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Book Review: “Climate Change: Turning Up the Heat” by Barrie Pittock Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 4th, 2019

The book under consideration is entitled Climate change: turning up the heat and dwells upon the major issues related to climate change and its impact on the human society. Pittock (2005) provides in-depth analysis of the issues supporting his claims with extensive data.

It is necessary to note that the book is aimed at a wide audience as it is written in simple terms. Importantly, the researcher explains serious and complicated concepts in plain English which makes it a good resource for students as well as researchers.

Pittock’s (2005) major claim is concerned with the necessity to acknowledge the impact of climate change on the human society. The researcher also advocates risk management and stresses that leaders of all countries (as well as scientists, educators and all the citizens) should combine their efforts to contribute to the development of proper strategies to diminish negative effects of the issue.

The researcher starts his book with explaining why the issue deserves people’s attention. Pittock (2005) provides various examples of the impact of climate change. The researcher also stresses that people should learn from the past.

The author continues claiming that people should also try to calculate the risks which are inevitable in the future. Pittock (2005) states that it is rather difficult to take into account all possible scenarios, but people should understand that the situation is worsening.

Importantly, the researcher also considers such approaches as adaptation and mitigation. Pittock (2005) agrees that people can easily adapt to the change. However, they are unlikely to effectively adapt to the rapid change, which will lead to huge losses. The researcher stresses that people should try to minimize the negative effects of climate change in order to enable humanity to adapt to the changing environment in a more effective way.

Pittock (2005) pays specific attention to the efforts which are being made in different countries. The researcher stresses that people tend to focus on national needs rather than on the global issues concerning environment. The author also point out some negative effects such policies can have.

Finally, the researcher concludes that people have to accept the challenge and concentrate on development of proper strategies to diminish the negative effects of climate change.

It is necessary to state that Pittock (2005) brings to the fore a number of valuable points to consider when analyzing such burning issue as climate change. It is important to take a closer look at each point to understand the real value and contribution of the author’s work.

As has been mentioned above, Pittock (2005) provides a valuable point claiming that climate change is a serious issue which has to be addressed in the nearest future. Otherwise, people may face grave issues. The author backs up his claim with extensive data.

Pittock (2005) stresses that climate change is something that cannot be ignored anymore. The researcher provides various examples of the change. The author mentions extreme temperatures, numerous natural disasters, change in landscape, etc. (Pittock 2005). Researchers agree that climate change is shaping the world.

Thus, Sposito et al. (2010) claim that Australian agricultural sector has been affected by the changes which are taking place. The researchers stress that these changes should be taken into account and people have to undertake certain steps to adjust to the new circumstances. Noteworthy, Pittock (2005) emphasizes that it is important to understand the causes of climate change to develop proper solutions.

A lot of researchers agree that climate change is partially a ‘side effect’ of the Industrialization. Researchers agree that Industrialization of the nineteenth century contributed greatly to the rapid change of climate (week 4, slide 4). Admittedly, it enabled humanity to make an enormous step forward, but it also contributed to the environmental pollution. People have shaped landscapes, which negatively affected ecosystems.

It is important to note that industrialization continues in many countries. Thus, countries of Asia and South America are turning into highly industrialized societies (Pittock 2005). This negatively affects the environment.

Importantly, Pittock (2005) claims that the Industrialization made people dependent on fossil fuels. Jacobson (2008) agrees with such viewpoint and notes that people largely rely on fossil fuels. This reliance has a number of negative effects. First, fossil fuels excavation devastates ecosystems. For instance, the society of the nineteenth century relied on coal which was associated with considerable pollution (Pittock 2005).

Noteworthy, China still relies on this type of fossil fuel (week 4, slide 14). The environmental situation in China is very serious and needs immediate actions. Secondly, the society’s needs increase. Technological advances are associated with increased consumption of energy which leads to uncontrolled use of fossil fuels, which, in its turn, means more pollution.

Pittock (2005) emphasizes that people should learn from the past to be able to handle the issues of the present. Apart from revealing the lessons from the past, the author provides data concerning the future. For instance, Pittock (2005) provides major emissions scenarios, which are rather deplorable. Though emission of some gases will be reduced, the emission of carbon dioxide will still be “upper high limit” (Pittock 2005, p. 49).

This will contribute to climate change. For example, this will lead to the temperature increase and the development of the greenhouse effect. Uncontrolled use of water resources can also lead to hazardous changes in ecosystems.

Nonetheless, Pittock (2005) also notes that it is rather difficult to develop possible scenarios as climate change is difficult to predict. Scientists started in-depth analysis of climate change in the second part of the twentieth century. Therefore, the data available are quite scarce especially when it comes to such complicated phenomenon as climate change.

Long-term effects of people’s activities are quite difficult to estimate as people still do not understand the nature of many processes (week 3, slide 14). Grundmann (2009) also states that scientists come up with different scenarios.

Nonetheless, Pittock (2005) also points out that all researchers agree that climate change is the issue which has to be solved. The author emphasizes that it is difficult to estimate the risks, but it is easy to prove that the risks exist.

