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Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  453 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
A fresh take on climate change by a renowned journalist driven to protect his daughter, your kids, and the next generation who’ll inherit the problem. For twenty years, Mark Hertsgaard has investigated global warming for outlets including theNew Yorker, NPR, Time, Vanity Fair, and The Nation. But the full truth did not hit home until he became a father and, soon thereafter ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 19th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published December 28th 2010)
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Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone that expects to live another few decades.
Recommended to Richard by:
Update, post hurricane Sandy, autumn 2012:

Mark Hertsgaard wrote an essay for The Nation : Hurricane Sandy as Greek Tragedy which provides yet more evidence of our world's slow-motion train wreck. The name of the hurricane provides the most poignant and realistic note:
Sandy is short for Cassandra, the Greek mythological figure who epitomizes tragedy. The gods gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy; depending on which version of the story one prefers, she could either see or smell the future. But
Andrea McDowell
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I skimmed the other reviews and it seems the main complaint with the book is that it is bleak and depressing and this is, apparently, the author's fault. I wish I could say I were shocked to see such blatant evidence that we as a culture now feel ourselves entitled not only to the pursuit of happiness in a really big house with a bunch of oversized televisions and closets full of crap we never use, but entitled also to books that will describe to us a catastrophe that could end human civilizatio ...more
Feb 17, 2011 rated it liked it
There's a LOT of meat here, a lot of very important information. It's presented in a fairly dense format and is not terribly well-written. From a journalistic standpoint, it's well-done, but it's too dense for a book, in my opinion.

This book also tips into the bathetic on more than one occasion as Hertsgaard talks about fatherhood and the fact that his own personal, perfect, adorable princess of a child will be dealing with climate change. And though he does admit that there are other children i
Mal Warwick
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Forced optimism in a survey of global warming and climate change

We are now at least a decade into what journalist Mark Hertsgaard terms the “second era of global warming,” which began sometime around the turn of the 20th century. As he writes, “The battle to prevent dangerous climate change was now over; the race to survive it has begun.”

Hertsgaard probably has as broad and deep an understanding of global warming and its consequences in the form of climate change of any nonscientist on the plane
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard is a thoughtful, pragmatic exploration of climate change impacts and what we can (and are) doing about them. Far from a dry, distant-seeming treatise, Hertsgaard's book has a real heart; he asks us to visualize along with him how his young daughter (and all of our children) will survive the myriad changes that are already locked-in and unstoppable. The challenge, Hertsgaard tells us, is to "avoid the unmanageable and manage the ...more
Frederick Gault
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author talks about mitigation along with stopping carbon fuels. Mitigation means that it's too late we better learn to deal with climate change - even if we woke up tomorrow with 100% sustainability the changes in motion will continue on our planet for thousands of years. There are glimmers of hope, it's not just another doom and gloom look at this ongoing crime, but times a wasting and nobody seems to be paying attention.
Dia Kristy
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on EarthMark Hertsgaard

I thought I was done worrying about imminent disasters of global proportion after y2k.


IN THE MEANTIME, environmentalists and other life-loving, future-looking, do-gooders need to stop argueing about mitigation and adaptation.

[mitigation = slowing, stopping, reversing climate change (soon to be climate chaos)

adaptation = adjusting/adapting to the changes]

We need them both! The more of the first we have, the less of the second w
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, kindle
Hard to give this book a not-so-good rating given the importance of the subject, but the writing is not very engaging. Hertsgaard uses the birth of his daughter as the impetus for the book: what will the world be like when his daughter is an adult as global climate change continues? The picture is not very pretty and governments are not doing enough to lessen the impacts ahead. Climate change is here. We need to both adapt to what it brings and mitigate the causes so as to reduce what we have to ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
My review if I had read this when it was published in 2011:

Ugh, things look so bad, but there's still hope it won't be AS BAD if The Western World finally gets serious about fighting climate change.

