These 15 climate change books offer well-rounded perspectives on climate, sustainability, and the environment.
I intentionally chose books with a wide range of (respected) opinions, from doomsday scenarios to climate optimists. That is intentional; climate change is not a dogmatic religious cult, it is an abstract scientific discussion that is 1) based on models and projections and 2) is constantly evolving.
Let’s treat it as such and respect diverse opinions with good insights and expertise to bring to the table.
- “The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell
- “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells
- “Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know” by Joseph Romm
- “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth” by Mark Hertsgaard
- “The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World” by William D. Nordhaus
- “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” by Michael Shellenberger
- “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” by James Hansen
- Buy “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” here
- “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” by Bill McKibben
- “The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” by Michio Kaku
- Buy “The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” here
- “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters” by Steven E. Koonin
- “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” by Amitav Ghosh
- “We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast” by Jonathan Safran Foer
- “Hot talk, Cold Science” by Fred Singer
- “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption” by Dahr Jamail
- “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” by Paul Hawken
- “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal” by Naomi Klein
“The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell
After years of warnings, the worst has finally happened: the world’s ice caps are melting, and the resulting rise in sea level is catastrophic. Coastal cities are flooding, and the world’s freshwater supplies are dwindling. This is just the beginning.
In “The Water Will Come,” Jeff Goodell takes us on a globe-spanning journey to witness this new reality. From Miami to Bangladesh to London to Tuvalu, he introduces us to the scientists, journalists, and everyday people on the front lines of this disaster.
He takes us inside the minds of the climate deniers and the true believers, and he asks hard questions about our complicity in this crisis.
“The Water Will Come” is a shocking and necessary look at the new reality of our water world. It is an essential guide to the greatest crisis we have ever faced.
“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells
“The Uninhabitable Earth” is a book by David Wallace-Wells that details the many ways climate change will soon make the earth uninhabitable for humans. Wallace-Wells begins by describing the many dangers of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather events, and rising sea levels.
He then details how these dangers will impact human civilization, including the spread of disease, mass migrations, and economic collapse. Finally, Wallace-Wells offers some possible solutions to climate change but warns that time is running out to avoid catastrophe.
“Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know” by Joseph Romm
“Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know” is a book by Joseph Romm that seeks to explain the science behind climate change and its effects on the world. Romm starts by debunking some myths about climate change, such as the idea that it is a natural phenomenon or not happening at all. He then explains the greenhouse effect and how it is causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.
Romm also discusses the impacts of climate change, such as more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and the spread of disease. He ends the book with a call to action, urging readers to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
“Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth” by Mark Hertsgaard
Award-winning journalist Mark Hertsgaard presents a passionate and urgent call to action for averting the worst effects of climate change in the next fifty years. He argues that the time for denial is over and that it is now time to face the reality of the situation. He travels worldwide to speak to scientists, politicians, and ordinary people to find out what can be done to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
He concludes that it is possible to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, but only if we take immediate and drastic action.
“The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World” by William D. Nordhaus
“The Climate Casino” examines the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change and the economic implications of various policy options for dealing with it. William Nordhaus, an economist at Yale University, first reviews the science of climate change, including the evidence for global warming and the role of human activity in causing it.
He then assesses the economic costs and benefits of various mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Nordhaus concludes that a carbon tax is the most effective and efficient way to address climate change. This would provide a financial incentive for firms to reduce their emissions while also generating revenue that could offset the costs of climate-related damage and fund research and development of clean energy technologies.
He also argues that any climate change policy must consider the risk of catastrophic outcomes, which could have devastating economic and human costs.
“Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” by Michael Shellenberger
In his book, “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” award-winning environmentalist Michael Shellenberger makes the case that environmentalism has gone from a noble cause to a harmful and self-destructive one.
According to Shellenberger, the environmental movement has become increasingly dominated by a doomsday mindset that sees the world as headed for an imminent and irreversible catastrophe. This alarmism, he argues, is not only unfounded but actively harmful, leading to bad environmental policies that make life worse for the very people they are supposed to help.
Shellenberger traces the origins of environmental alarmism to the Cold War when the specter of nuclear annihilation led many to believe that humanity was on the brink of self-destruction. This mindset was then transferred to the environment, with popular books like “The Population Bomb” and “Silent Spring” warning of an impending ecological apocalypse.
However, as Shellenberger points out, the world is not falling apart.
Despite the dire predictions of the alarmists, life is getting better for most people on the planet, thanks to the spread of democracy, free markets, and technology. Far from being in danger of collapse, the world is on the verge of unprecedented prosperity.
“Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” by James Hansen
In “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity,” James Hansen argues that the Earth is on the brink of a climate catastrophe and that humanity must take drastic action to prevent it.
He presents the latest scientific evidence on climate change and its effects on the planet and makes a compelling case for why we must phase out fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources. Hansen also offers practical solutions for how we can make this transition and urges us to take action now before it’s too late.
Buy “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” here
“Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” by Bill McKibben
In “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet,” Bill McKibben argues that the Earth is now a different place than it was just a few decades ago and that we need to change how we live on it.
The climate has changed, the oceans are more acidic, and the population has exploded, meaning we can no longer take the Earth for granted. We need to learn to live on this new Eaarth, which means changing how we live.
