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Climate Wars

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  524 ratings  ·  57 reviews
From one of the world’s great geopolitical analysts, a terrifying glimpse of the none-too-distant future, when climate change will force the world’s powers into a desperate struggle for advantage and even survival.

Dwindling resources. Massive population shifts. Natural disasters. Spreading epidemics. Drought. Rising sea levels. Plummeting agricultural yields. Crashing econ
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Random House Canada (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[4.5] Fancy some bigger concerns as a distraction from the horrid new homepage?

I won’t be the only person whose Goodreads shelves aren’t an accurate reflection of all their interests and opinions, but it still seems weird that I only have ten “environment” books – it’s just a subject that since I was a kid in the 80s, I’ve mostly read about in newspapers and journals, as books go out of date so quickly. My knowledge has become bitty over the years: a lot of recent models seemed to be showing mor
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite liked this book because of the way in which it is constructed. The text alternates between scenarios of the future followed by a chapter on the context of the scenario. Then back to a scenario, back to analysis, and so on. This is a method that few futurists use. I regret this.

The topic of the book is the backdrop to an ever warming planet, the consequences of that warming, and the geo-political fallout arising from a warming planet. It doesn't make easy reading. Originally published in
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Gwynne Dyer is a syndicated columnist who write on international affairs. His inquiry in this book is what are the likely scenarios should current predictions about climate change happen. Many people talk about climate change and what that will mean for the planet, but few have a clear-eyed view of what the implications of that are for individual countries, international relation, immigration, and the internal politics of the various states now on the globe. He looks to military planners and oth ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Consider this a study guide to learn about climate change. It provides some fairly outlandish scenarios (and historically defendable in premise) to guide the discussion and explain the history and research of the difficult topic. It should be read in light of other sources, however, to insure the dramatic license taken by the author does not deter the reader from internalizing its main points. It leaves recommendations of policy to us to determine for the future, but it effectively argues the ne ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The title "Climate Wars" hints at Dyer's contention that global warming will not be a benign phenomenon where things will continue as before. Rather like the human body, where a fever of only three and a half degrees Celcius is potentially fatal, an increase of only a few degrees can potentially cause massive changes in the earth's climate. The earth's biosphere appears to be more fine-tuned and fragile than we thought, and we have unknowingly pushed it far toward making the earth a far less hab ...more
Eight possible future scenarios, all based on solid scientific research, form the basis of this well written book by Gwynne Dyer, a respected journalist and military historian. Climate Wars imagines the future geopolitical consequences of climate change, and speculates how this will impact on societies around the world. War, famine, and mass population movements are all probable outcomes of a 2 degree plus rise in global temperatures. One very interesting point made early on is that the Bush adm ...more
Peter Levi
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish Dyer had used a less lurid title, but this is a fascinating book that looks at the military and political possibilities and outcomes of climate change. Dyer interviewed top generals and military experts from around the world (all of whom accept the reality of global warming) to see what the fallout might be.
Gonzalo Rodriguez Garcia
t is a shame I did not read the book when it was published, maybe it was the flashy cover that turned me away from it.
Without being a real expert on the field, it seems to me it reflects well the knowledge and policy on the subject at the end of the previous decade, interspersed with future conflict scenarios motivated (partially) by climate change. In ten years, the political situation has changed and so does the science (I think we can be a bit more optimistic on CCS) but for the untrained ey
It seems to me a cruel joke of destiny that the biggest take away that I got from reading this book, ten years after its publication, is the slower timeframe of global-warming-induced natural disasters as compared to Dyer’s predictions. Dyer, writing originally in 2008 and then in 2010 for the updated edition, acknowledges quite readily that these disasters will be the only thing to bring the world together to deal with global warming. However, while his scenarios show millions of deaths worldwi ...more
Keegan Webster
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. The focus on how global politics will change and tensions will be aggravated as the 21st century drags on is an interesting application of the predictions on climate change. Especially looking at the last five years, as the hegemony of the imperial core appears to be challenged, with NATO and NAFTA being strained, it appears very prescient. Depressing bit about the first half of the book was the focus on hard cuts on emissions immediately, which, 12 years later, obviously never ended ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Dyer balances the realism of a hard-boiled national security reporter with the idealism of a person with heart who wants to reduce human suffering and help ensure a livable future.

"Climate Wars" sounds scary -- and it is. But this is a book where you can come for the doom but stay for the hope. Yes, things could get very bad indeed if the nations of the world don't get serious about global heating, with droughts, crop failures, famine, refugees and wars, starting with the most v
John Coviello
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More About Climate Science & Future Than Climate Wars

Climate Wars dedicates a considerable amount of time in the beginning to various future war scenarios that could happen as resources become scarce as the Earth warms. But, it eventually drops that angle altogether and focuses on past, present, and future climate science, as well as possible future outcomes. This was all very well written and I learned a lot, but it was no longer about climate wars.

Published in 2010, it could use an update by t
Paul Sedlock
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read Climate wars & then Six Degrees, which also warned of climate change. While both present the extreme of what may happen without preventative action even a warming of 2-4 degrees will significantly alter our daily weather.

We are obviously too many who consume too much. As developing countries ape our lifestyles the sustainability of human life on earth become tenuous at best. Both books are a chilling look into a not too distant future.

