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A Christmas Climate Reading Booklist

With Christmas just around the corner, I would like to take the opportunity to recommend some climate books to read over the holidays. Finally, when we entered a state of normalcy post Covid-19, although although we are now experiencing a new surge, the discussion on climate change could finally reenter into the spotlight.

The theme of this year’s Open Access Week was for instance Open for Climate Justice. Since then we have had a UN Climate Change Conference summit (COP27) in Egypt acknowledging loss and damage and a UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Canada ending in an agreement to guide global action on nature through to 2030. 

Also, PLOS recently released PLOS Climate as a home for open inclusive open climate research and also PLOS Sustainability and Transformation and PLOS Water giving a home for science on biodiversity.

There has also been a steady release of climate books and I will recommend a few that has made an impact on my understanding of the current situation.

The Petroleum Papers: Insider the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change by Geoff Dembicki (Greystone Books 2022, 256 pages)

In The Petroleum Papers, investigative journalist Geoff Dembicki tells the story of how the American oil companies that founded the tar sands in Alberta, Canada—home to the third-biggest oil reserves on the planet—ignored warnings about climate devastation as early as 1959.

Instead of alerting the world to act on this impending global disaster, Exxon, Koch Industries, Shell and others created ad campaigns saying climate change isn’t real and that alternatives to oil are an economic disaster.

This is an important book showing the massive cover up that the fossile fuel industry has forced upon politicians and the general public and thereby delayed the necessary path away from fossile fuels.

The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg and others (Allen Lane 2022, 464 pages) 

The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg  went from being an anonymous 15 year old Swedish on school strike during the Swedish election in 2018 to quickly becoming a global phenomenon and deemed as one of the next generation leaders by Times Magazine 

Among other things, she addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference; scolded billionaires at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January and the British Parliament for not doing enough to combat the climate crisis.

In this book she has gathered over one hundred experts – geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders – to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. 

Planetary Health: Safeguarding Human Health and the Environment in the Anthropocene by Andy Haines and Howard Frumkin (Cambridge University Press 2021, 439 pages)

Not published in 2022, but almost, this is a very important book. Planetary Health explores the many environmental changes that threaten to undermine progress in human health, and explains how these changes affect health outcomes, from pandemics to infectious diseases to mental health, from chronic diseases to injuries.

The book shows how people can adapt to those changes that are now unavoidable, through actions that both improve health and safeguard the environment. But humanity must do more than just adapt: we need transformative changes across many sectors – energy, housing, transport, food, and health care.

As Gro Harlem Brundtland – former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization writes: This book illustrates the dramatic change in humanity’s awareness about the realities of our world and our destiny. Planetary Health describes the transformation that will move us to a healthier, safer and more sustainable future, with hope, optimism and confidence.’

Handbook of Anti-Environmentalism Edited by David Tindall, Mark C.J. Stoddart, and Riley E. Dunlap (Edward Elgar Publishing 2022, 512 pages)

As The Petroleum Papers shows there has been a decades long of deception on climate change from the industry.

This handbook provides a theoretical overview of the wide variety of anti-environmentalisms and offers an integrative research agenda for future research on the topic. Probing the ways in which groups have organized to oppose environmental movements and pro-environmental policies in recent decades, it examines those involved in these countermovements and studies their motivations and support systems. This handbook explores core topics in the field, including contestation over climate change, wind power, mining, forestry, food sovereignty, oil and gas pipelines and population issues.

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit 2020, 563 pages)

Not released this year but in a league of its own and must be recommended here. Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts, The Ministry For The Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, the story of how climate change will affect us all over the decades to come.

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the world’s future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future. It soon became known as the Ministry for the Future, and this is its story. This is a intriging and also a scary story describing a future not far away with a seldom seen climate science precision that ought to read by all politicians.

The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump by Wiiliam J. Perry & Tom Collina (Bella Books 2020, 280 pages).

I would like to end this climate reading list with a book published in 2020 that is not directly related to climate change, but indirectly through its use and environmental consequences. This is also higly established threat with Russias inasion of Ukraine and threat of using nuclear weapons.

This book is a wake-up call, and former defense secretary William J. Perry, together with leading nuclear policymaker Tom Collina, give us just that. Their book is hopefully the alarm the world needs.

So, with these recommendations, I would like to wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Featured photo is my own.

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