Fire and Flood: A People’s History of Climate Change, from 1979 to the Present

Eugene Linden

Fire and Flood: A People's History of Climate Change, from 1979 to the Present
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Fire and Flood: A People’s History of Climate Change, from 1979 to the Present

Eugene Linden

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter was presented with the findings of scientists who had been investigating whether human activities might change the climate in harmful ways. “A wait-and-see policy may mean waiting until it is too late,” their report said. They were right – but no one was listening. Four decades later, we are haunted by the consequences of this inattention, and the years of complacency, obfuscation and denialism that followed. Today, the staggering scale and scope of what we have done to the planet is impossible to ignore: the seasons of fire and flood have crossed into plain view.


Fire and Flood is a comprehensive, compulsively readable history of climate change from veteran environmental journalist Eugene Linden. Linden retells the story of the modern climate change era decade by decade, tracking the progress of four ticking clocks: first, the reality of climate change itself; second, advances in scientific understanding; third, the spread of public awareness; and fourth, the business and finance response. Like no previous writer, Linden has drawn together the elements of the biggest story in the world, in a book that it is gripping as history, as economic investigation, and as scientific thriller.

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