I gave four stars, as there is no four and a half.
Mark O'Connor
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Climate Future Alternatives

This is a great book about what our children will soon be facing as the planet warms. It gives some future alternatives that go to extremes just to show what is theoretically possible. What scared me the most was the most likely modest scenarios are catastrophic. This book shows that our time is up in 2019 - the tipping point has likely been passed. It is likely we are going to have even scarier wildfires, storms, and major urban disasters. Time to sell your house in M
It's a touch out-dated and very alarmist, but the detailed extrapolation from available data and documents in 2008 paints such a rich picture that it's hard to remain unmoved by its calls to action. Dwyer's work demonstrates that fiction is a powerful but under appreciated mechanism for the mobilization of complex knowledge.
Stephanie Matthews
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely blooming terrifying, blood curdling and bone chilling. If this doesn't scare the bejaysus out of you, you must already be dead. And it's not even fiction! Brilliant book, one of the best I've read so far this year.
Logan Streondj
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It predicted Brexit and the Trump Wall, maybe some of it's other predictions will also come to pass. Very vivid it gave a lot of show what the effects of climate will be much better than dry statistics of some other books. I think many authors can learn from it.
Anna Swenson
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gripping. But I'm still processing all of it. It's sort of a trip to read this in 2018, 10 years after original publication, but still definitely relevant.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting scenarios projected by the author. Especially the one about water crisis between India and Pakistan. Quite interesting to read what the future may hold for species.
Matthew Gallant
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book actually has very little about war, but is instead a very levelheaded (if a bit dated) view of the geopolitical and engineering challenges around climate change.
Andy Gibb
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...with the emphasis on survival. “Global society will live or die as a high-energy enterprise” in the closing hopeful (i.e. hope in the sense of someone else will sort it out) chapter drives home where Gwynne Dyer is coming from. Business as usual, with technology (or innovation) patching up the damage, will somehow deliver the same energy punch as cheap oil.

It's doubtful that any of coal, hydro, wind, sun, biofuel, geothermal (fill in the latest fad here) will suffice. Even the combination of
Paul Hartzog
Innovative in that it has pseudo-fictional scenarios, and then discusses the elements in subsequent non-fiction chapters. I think the title is a little reactionary, probably provided by the publisher, and slightly off-topic as the book is about resources but not about "wars" per se. At least, I didn't receive that impression. Good enough that I'll probably buy this and add to the others.
Mike Smith
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a sobering look at the geopolitical implications of global warming. Dyer takes as given that global warming is happening. If you don't accept that premise, you may find the book a waste of time. His main concern is that, on top of the physical changes (such as rising sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns leading to crop failiures, etc.), the political ramifications (such as massive migrations of refugees, breakdowns in global cooperation, and maybe even wars) could prevent us from wor ...more
Graham Mulligan
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Climate Wars
Gwynne Dyer, Random House, 2008

Reviewed by Graham Mulligan

Gwynne Dyer’s projections of geopolitical scenarios set in the near future under the effects of disastrous climate change are scary reading. Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere plus an average increase in global warming above 2 degrees Celsius will combine with numerous negative consequences for human society.

Current CO2 level is 380 ppm (parts per million) – Kyoto (1988) (1997)
EU (European Union) ‘never exceed’ limi
Marius Marsh
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gwynne Dyer is a well known expert on war and the forces that lead to war. In this book he presents potential scenarios that could result from the climate changes that are occurring, as per the International Panel on Climate Change predictions. I say are occurring, as it is now absolutely obvious that climate change is occurring, and that it is also now abundantly clear that man made emissions are playing a very significant role in that change. Although MR. Dyer's scenarios may seem unrealistic ...more
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It is scaring me more than anything that Stephen King ever wrote, but for entirely different reasons; Mr Dyer tells what is happening, how, and why, and goes on to explain that even though we have all the means necessary to correct the problem available to us now, nothing will be done in time to prevent disaster beyond imagination, simply because of political will and the human species' natural tendency to defer corrective action unless immediate results can be gained.
I am of the opinion that
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok for those who haven't read much about climate change, but a bit repetitive if you have. Also, I almost feel like the speculative scenarios about the sociopolitical reactions to the changing environment don't belong in non-fiction. Beyond 10 or 20 years out (and sometimes not even then) such speculation is fairly useless. Case in point: even 5 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, most Serious People pooh-poohed the idea of the Soviet Union breaking up. I would have been much happier with ...more
Alastaire Henderson
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gwynn Dyer is clear-eyed and unafraid to articulate what many are too fearful to face: that climate change will utterly transform our world in frequently violent,destructive ways. At the same time, he recognizes that there are so many variables - including a closing window in which to act to forestall the worst - that his scenarios are only that. The most disturbing of his predictions is that effective mitigative action is so politically difficult that we are going to need to undertake geo-engin ...more
Terry Moore
Surprisingly incisive analysis of our climate crisis and the urgent need to decarbonize the global economy. Highlights the fact that the US military is miles ahead of US politicians in understanding the dangers in not addressing GHG induced global warming and the environmental crises that will be unleashed as the climate gets more extreme. Reviews a number of scenarios for how climate wars will play out in the absence of real decarbonization action. This book will chill you to the bones,i f your ...more
Philippa Dowding
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by my brother, as the one book that anyone should read if they are interested in the issue of climate change. Drawing on 25 years of award-winning journalism and study, Gwynne Dyer tells us how the world is changing now, and then hypothesizes the changes in store for everyone in the next 10, 20, 30, 40+ years. The book is a riveting, terrifying, and probably all-too-accurate glimpse into the crystal ball of our environmental future. According to Dyer, there's stil ...more
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Gwynne Dyer, OC is a London-based independent Canadian journalist, syndicated columnist and military historian.

Dyer was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (then the Dominion of Newfoundland) and joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve at the age of sixteen. While still in the naval reserve, he obtained a BA in history from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1963; an MA in military h

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“climate-change scenarios are already playing a large and increasing role in the military planning process.” 0 likes
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