Tim Flannery’s books include Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Creature and, most recently, Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis. He lives in Australia. (March 2017)
Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World
by Tim Low
Toward the end of his highly enjoyable book Where Song Began, Tim Low informs us that “it might be said that the world has one hemisphere weighted towards mammals and one towards birds.” The hemisphere weighted toward mammals is the northern one. And Low makes a convincing case that, in …
by Neela Banerjee, John H. Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer, and Lisa Song
The Green and the Black: The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight Over Fracking, and the Future of Energy
by Gary Sernovitz
What should we think of a corporation that undertakes research on one of its products only to discover that its use could be damaging—and then tries to conceal the potential dangers of that product’s use? An investigation underway by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman promises to shed light on one such alleged case—concerning ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, and the possibility that it misled investors and the public about the dangers of climate change.
The discovery of nonhuman societies composed of highly intelligent, social, empathetic individuals possessing sophisticated communication systems will force us to reformulate many questions. We have long asked whether we are alone in the universe. But clearly we are not alone on earth. The evolution of intelligence, of empathy and complex societies, is surely more likely than we have hitherto considered. And what is it, exactly, that sets our species apart?
A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries About the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth
by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink
Today, driven by ongoing technological innovations, the exploration of the “nanoverse,” as the realm of the minuscule is often termed, continues to gather pace. Paul Falkowski’s new book Life’s Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable focuses on one of the most astonishing discoveries of the twentieth century—that our cells are comprised of a series of highly sophisticated “little engines” or nanomachines that carry out life’s vital functions.
Susan Middleton’s Spineless reveals a world where hermit crabs resemble wizards carrying their own magic mountains on their backs, and where worms are transformed into exquisite, pearly necklaces. Marine invertebrates—from octopuses to hermit crabs and creatures like the bizarre holothurians—are the focus of this photography book.
On April 5, 2009, Denmark got a new Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. He was the third Danish Prime Minister in a row to bear that surname, replacing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who had been named the new Secretary-General of NATO. A capable local politician in his forties, Lars Rasmussen had, in contrast to his predecessor, almost no experience in international politics. His appointment received little media coverage outside Denmark. But just eight months later, with Denmark the host of the Copenhagen climate summit (officially the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP-15), Lars Rasmussen’s—and Denmark’s—lack of experience in international politics would have a global impact.
It is often argued that cap and trade legislation requires too many compromises with—and give-aways to—polluting corporations to pass the House and Senate, and that consequently it is ineffective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While environmentalists are failing to support cap and trade, those opposing action on climate change are fiercely attacking it. Yet such a system is essential when it comes to getting global action on climate change—not least at the increasingly imperilled climate summit in Copenhagen in December—for it delivers a transparent benchmark by which nations can judge each other’s commitment.