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Six Degrees

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  623 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Possibly the most graphic treatment of global warming that has yet been published, Six Degrees is what readers of Al Gore's best-selling An Inconvenient Truth or Ross Gelbspan's Boiling Point will turn to next. Written by the acclaimed author of High Tide, this highly relevant and compelling book uses accessible journalistic prose to distill what environmental scientists p ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published by Fourth Estate (GB) (first published January 1st 2007)
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Silent Spring by Rachel CarsonA Sand County Almanac with Other Essays on Conservation from ... by Aldo LeopoldThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanThe Lorax by Dr. SeussDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Best Environmental Books
53rd out of 502 books — 581 voters
The World Without Us by Alan WeismanCollapse by Jared DiamondThe Hot Zone by Richard   PrestonAn Inconvenient Truth by Al GoreWith Speed and Violence by Fred Pearce
Apocalyptic Non-Fiction
7th out of 21 books — 22 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,630)
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Jessica
Sep 11, 2009 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every member of an industrialized nation, especially politicians and the captains of industry
Recommended to Jessica by: caitlin
Reading this book was like meeting someone, falling madly in love, and finding out she's got a terminal illness, all in the space of twenty minutes. It's been a decade since I've thought about Science, and not being much of a nature girl I forgot how mindblowingly amazing and complex the Earth is. The best parts of this book really reminded me of that.

Did I say terminal illness? That's a bad metaphor, since disease seems sort of just to passively happen; also, we tend to think of illness as some
...more
Paul
The subject of this book is the fast approaching Global Fry-Up. Oh, I hear you cry, spare me another jeremiad about this boring topic! Yes – I’m with you. It is horribly tiresome. Okay, every time you turn on the news you get death, financial crisis, war, ghastliness. The news is always bad except for the last little bit of amusing oddness they throw in to stop you hanging yourself from your wardrobe door. Let's add to that the general feeling that many people have as they get older that everyth ...more
Joe
Read this on my step-father's request. I think he might have been trying to get me to shit my pants.

This is, roughly, one part robust scientific journalism and one part ecological-apocalypse-torture-porn. Working from several decades worth of scientific inquiry into both our current climate situation and periods of vast geologic/climactic upheaval, Lynas gives us a best guess global picture of what happens as the temperature rises, degree by degree, from one (sucky) to six (extinction of most pl
...more
Lara Messersmith-Glavin
This text should be required reading for participation in the planetary exchange of resources; i.e. breathing, drinking, eating, excreting.

What Lynas has provided here is a comprehensive summary of international research on climate change and carbon emissions from a variety of perspectives and methodologies. The result is a harrowing projection of the kinds of shifts in ecosystems around the world - water tables, weather patterns, food production, biodiversity, ocean acidity - that are likely t
...more
Gordon

This is an superb book for anyone interested in global warming, which should include all who inhabit this planet. It paints a picture of what happens to the Earth at each step as it warms up by one additional degree Celsius, all the way up to six degrees above today's temperature. Needless to say, things get very ugly by the time we get to three degrees, let alone six. The latter translates to another mass extinction. Which, come to think of it, we're already going through.

This is not the cheeri
...more
Margie
Oct 27, 2013 Margie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margie by: David Archer via Coursera
While finishing this up I started reading Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. It made me appreciate the extent to which Mark Lynas does not take a particular side or cause in his exploration of global warming.

Lynas poured over journal articles and research papers, and then decided to organize the information according to degrees of warming. So there's a chapter dedicated to causes and effects of the warming of one degree Celsius, and then a chapter a
...more
John Gordon
Six degrees: Our future on a Hotter Planet is a challenging and confronting read. The author [Mark Lynas] has researched current scientific peer reviewed literature and presented it in a popular science format looking at the future of our planet at various temperature levels above pre-industrial. The style is quite readable, tending to move from one case study to another, the reason I say it is challenging is because of what it contains. Climate scientists have been telling governments about cli ...more
Rhys Thomas
I've read many climate change books and this is up there with the best. I initially distrusted the book because it was written by a journalist and not a scientist but it soon becomes clear that this is far more a science book than a ranting journo. The author skilfully draws together his research into a terrifying format of a world affected by first one, then two, then three degrees warming. By the time you get to what would happen at six degrees of warming you are pretty much desensitised to th ...more
Ascexis
I read Six Degrees won the Royal Society popular science book of the year thingy in 2008 -- you know, solid science, but actually readable! Let me tell you, I'm only up to four degrees, and I'm *freaked*. I was having a conversation the other day about how global warming isn't about long hot summers, but a couple of degeres increase on average, across a whole year. Which is true, as it turns out but didn't go Nearly Far Enough. This guy is going through what happens at each of one through six de ...more
Steve
This is the scariest book I've read in a long, long time.

