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    SYNOPSIS

    Can we act quickly and wisely enough to prevent climate
    change – better called climate disruption – from destroying
    human civilization?  There is no greater issue facing
    humanity today.
     
    This book provides everything people need to know in order
    to enter into serious discussions and make good decisions:

    •The latest scientific information about the probable effects of
    the various types of climate disruption that threaten the very
    continuation of civilization.

    •The reasons why the media and governments have failed
    miserably to rein in global warming, even though scientists
    have been warning them for decades.

    •The additional challenges to saving civilization – religious,
    moral, and economic.

    •The amazing transformation of solar, wind, and other types
    of clean energy during the past few years, making the
    transition from a fossil-fuel to a clean-energy economy
    possible; and the falsity of the various claims that fossil-fuel
    companies and their (hired) minions have made to belittle
    clean energy.

This book combines:

    (1) the most extensive treatment of the causes and
    phenomena of climate change in combination with

    (2) an extensive treatment of social obstacles and challenges
    (fossil-fuel funded denialism, media failure, political failure,
    and moral, religious, and economic challenges),

    (3) the most extensive treatment of mobilization, and

    (4) in discussing the needed transition from fossil-fuel energy
    to clean energy, it provides the most complete, most up-to-
    date treatment of the various kinds of clean energy, and how
    they could combine to provide 70% clean energy by 2035 and
    100% before 2050 (both U.S. and worldwide).

    ANNOTATED TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PART I:  UNPRECEDENTED THREATS

    Introduction: The basic issue is whether global warming, besides
    leading to a hellish existence for our children and grandchildren,
    will destroy civilization. Each chapter in Part I addresses 3
    possible responses: Plan B (mobilization), Plan A (business as
    usual), and Plan C (wait and see).

    1 Extreme Weather: Prior to discussing four types of “extreme
    weather,” this chapter discusses extreme weather in general and
    how global warming is responsible for it.

    2 Heat Waves: This chapter deals with the phenomenon that
    comes to mind most readily when people think of “global
    warming,” namely, warmer weather, which will include hotter and
    more frequent heat waves. The danger is that the temperature
    will make life hellish, eventually intolerable.

    3 Droughts and Wildfires: Drought has thus far been the climate
    effect most harmful to people. Aggravated by global warming, its
    pernicious effects include dramatic increases in wildfires.

    4 Storms:  Various types of storms are becoming more extreme
    and increasing in number: rainstorms (deluges), which increase
    flooding; major snowstorms – as in the "Snowpocalypse" of 2009;
    hurricanes, which are becoming bigger and stronger (such as
    Katrina and Sandy); and tornadoes, which have been shown by
    recent evidence to be also intensified by global warming.

    5 Sea-Level Rise: This chapter deals with scientific projections
    about sea-level rise if business as usual continues (perhaps 7
    feet by end of century) and what this will do to island nations and
    the coastal areas of the USA, China, and many other countries.

    6 Fresh Water Shortage: Although national security experts have
    long worried about peak oil, “the real threat to our future,” said
    Lester Brown, “is peak water.” There are substitutes for oil, but
    there is no substitute for fresh water, which is getting less
    plentiful in many parts of the world, due to melting glaciers,
    shrinking snowpack, decreasing water in lakes and rivers, and
    the depletion of aquifers.

    7 Food Shortage: According to Oxfam, “Increased hunger is likely
    to be one of climate change’s most savage impacts.” Food
    shortage will be increased by extreme weather, water shortage;
    and global warming’s “equally evil twin” - ocean acidification -
    which, if it continues, will lead to a world without seafood.

    8 Climate Refugees: Climate refugees have to leave home
    because of some type of climate-influenced change, such as sea-
    level rise, upon which this chapter focuses. If climate change
    continues, the refugees will number in the millions and
    eventually billions. Going with anything other than Plan B will be
    catastrophic.

    9 Climate Wars: Climate disruption is also important because of
    ways it could threaten national security and the world’s political-
    economic order, due primarily to increasing resource scarcity.
    Conflict over scarcity may end up influencing more people than
    any of the other results of climate change. Plan B is the only way
    to minimize international strife.

    10 Ecosystem Collapse and Extinction: Although any one of the
    changes in Chs. 1-9 could become catastrophic, even worse will
    be the occurrence of some of these changes simultaneously,
    which could lead to global ecosystem collapse. With business as
    usual, the sixth mass extinction, which we are already in, will
    eventually include us.  

