Requiem for a Species


Requiem for a Species

Product details

Product name: Requiem for a Species

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: Clive Hamilton

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Price: $24.99

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This requiem of this title is not for an endangered beetle or rare frog, it’s for us, Homo sapiens.

In no uncertain terms, Hamilton argues that humanity has ignored the warnings of scientists on climate change and left it too late to prevent irreversible warming by four degrees or beyond. Bleak enough for you?

To be fair, Requiem for a Species is more than told-you-so hand-wringing.

Hamilton starts with an analysis of climate science to demonstrate how he has reached his conclusion. The second section of the book looks at why individuals and governments have failed to act; our self-deception and “unreasonable optimism” combined with a disconnection from nature and a preoccupation with consumption and economic growth (ideas which some readers will recognise from his earlier works, Growth Fetishism and Affluenza).

Finally, Hamilton proposes ways that we can best prepare for and adapt to a radically changed planet, starting by outlining what the “four-degree world” will look like.

As hard-hitting as the inconvenient truths Hamilton outlines are, they needn’t plunge us into lasting, catatonic despair, he says. Continuing the fight to reduce emissions is still worthwhile, because it can slow down warming and its consequences.

Whether you come to accept Hamilton’s assessment or not, the questions he asks about our response to the climate change are difficult to ignore.

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