My review reading it in 2016 with President Trump 3 weeks away:

An excellent, thorough, and balanced piece of investigative journalism. The author traveled worldwide and talked with citizens, scientists, and government officials in several countries which an overwhelming majority of climate scientists say are facing increasingly serious problems related to climate change. He explains the problems of climate inertia (the fact that even if humanity stopped putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today, the amounts already added would keep driving more cli ...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hertsgaard wrote this for his young daughter; he writes that she will be the one, along with all other young people, to contend with the changes in weather that global warming is causing. I was in the middle of the book when Hurricane Sandy hit my area, the New Jersey shore, during which we lost power for a week but suffered no other damage. Not so for too many people here and in New York. We've had two hurricanes now in two years, and after living in New York City for years and here on the shor ...more
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read Global Weirdness first, then Hot. They make a good pair. Global Weirdness lays out the science in a dispassionate way; Hot makes it personal.

Hertsgaard can’t win—other reviewers have judged him both too depressing and too optimistic. I think the book is not depressing enough to spur people to action, and way too optimistic, given the success of the disinformation campaign waged by the old-energy interests, the polarity of the American political system and the gullibility of the electorat
May 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Well, this one took me a while.

It's not that "Hot" is a bad book. But it's not great either.

I should say that I almost immediately disliked the emotional framing Hertsgaard takes here. Maybe it's because I'm not a parent, but I found the passages where Hertsgaard writes about his daughter a bit trying, a bit cliche, too saccharine. As they essentially frame the work, those moments come up regularly, even if they don't dominate the book.

As a whole, Hertsgaard does do a nice job of explaining how
Adam Mahlum
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
A good but not great book about climate change. The book is really light on science and economics but excels at examining how climate change might affect different countries depending on where they are located. There is one excellent chapter in the book--about the Dutch and how they deal with a hostile climate. Unfortunately there are also a few weak chapters in the book. Rather than reading "Hot" I recommend reading "The Quest" by Daniel Yergin, which does a much more thorough job of explaining ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting quick read on global climate change and global warming. The conceit of the book is that of a letter to the author's newborn, who is several years old by the time the book is finished being written. The conceit got a little old, but never unbearable. This book has further convinced me that people in the United States have been fooled in the same manner as the issues around tobacco were minimized and in some cases by the same people. But in reality I think the climate change scientists ...more
Robyn Roze
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
There is nothing like a dose of reality to help one clarify and prioritize. Denial does not change facts--no matter how many times we repeat it to ourselves or to others. We MUST CHOOSE to be good ancestors.

The authors open letter to his daughter, to be read by her on her 15th birthday in 2020 (timed with certain climate change milestones), sums up nicely where all of our priorities should be--the future and ALL of our children, now...and to come:

(Excerpt from Mark Hertsgaard's letter)

"At this
Blaise Lucey
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was looking for a grim tale about the future of the world from climate change. Not tips on how to prevent it, because I don't think we're going to "prevent" or "mitigate," I think we're going to adapt. In short, I wanted a fact-fueled prophecy.

That's essentially what this book is - a dark, very dark, nightmare of the near-future interspersed with Hertsgaard's anxieties about his young daughter's future. He travels the world inspecting the damage wrought by the acidification of the ocean, the,
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Hot: Living Through The Next Fifty Years On Earth by Mark Hertsgaard is a book that I would recommend for anyone seriously wanting to learn more about the state we are in in regards to climate change. It is not a feel good book, and it is not all gloom and doom. I think it is imperative that we, for the sake of our kids and grandkids, get ourselves educated and start to heed the call to action. This book points out ways this action is already taking place and gives ideas for what can be done ...more
Fred Dameron
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many things that we need to do and, do today, are talked about. The problem is five years after publication we are still burning carbon at an alarming rate. 2 degrees C IS going to be blown past. The climate is running to hot too fast. I'm using less but most of America isn't getting the message. Our children WILL suffer. I hope that the resource wars that ARE coming won't destroy the human race. But the starvation and thirst that WILL come will kill billions, five to six at least, as we get dow ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it
hertsgaard focuses more on adaptation than mitigation, but i still wish he'd spent some more time on cap & trade/ cap & dividend and carbon taxes, as well as on how to tackle the ineptness of the un framework convention on climate change (cop conferences, kyoto treaty, etc.). he spends a whole chapter on the moral obligation of rich countries to compensate poor countries for the climate change effects which they have caused but stops short of calling for specific actions from specific of ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I heard a lot of really good things about this book. The biggest draw for me: reviews that called it serious and factual but optomistic. I heard interviews where the author himself claims to keep an optomistic tone throughout the book and the interviewer said that the book offers ways that the reader can DO SOMETHING rather than just a dooms-day approach.