    PART II:  UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGES AND FAILURES

    11 Climate Change Denial: Worst in America, climate-change
    denialism has resulted from a concentrated campaign by the
    fossil-fuel industry to repudiate the scientific consensus and
    promote public uncertainty. This chapter examines techniques
    previously used by big business to impact public opinion in
    relation to smoking, acid rain, CFCs, and the ozone layer,
    showing how they are now being used by the fossil-fuel industry
    to dispute the conclusion of virtually all climate scientists that
    fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas - are imperiling our planet.
    The fossil-fuel industry, which knows its claims to be false, has
    deceived many citizens into accepting its propaganda over the
    evidence provided by climate scientists. This chapter debunks a
    large number of the claims against climate science,

    12 Media Failure:   The fossil-fuel industry’s denialist strategy has
    been forced upon, if not willingly embraced  by, the major
    American corporate media, leading to  their failure to adequately
    address either the science or the urgency of climate disruption.
    Examined here are various media techniques geared to produce
    public uncertainty on the issue:   reduced coverage, inadequate
    contextualization of extreme weather events, and false balance
    (giving the opinions of propagandists paid by Big Oil as much
    attention as the views of renowned climate scientists), and going
    even beyond  that to explicit denialism.

    13  Political Failure: This chapter documents the historical record
    of global failures to successfully address climate change and
    explains  reasons why. It demonstrates the extent to which
    politicians have overruled the findings of science and analyzes
    their motives. The record of US Presidents on climate change is
    examined. Charting the Republican stampede toward absolute
    climate change denial since 2011, it names  specific malefactors
    pursuing their selfish private interests to shed light on what  
    British journalist George Monbiot terms “the greatest political
    failure the world has ever seen.”

    14 Moral Challenge: There is a basic global ethic related to global
    warming implicit in our understanding of human rights as well as
    religious principles. The primary issue is intergenerational
    justice - whether today’s generation will finally act fast and
    decisively enough to save a tolerable planet for our descendants
    or continue to act within the boundaries of its narrowly defined
    self-interest. The notion of moral obligation in relation to climate
    protection, along with the capacity of morality to make a
    difference, is re-enforced by parallels to successful global
    justice campaigns: the abolition of slavery and divestment from
    South African apartheid.

    15 Religious Challenge: American religious culture has mainly
    revolved around theism, which comes in both traditional and non-
    traditional forms. Traditional theism, which holds that the
    supreme being is omnipotent, is held by most Evangelical
    Christianity.   This view  often results  in climate complacency,
    holding that the world will not be destroyed by global warming
    unless God wants this to happen - an attitude expressed by
    several members of the U.S. Congress. Some Evangelical
    Christians resist this tendency, instead fighting strongly to stop
    global warming. But there are forms of theism that more fully
    support climate concern.  

    16 Economic Challenge: Besides being impeded by limited
    moralities and false religious ideas, society’s task of saving
    civilization has also been impeded by false economic ideas.
    Starting with the complacency of Yale’s William Nordhaus, this
    chapter traces the mounting urgency of coming to grips with the
    projected costs of climate disruption through the thinking of
    Oxford’s Nicholas Stern and Harvard’s Martin Weitzman – who
    warns that the costs could be infinite. Whereas Nordhaus argued
    that going full out to reduce carbon emissions as quickly as
    possible would damage the economy, a growing number of
    economists have realized, with Stern and Weitzman, that going
    full out is the only way to save the economy. This chapter ends
    with the policies most needed: a carbon tax and the elimination
    of fossil-fuel subsidies.

    PART III: WHAT IS TO BE DONE

    17  Transitioning to Clean Energy: Fossil-fuel industry
    propaganda has claimed that clean energy is too expensive and
    could not, in any case, power civilization. But developments over
    the past decade show that clean and renewable energy is now
    not only achievable but also affordable. This chapter discusses
    various types of clean energy, including solar, wind, geothermal,
    and ocean energy, showing how these, combined with
    hydropower, could provide far more than enough energy to
    power civilization. Also discussed are automobiles, trains, and
    airplane fuels that could make 100% clean transportation
    possible. The great untold story is that the planet’s energy could
    be 70% clean by 2035 and 100% clean by 2050.

    18  Abandoning Dirty Energy: The “carbon budget” - meaning the
    most additional carbon that could be burned without catastrophe
    - shows that, if there is to be any hope, fossil fuels must be
    quickly phased out. Coal and oil have long been the primary
    threats to the planet. But natural gas, alleged to be a “bridge” to
    clean energy, has become equally harmful, especially with the
    rise of “fracking.” And oil is now more dangerous than ever due
    to the exploitation of “tough oil.” Fossil fuel companies have
    been irresponsible global citizens and a primary threat to
    civilization.  Now that there are numerous alternatives,  we
    should have no regrets about swiftly phasing them out of
    business.

    19 Mobilization: Lester Brown, author of Plan B: Mobilizing to Save
    Civilization, says that quickly moving from fossil fuels to clean
    energy “will take a massive mobilization - at wartime speed.” Any
    global mobilization would likely need to begin in the United
    States: The President should declare a national climate
    emergency and implement pro-climate policies on an appropriate
    scale. Such US leadership should then enable, indeed unleash, a
    similar mobilization worldwide. This mobilization will require
    leadership of many different levels and types, mounting from all
    sectors of society (academic, activist, agricultural, business,
    entertainment, labor, media, political, scientific, and so on) to
    enable such presidential action.


