Preface - continued


There are lots of reasons to kick the fossil fuel habit: energy security; the moral cost of supporting undemocratic regimes that sit on the oil we use; the military cost, both in blood and cash, to keep the supply lines open; and getting a leg up on the competition in the next industrial revolution. Each of these is reason enough to kick the habit.

Talk to a climate scientist, though, and it fast becomes clear that one reason stands above all others: Severe climate change is coming, and it will not be pretty. It won’t just mean hotter summers, scarier storms and rising oceans — although that’s all true — but we’ll soon have trouble growing enough food to eat. The sense of restrained panic you hear in the voices of these learned men and women reveals more than the legion of scientific papers published on the subject.

The scientific community has known about this problem for decades. Even former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — not exactly a shill for the environmental movement — recognized climate change as the greatest emerging threat to civilization in a speech to the UN General Assembly back in 1989, saying “climate change ... could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way... It is life itself that we battle to preserve.” We are now in the final innings. This is our last stand, the river card.

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