James Dunk reviews 'The Environment: A History of the Idea' by Paul Warde, Libby Robin, and Sverker Sörlin

James Dunk reviews 'The Environment: A History of the Idea' by Paul Warde, Libby Robin, and Sverker Sörlin

The Environment: A History of the Idea

by Paul Warde, Libby Robin, and Sverker Sörlin

Johns Hopkins University Press (Footprint), $59.99 hb, 253 pp, 9781421426792

On 6 October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning of the dangers of surpassing a 1.5° Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels in average global temperatures. They are many, and dire. To halt at 1.5°, carbon emissions need to fall by forty per cent globally by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. There had been other reports, but this one, according to seasoned Washington Post climate reporter Eugene Robinson, struck ‘a different tone’, blending ‘weary fatalism’ and ‘hair-on-fire alarm’ as it pointed to failing fisheries and crops, thriving diseases and disasters, and rampant displacement and political instability.

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James Dunk

James Dunk

James Dunk is a historian and writer living in Sydney. His doctoral thesis was a study of madness in colonial Australia.