Mark Lynas “Six Degrees”

ISBN 978-0-00-720904-0. “Six Degrees – Our Future on a Hotter Planet” by Mark Lynas. Published by Fourth Estate in 2007. There are few books that cross the desk, here at Post-Carbon Living, that truly stand out. Robert Kennedy’s “Crimes Against Nature” was one, Chris Goodall’s “How to Live a Low Carbon Life” and Richard Heinberg’s “The Party’s Over” are others. These books all have one thing in common – they pretty much make all other books on the topic redundant in being a truly defining work. We tend to be critical of many books for various failings but we were hard-pressed to find a single thing wrong with this little gem. Perfect. 10 out of 10. If you read ONE Book on Global Warming please make it this one. If you inherit a lot of money and decide to push one book through every letterbox in Britain makes it this one. If you ever get a chance to put a book on the National Curriculum please make it “Six Degrees”. Why? Because it simply removes the veil from our eyes and tells us exactly what Global Warming will mean for us Human Beings. It lays it out straight. There is no flinching from the grim reality of the challenge ahead. He pulls no punches. We get a frank appraisal of the link between Global Warming and Peak Oil – namely that when the clean Oil and Gas supplies dry up we’ll pump out countless billions of tonnes of CO2 by switching to coal, shale oil and other dirty substitutes with a low energy yield. Peak Oil makes things much, much, worse as it decreases our ability to cope with Global Warming. Mark steps through each degree of warming from 1 degrees up to 6. At each step he deals with how many species and habitats get destroyed. However, it ain’t just the fluffy bunnies. One of the habitats to get wiped out is the Human one. We will have to keep moving further and further north as the weather becomes more and more violent. The chances of us ever being able to feed these 6 billion people looks exceedingly remote. To make it clear there is a handy table on page 274 that tells you which circle of Dante’s Hell we pass into as we allow CO2 ppm to pass from 450 to 550 and beyond. Let’s be honest, much beyond 600 and we are all dead. Anything up to 400ppm can mean up to a 2 degree rise and that is enough to have a serious effect upon human populations. There is nowhere to hide. Scary as hell and there is no happy ending. We need to cut the crap now and do something. Even towards the end Mark is clear what the options are and how difficult it will be. Just like THIS Web Site he believes there is no ONE solution but there will be a rich mix of solutions. We just need the courage to take them, and take them ALL. Unbelievable. A must read.

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

Comments are closed.