    Conclusion: We are facing an unprecedented challenge. This
    chapter drives home the need to devote ourselves to the task
    wholeheartedly for the coming decades, until the transition to a
    clean-energy economy has been made.
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UNPRECEDENTED
Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis?
By
David Ray Griffin

REVIEWS:
"One of the most excellent compilations of renewable
energy facts and context that I've read."
ZACHARY SHAHAN
Director of CleanTechnica.com and Planetsave. com
"Unprecedented is a tour de force of enormous importance
for our planetary future. In his superb analysis of climate
change through the lens of science, politics, economics,
energy, morality, and religion, Griffin has provided a wealth
of insight for how to move forward. This will be an
indispensable book for raising awareness that civilization
itself is at stake."
MARY EVELYN TUCKER
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University

"Theologian David Ray Griffin brings to bear his
considerable skills of synthesis to lay out, from the best
current sources including Lester Brown and Bill McKibben,
a comprehensive snapshot of the climate crisis, its dark
threat of planetary desertification, and the urgent need for
us all to act swiftly to close the era of fossil fuels and switch
to clean energy. This would require as much moral will as it
does political skill: Griffin makes a strong case that
humanity's differing faiths, world views and ethical creeds,
including the secular, have enough in common to allow us
to act now on behalf of the next generations if we can only
begin to act from our full humanity and face the climate
challenge squarely."
VINCENT STANLEY
Co-author, The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned
From Patagonia’s First 40 Years.

"Griffin’s book is itself without precedent in the climate
literature. Crossing the whole secular and religious
spectrum, it offers brilliant clarity,  indispensable quotes,
trusty data and crystallized arguments that you will start
borrowing right away. And somehow it performs neither
apocalyptic alarmism nor chilly factualism but  an engagingly
urgent, calmly activating overview."  
CATHERINE KELLER
author of Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and
Planetary Entanglement.
Professor of Constructive Theology,
Drew University

"Myths and Big Lies proliferate about global warming.
Griffin's new book is must reading. It explains what
everyone needs to know. It does so responsibly. In lucid
detail like everything he writes. Global warming is one of
the most important issues of our times. Survival may
depend on resolving it responsibly."
STEPHEN LENDMAN
author of Banker Occupation:  Waging Financial War on
Humanity  

"This expression of cautious hope about the future is one of
this book’s strengths. That, coupled with a concrete call for
action, makes it a unique contribution to the expanding
literature on climate change – one that carries tremendous
weight because it is backed by facts and figures and is, on
the whole, a sober, objective assessment of the current
situation. All said and done, Unprecedented is an
unprecedented book.."
CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
President, International Movement for a Just World
"If you can read only one book on climate change, make it be
Unprecedented. With extraordinary clarity and
comprehensiveness David Griffin has masterfully depicted
both the severe dangers confronting humanity and the best
available escape routes. If reading this book does not
change your life, nothing will."
RICHARD FALK
Emeritus Professor of International Law,
Princeton University

"As always, David Ray Griffin is meticulous in this research,
startling in his conclusions, and thought-provoking in the
way he frames issues.  A brilliant addition to the literature on
climate change and its terrible consequences!"
THOM HARTMANN
Author and Talk Show Host

"
UNPRECEDENTED is a valuable book in that it not only
delineates the nature and magnitude of the climatic threat to
Mankind and the urgency of taking action, but also sets this
global crisis within its proper moral dimension involving our
ethics and religious sense. It makes the very important point
that anthropogenic climate change didn't just happen - it is
the result of choices that we as a species made to give
preference to greed and exploitation rather than to caring
stewardship of our limited spaceship. Any salvation depends
on a moral change as much as a technical effort."
PETER WADHAMS,
Center for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge


"A very comprehensive and accessible book, providing a
much-needed corrective to omissions and falsehoods
propagated in the media... a fine contribution in the tradition
of Griffin's long and distinguished work."
HERMAN E. DALY
Founder of ecological economics
Everything you need to know about climate change and what can be done about it
David Ray Griffin is Professor of
Philosophy of Religion and
Theology, Emeritus, Claremont
School of Theology and Claremont
Graduate University (1973-2004);
Co-Director, Center for Process
Studies. He edited the SUNY Series
in Constructive Postmodern
Thought (1987-2004), which
published 31 volumes. He has
written 30 books, edited 13 books,
and authored 250 articles and
chapters.
DAVID RAY GRIFFIN Special for CNN:
Listen to Narration of Griffin CNN:
"The Climate Is Ruined. So Can Civilization Even Survive?"