Tim Flannery’s latest book, Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis, was published in October. (April 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Fury Over Fracking

A flare used to burn off excess natural gas produced by oil wells, McKenzie County, North Dakota, 2014; photograph by Andrew Moore from Dirt Meridian, his collection of images made along the hundredth meridian, from North Dakota to Texas. The book includes texts by Kent Haruf, Toby Jurovics, and Inara Verzemnieks and is published by Damiani. An exhibition is on view at Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, February 5–April 16.

Exxon: The Road Not Taken

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 Amazing Inner Lives of Animals

Elephant herds crossing a lake bed in the sun, Amboseli, Kenya, 2008; photograph by Nick Brandt

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

by Carl Safina

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins

by Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell
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?

How You Consist of Trillions of Tiny Machines

A colorized image, made with a scanning electron microscope, of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. According to a recent National Geographic feature on microbes, Staphylococcus aureus ‘lives harmlessly in the noses of about a third of us. But it can turn rogue, causing skin infections—or worse.’

Life’s Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable

by Paul G. Falkowski

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.

A Natural Wonder in Peril

A blue sea star resting on coral in the Great Barrier Reef, along the northeast coast of ­Australia. ‘Fully half of the Great Barrier Reef has already been killed,’ Tim ­Flannery writes. ‘Not all the damage has been inflicted by acid and heat, yet as the years go by these emerge as the overwhelming threats.’

The Reef: A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change

by Iain McCalman
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef stretches for around 1,430 miles along the continent’s northeast coast, encompassing an area roughly half the size of Texas. Those who have dived into its pristine reaches know firsthand that it is one of Earth’s natural wonders—a coral world of exceptional beauty and diversity. Yet as Iain McCalman’s “passionate history” of the reef makes clear, it is also a stage on which dreams, ambitions, and great human tragedies have been played out. He tells his story by chronicling lives that, either inadvertently or intentionally, have shaped our perception of the coralline labyrinth.

NYR DAILY

Lilliput Under the Sea

Pacific Giant Octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini, 0.6 inches long without arms, 2014

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.

Copenhagen, and After

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.

Copenhagen Crisis: Why the US Needs Cap and Trade

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.