Those rumors and reviews could not have been more wrong. This book was all dooms-day and no optomism. As someone who really really wants to hav
Daniel R.
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mos
A well researched and cleanly written survey of the current state of knowledge and action concerning global warming and climate change. The book explores the topic from many different perspectives including political, economic, personal, with a focus throughout on the growing scientific body of knowledge. A key concept throughout the book is the dual roles of adaptation (reducing our vulnerability to climate change) and mitigation (reducing our emissions). The book addresses the potential gloom ...more
Don O'goodreader
Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard reports on a wide range of successes in the battle against rising carbon dioxide and oceans. The Dutch have been fighting off the ocean for centuries and their cultural history, political structures, and engineering enable them to plan for the long-term and stick to the plan. Proactive leadership in Seattle has made broad changes to reduce emissions (make neighborhoods more walkable) and water use (reduce grassy areas). Hertsga ...more
Candace Rollins
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read, not just for environmentalists or activists, but for everyone who hopes there will be a livable and savable planet for generations to come. This book, as well as Freidman's "Hot, Flat and Crowded" are a call to arms about human survival. There are not sides on this issue, only survival, so it's imperative that all prepare and all participate in the mitigation and adaptation. The subject matter is heavy, so I definitely enjoyed the writing the writing, while the subject matter was di ...more
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Upsetting but necessary reporting on the implacable disaster we're facing unless something dramatic is done in the very near future about our use of fossil fuels and other sources of greenhouse gases. Hertsgaard uses speculation about the future his young daughter will face as a effective, and moving, pivot for his reporting on the current state of climate research. Most hopeful moment: the aggressive 200-year plan of the Dutch government (and people) to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Mos ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the future of civilization
Do you know the difference between Global Warming and Global Climate Change? The difference between Mitigation and Adaptation? Do you know what Peak Oil is? Do you know whether we are in the first or second era of Global Warming?

You will after reading this book, and it's very easy to read. It also explains the urgency of why we need to make changes now. And it's honest about how difficult it will be to motivate corporations to change how they increase their bottom lines, and people to change the
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it

Ask the Climate Question. The Climate Question asks what impacts climate change will have on my neighborhood, your community, this municipality. Once you have the information, adaptations can be
planned, funded, and implemented. This is happening in King County (Seattle area), New York City, San Diego, and the Netherlands.

If you are an elected official and you do not act on information vital for the survival of the community you serve, what are you doing in office?

Mitigation means controlling emi
Apr 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Hannah by: LSU Honors College
The tone of the book annoys me, and sometimes I feel like it's condescending. He talks a good bit about California but then leaves out other important places in the U.S. that will probably be affected more by climate change.

It's also really annoying how he talks so much about his daughter. I get it. He loves her. But I think if he really wanted to write a book for her, he should've just gotten one copy published for his daughter and be done with it.

The author does point out some great informati
Florence Millo
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: environment
This is the last book I am going to read on climate change. The proposals for large-scale mitigation are not going to happen. I do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint but I am under no illusions as to what good it does in the larger scheme of things. Adaptation is fine but is not going to happen for the millions of poor people living in coastal areas. The wealthy can move to avoid sea level rise. But where is food going to come from to feed the 8 billion people who will inhabit the hotter p ...more
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
I told my mom I was reading a book on climate change and she said "Well, that must be depressing." On Goodreads, folks have criticized the book for being both too depressing and too optimistic! Of course it is scary to think about what's coming, and yet I thought Hertsgaard did a great job focusing on what people can do to both mitigate (lessen) and adapt to the effects of climate change. The book might be overly optimistic but honestly, I see that as a useful way to mobilize people rather than ...more
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Described by Barbara Ehrenreich as "one of America's finest reporters," Mark Hertsgaard has written for the "New Yorker", "Vanity Fair", and "Time", and is author of four books, including "Earth Odyssey". He has traveled the world seeking answers to the question of how to keep humanity alive in the face of global warning. A Soros fellow, he recently attended the Copenhagen Conference, widely consi ...more

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