It lays out in detail what each degree of global warming will entail (the current expected range of warming is somewhere between 1.5 and now possibly up to 8 degrees Celsius), and how that will affect life on Earth. We are already locked into experiencing the first chapter, which is the likely return of the American Great Plains to desert. Each successive chapter just gets worse, and describes positive feedback systems which will make thin
...more
Annie
Disturbing. But what else can you expect from a book on the real life consequences of global warming? This one truly is a bit of a horror story, however well-researched or written, it takes a bit of determination to read through as the scenarios are fairly glum, particulary the likely extinction of so many species. Hard to absorb all of that.
One point the author makes is that we simply don't know what to expect from all of this melting and heating up, things could rock and roll right away, a lo
...more
Whitaker
This is the first non-fiction book I've read in one go. It's edge-of-the-seat gripping. I'm not going to do a review because I don't think I have the time and energy to defend this against the anti-climate-change crowd. To them, all I say is that I hope you fall on the right side of the demographic line: above 40 and no kids. For a proper review, check out The Guardian (plus a summary by the author).
Nicole
This was an extremely interesting and relatively quick read. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world-wide authority on what is in store for the future of our planet in terms of global warming. Based on the best available scientific data from world-renouned scientists, the 2007 edition predicts a maximum of 5.8 degree Celcius increase by 2100 with an average prediction of 3 degrees.

Lynas dedicates a chapter of his book to each of these degrees, describing the consequenc
...more
Little Miss Esoteric
Terrifying.

Get out your wet weather gear, your fire-fighting pumps and your sunscreen. Times are changing. Also, methane plumes have just been found in the Arctic, each of them kilometers wide. Tipping points are kicking in. Damn all those stupid politicians and mining magnates like Gina Bloody Reinhart for being recalcitrant tossers, who really don't give a damn, unless they can get votes or make a quick buck.

5 stars.
John
Jul 07, 2014 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I read this as an extra materials source in a MOOC I took. The author does a good job of explaining possible outcomes of a hotter planet due to anthropogenic climate change. However, he speaks mainly to believers and to those who are not in that camp, his prose will come across as yelling at them. Part way through reading it, I discovered that this a 2008 edition--ages old in this rapidly changing subject. Look for a more recent edition or go towards a different, more recent title.
Bottom line: i
...more
Tripp
Back in the high school days, a teacher probably showed you a movie with car crash victims or some horrifying images of lesion studded genitalia to warn you of the dangers of bad driving and over-frequent sexual behavior. Like those teachers, Mark Lynas with his book Six Degrees is trying to scare you and your government into shaping up.

The book describes what would happen to the Earth as the average surface temperature increases, degree by degree (Celsisus.) Each degree presents a new list of h
...more
Mark
Full of evidence and very readable. This book is the best explanation I've found about what climate change means. The author lets the evidence and projections speak for themselves, and they are alarming.

Everyone should read this book. Why is this information not being yelled from the housetops and part of every politician's speech?

The scientists so far have done a poor job of explaining to the rest of us what climate change means. Al Gore's film The Inconvenient Truth also fell short. This aut
...more
Andy Gibb
Where was I at the end of August 2005? I hadn't realised that Katrina killed so many. Just the Introduction Chapter provided that snippet although the jury is still out on whether global warming was to blame. Either way the subtitled Our Future on a Hotter Planet tells us more of the same is coming and if we deal with it as badly as the US did in New Orleans, Gawd help us all.

