Book review: The age of global warming

13th May 2013

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The age of global warming

Rupert Darwall / Quartet Books / Hardback £25 / ISBN 978-0-7043-7299-3

In The age of global warming, Rupert Darwall charts the increasing recognition given to climate change by the world’s media and political establishments over four centuries, from Francis Bacon to Margaret Thatcher and through to the modern day.

He argues that climate change is either an exaggerated effect or one that will take longer to have an impact. Although some salient lessons can, and should, be learned from his book – such as the importance of being open and transparent in business, and the rise of Asia as a valid economic rival to Europe and America – Darwall’s argument is long-winded, contradictory and biased.

Identifying the audience for this book is also difficult. Its focus on politics and not on the relevant aspects of climate change is alienating to the intelligent layperson and professional alike. Furthermore, the book’s broad international outlook fails to consider the local benefits of environment management. The argument is economic and objective, not political and subjective.

The consensus among scientists and environment professionals is that investing in decarbonisation produces sustainable, efficient, low-impact and resource-secure nations. In short, Darwall’s arguments are now counterproductive and obsolete; it’s time the debate moved on.

Review by David Dowson, environmental and sustainability adviser at Skanska


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