River That
    Flows Uphill


    The Throwing Madonna:  Essays on the Brain
    The Throwing Madonna

    And more at WilliamCalvin.com

    Climate Videos