Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

In 1771 a man called Richard Arkwright sparked the start of the Industrial Revolution, changing the lives of humans and our relationship with the world. Since that time, our industry has filled the atmosphere with an additional 2.4 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide. This book explores the history of our planet’s climate and the impact of our warming planet on life on Earth.

When we keep hearing about 1.5° Celsius in regards to the climate crisis, it doesn’t sound all that much, but in Hothouse Earth, Bill McGuire does a great job laying out the impacts of just that, as well as the larger rises we’ll end up with if countries carry on as they are. That 1.5° is a global average, so doesn’t take into account the disastrous warming of the poles, causing ice sheets to melt. And if you live at low altitude, such as a coastal town or river side, a single metre rise in sea levels could leave you homeless.

I think we’ve all noticed the weather getting more extreme, more floods, hotter, drier summers and the devastating wild fires across the world. Even if you believe this is just a natural cycle of the Earth’s climate, it’s not good news for human civilisation. The book describes a lot of the Earth’s past and its different cycles of extreme weather, and they were all times when humans weren’t around to feel the effects.

After reading the science laid out, it’s hard to deny that humans have, at the very least, accelerated this change. It’s a short read, so focuses more on the data and science than specific events, though many recent disasters are referenced. It’s an alarming read, the modelling showing how today’s children will be living in a much changed world towards the end of the century.

Climate change isn’t some vague distant threat any more. The things needs to be done to drastically slow climate collapse just aren’t being done, so it’s time to arm yourself with the facts and prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Hothouse Earth is part of Icon Books’ Hot Science series covering cutting edge science and technology and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 28th July 2022. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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