The difference in scenarios has led to development of the adaptation approach. Thus, Pittock (2005) notes that many people argue that humanity is adaptable and will be able to adjust to any changes. Notably, the author pays specific attention to this approach and proves that it is somewhat inconsistent. Hence, some people claim that people have adapted to a variety of severe conditions.

Admittedly, people have lived in Alaska where temperatures are very low. At the same time, people have lived in the driest and hottest places in Africa and South America. Thus, lots of people argue that climate change cannot be regarded as the urgent issue to be solved as it is a natural process.

Some people also note that the planet is constantly changing and developing so any changes are natural and inevitable. Therefore, there is no need in seeking for ways to diminish the change, it is much more important to look for strategies to adapt to new conditions.

However, Pittock (2005) makes a valuable remark and mentions situations when people have to abandon their homeland as they cannot adjust to the new conditions. Admittedly, coastline in some places has changed dramatically and people in many places have no access to fresh water. This has led to the ongoing migration.

Therefore, Pittock (2005) notes that this approach has serious drawbacks. At the same time, there is a more effective mitigation approach. According to this approach, people are adaptable and can adjust to changes which are slow. Thus, lots of researchers believe that people have developed certain tools to adjust to particular conditions for centuries (Pittock 2005).

However, rapid changes can have serious negative effects. As has been mentioned above, rapid changes force people to leave deteriorated areas. More so, making devastated areas a favorable place to live requires significant investment.

Therefore, it is crucial to help humanity adjust to the change. To succeed in this, it is essential to slow down the changes which are taking place to enable people to develop certain tools to live in terms of new conditions.

The researcher is an advocate of this approach. Pittock (2005) also stresses that people have to start addressing the problem. The author notes that certain work has already been done. However, the researcher also emphasizes that it is not enough. Thus, Jacobson (2008) focuses on the use of renewable energy and possible ways to diminish negative effects of people’s activities.

The researcher states that people have started developing new ways to produce energy, which can slow down the process of climate change. Pittock (2005) also provides statistic data that reveal certain interest in the use of renewable sources of energy. Nonetheless, the author stresses that only a few countries invest into the development of alternative sources of energy.

Pittock (2005) also claims that governments should play an important role in promotion and development of the use of renewable sources of energy. The author notes that many countries enact certain laws to make companies diminish harmful emissions (Pittock 2005).

More so, governments of different countries initiate a variety of international projects aimed at development of proper strategies to address issues associated with climate change.

At the same time, Pittock (2005) makes a valuable observation. The researcher claims that governments tend to focus on their national interests and often neglect environmental concerns. Thus, China is one of such countries. Chinese government is more concerned with economic development of the country. They ignore the fact that the ecosystem is being deteriorated due to uncontrolled use of fossil fuels (week 4, slide 14).

Noteworthy, such irresponsible policy has numerous negative effects on global scale. Apart from deterioration of the ecosystem in China, the irresponsible policies in the country lead to increased emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This will have long-term effects on the planet.

Grundmann (2009) also notes that existing international projects are insufficient. The researcher argues that lots of countries try to violate certain norms. Some countries are also reluctant to participate in environmental projects, which need additional investment.

It is noteworthy, that researchers agree that governments often support big business and are reluctant to invest into ecological projects as they do not see the urgency (Pittock 2005). As has been mentioned above, different researchers estimate the risks differently. Companies as well as governments tend to use the adaptation approach which does not require significant funding.

Pittock (2005) emphasizes that governments of all countries should combine their efforts aimed at solving the issues associated with climate change. The researcher concludes that humanity has to start being responsible as climate change is shaping the world. The researcher states that national interests cannot be more important than the future of humanity and the entire planet.

To sum up, it is necessary to state that the book in question provides valuable insights into one of the most burning environmental issues. The book contains the necessary data which justify the author’s standpoint. Pittock (2005) reveals major causes and effects of climate change, which helps understand the nature of the issue. This understanding, in its turn, can help develop effective solutions.

Importantly, the author reveals some wrongs of the contemporary society that contribute to the issue. Thus, the author emphasizes the role governments and international bodies play in the development of effective strategies to address the issue. In a nutshell, it is possible to note that the book creates the urgency and makes people understand that it is high time to start acting until it is too late.

Reference List

Grundmann, R 2009, ‘Climate change and knowledge politics’, Environmental Politics, vol. 2. no. 1, pp. 148-173.

Jacobson, MZ 2008, ‘Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security’, Energy & Environmental Science, vol. 16. no. 3, pp. 414-432.

Pittock, AB 2005, Climate change: turning up the heat, Routledge, New York, NY.

Sposito, V, Benke, K, Pelizaro, C & Wyatt, R 2010, ‘Adaptation to climate change in regional Australia: a decision-making framework for modeling policy for rural production’, Geography Compass, vol. 4. no. 4, pp. 335-354.

‘Week 3 Lecture: Climate change, science, and risk’.

‘Week 4 Lecture: Energy and society’.

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