For example, we need to stop using fossil fuels, which are causing the climate to change. We need to eat less meat, which requires huge amounts of resources to produce. And we need to start living more simply, in a way that doesn’t damage the planet. McKibben provides a detailed plan for how we can make these changes and argues that we need to do it quickly if we want to avoid a catastrophe.
“The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” by Michio Kaku
In “The Future of the Mind,” theoretical physicist Michio Kaku explores the incredible potential of the human mind. He discusses recent neuroscience breakthroughs that allow us to map the brain with unprecedented accuracy, and he describes the potential applications of this knowledge, from enhancing memory and intelligence to creating artificial intelligence and connecting human minds to the internet.
He also addresses the ethical implications of these advances and the challenges we will face as we strive to understand and control the most powerful tool in the universe: the human mind.
While not directly related to climate change, it is a helpful overview of the human mind and how it behaves in the face of unprecedented technological progress.
Buy “The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” here
“Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters” by Steven E. Koonin
In this climate change book, Dr. Steven E. Koonin, a theoretical physicist and former Undersecretary of Energy for Science under President Obama, provides a much-needed examination of the current state of climate science. Koonin looks at the data and the science behind the claims made by both sides of the climate debate and finds that much of what we think we know about climate change is based on incomplete or cherry-picked evidence.
He also shows how political agendas and financial interests have often shaped the scientific debate and the public’s perception of the issue. In the end, Koonin concludes that while human activity is almost certainly a contributing factor to climate change, science is far from settled on the specific details of how much we are affecting the climate and the consequences.
He calls for more open debate and more research funding to better understand the complex issues involved and make more informed decisions about our future.
“The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” by Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh’s “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” is a book about how climate change is the defining issue of our time and how we collectively fail to address it.
Ghosh argues that our inability to grapple with this issue stems from a collective failure of imagination and that we must learn to think differently about the world to have any hope of averting disaster. The book is a call to action, urging us to wake up to the reality of climate change and to start working together to find solutions.
“We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast” by Jonathan Safran Foer
In “We Are the Weather,” Jonathan Safran Foer makes the case that the climate crisis is not about carbon—it’s about us. The carbon we’ve already emitted has trapped enough heat to raise the planet’s temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and we are on track to raise it another degree by 2030. To avert catastrophe, we must emit less than half a trillion tons of carbon over the next thirty years. That’s a daunting task, but it is one that Foer argues is within our power to achieve.
Foer begins by telling the story of his relationship with the climate crisis. As a child, he was obsessed with the environment; as a young adult, he became preoccupied with other things and lost sight of the problem. It wasn’t until he became a father that he began to feel a sense of urgency about the issue again. He realized that he had been in a state of denial and that if he wanted his children to have a livable planet, he needed to do something about it.
Foer argues that the key to reducing our carbon emissions is not technological innovation but behavioral change. We need to change the way we eat, the way we travel, and the way we produce and consume energy. And we need to do it quickly. Foer offers concrete suggestions for how we can make these changes in our own lives, and he argues that if we all make even small changes, they will add up to a big difference.
“We Are the Weather” is a call to action for everyone who cares about the planet’s future. Foer makes a convincing case that we all have the power to make a difference, and he shows us how even the smallest changes can have a big impact.
“Hot talk, Cold Science” by Fred Singer
In “Hot Talk, Cold Science,” Fred Singer looks closely at the global warming debate. He examines the science behind the claims and the politics that have driven the debate. He finds that science is far from settled and that politics are driven by special interests and a need for power. He makes a compelling case that the debate is not about science but power and control.
It’s controversial, but if you like the diversity of opinion, it’s well worth the read.
“The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption” by Dahr Jamail
“The End of Ice” is a book about one man’s journey to bearing witness to and finding meaning in the path of climate disruption.
Dahr Jamail is a journalist who has covered many environmental issues, but the issue of climate change is one that he feels particularly passionate about. In this book, Jamail travels to some of the most remote and beautiful places on Earth that are affected by climate change.
He talks to the people who live there and see the effects of climate change firsthand. These people include Inuit hunters, Alaskan fishermen, and Himalayan mountain guides.
Jamail also talks to scientists studying the effects of climate change and trying to understand what is happening. Through his travels and conversations, Jamail understands the enormity of the climate change problem and how it affects people and the planet. He also sees people’s hope in the face of this problem.
“The End of Ice” is a powerful and moving book that will leave you with a new understanding of the issue of climate change and its effects on the world.
Buy “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption” here
“Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” by Paul Hawken
In “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming,” Paul Hawken has compiled a list of the one hundred most substantive solutions to climate change. The solutions are drawn from various sources, including government agencies, scientific organizations, and NGOs. Each solution is given a short description of its carbon reduction potential, the cost of implementation, and the amount of time required to see results.
The solutions are organized into ten categories, including food, transportation, energy, buildings, materials, and land use. “Drawdown” provides a road map for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the pace of climate change.
Buy “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” here
“On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal” by Naomi Klein
In Naomi Klein’s book “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal,” she makes the case that climate change is not only an environmental issue but also an economic and social justice issue. She argues that the current system is not working and must completely transform how we live to avert the climate crisis.
Klein lays out her vision for a Green New Deal, which would transition the world to renewable energy, create millions of green jobs, and invest in a just transition for workers and communities most impacted by the climate crisis.