If we back up a few paces, Joseph Romm's Hell and High Water: Global Warming the Solution and the Politics and What We Should Do will tell us exactly what the crisis is and why we need to change our ways. In 2005, Romm's brother lost his Mississippi home to Hurricane Katrina. Since Romm holds a doctorate in oceanography, his brother naturally sought his advice on whether to rebuild. Romm's response was grim but clear: Coastal dwellers from Houston to Miami are now playing Russian roulette with maybe two bullets in the gun chamber. In a rising sea of apocalyptic warnings about global warming, Romm's new book is perhaps the most unequivocal in its predictions. Coastal cities could be partly underwater by as early as 2050, he writes, and the rest of us will be dropping from deadly heat waves. Romm's rhetoric is more problem-centered, and he offers fewer solutions than other writers here, but he does say that taking action against global warming is the single most important thing we will do and we'll hate ourselves if we drop the ball.
Lynn Hamilton writes about environmental issues from Tybee Island, Georgia.