Organised degree by degree, this book uses research from climate modelling and, more telling, what's happened in the past
...more
Tiredstars

This book is an attempt to synthesise in a popular science format a load of academic studies and literatures about what will happen to the world if the temperature rises, degree by degree. The range, 1-6 degrees is in line with the IPCC's range of prediction.

The format is a bit problematic, to my mind, though I'm not sure how it could be done better. It's organised as a series of short essays on particular case studies - for example, wildlife in Australian rainforests, the Colorado river basin,

...more
James
This is one of the most frightening books I have ever read. The author started by looking at all the available data and projections about global warming, a.k.a. climate change. He found that depending on a number of variables, the consensus of the relevant experts, based on both current and geological data, is that the average temperature of Earth's surface will rise by anywhere from one to six degrees Centigrade by the latter half of the 21st century, hence the title. Of course, six degrees Cen ...more
Terry
Jul 12, 2013 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone with a functioning brain.
Shelves: non-fiction
After being inundated by television and web site hyperbole regarding the impending demise of our poor planet I've become inured to global catastrophe scenarios. The Boy has cried wolf far too often and I've become jaded with false alarms (December 2012,Y2K,giant asteroids,super volcanos,escaped bio-weapons or nanocytes etc). Hushed narrators offering dire predictions with cgi-enhanced graphic details and legions of "experts" clog the so called science oriented cable channels. What if scenarios a ...more
Bberglu3
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kirsten
I have a strong background in environmental science, but a good friend of mine does not. We both read this book, and neither one of us got bored. They liked the fact that it was fast paced, and I liked the fact that he explained things reasonably well to the point that I didn't have to explain everything he talked about to him.
I like that this book moves pretty quickly, though I would have liked to see more detail on some topics, I understand that this book was not written for me. It was writte
...more
Alex Rogers
A truly terrifying vision of what happens to the world as it warms up. And knowing we are locked in to probably 2 degrees at the moment, with no sign of the world getting serious about stopping climate change, makes for even more scary reading. One of the handful of books that has changed my attitude to life - if you read this, its very hard to turn away and say "there is nothing I can do" - we have no choice but to try harder.
Steve
Probably the scariest book I have ever read. The book is organised into six chapters each describing, given current knowledge and historical evidence, how the world would be affected with an additional degree of warming. If you are not familiar with the projections or the issues around rising temperatures, then this book is a bit of an eye-opener and you are in for a shock. The style is very accessible (compared to the ‘international reports’ and scientific papers it is based on!) and while the ...more
Kendal
I'm not really a big person on doom and gloom in respect to global warming, but it looked like an interesting book. I always seem to expect these subject matter books to target blame on me as a person and say it is all my fault... yada yada. This book did a great job of just looking at the past facts and the various studies and hitting a comparison. Of course humans are involved, but the author blames the whole race, not the individual.

For the most part the book was very well written in layman t
...more
Billie Mulcahy
This is information from a number of major climate studies arranged by degrees of global warming; that is, the "two" chapter takes the data from many studies and describes the conclusions drawn about the how the planet and its inhabitants would change with two degrees of global warming. Because of this technique, the data are sometimes contradictory, but give a good picture of the range of conclusions. Like any serious work on climate change, this is a frightening book, particularly when you rea ...more
Debby Allen
So normally three stars, but the extra is for trying to make a difficult subject approachable and at least partway succeeding. Each chapter is what the world will be like with one more degree of global warming. Written in 2007, we have until 2015 to change our ways and maybe limit the change to one or two degrees. Ha.

The science is explained, the consequences described, and he tries to be thorough and no more alarmist than the changes themselves. I think he felt he needed to give a little hope a
...more
Jbsfaculty
This is not an enthralling read but rather an important read. Rarely do I learn two or three new things about environmental issues when reading a book, but this lay person synopsis of scientific studies of what has happened to the earth at 1 through 6 degrees of warming explained many new things.
Glen Retief
Interesting and informative projections. A bit apocalyptic in tone, and stylistically plain, but then that's what a popular science book on this topic is likely to offer!
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