All posts by Naomi Oreskes

A few recent reviews of Collapse

Cross-posted from Erik M. Conway’s home page:

Chris Mooney in Mother Jones: “How Western Civilization Ended.”

“You don’t know it yet. There’s no way that you could. But 400 years from now, a historian will write that the time in which you’re now living is the “Penumbral Age” of human history—meaning, the period when a dark shadow began to fall over us all. You’re living at the start of a new dark age, a new counter-Enlightenment. Why? Because too many of us living today, in the years just after the turn of the millennium, deny the science of climate change.”

Naomi’s Collapse interview on Living on Earth.

“Science historians Naomi Oreskes of Harvard and Erik Conway of CalTech’s new science fiction book, The Collapse of Western Civilization lays out how devastating our lack of action on climate change could be. Oreskes join host Steve Curwood to discuss how democracy, the free market and science are all failing humanity and the planet.”

Christopher Wright Tau in Climate, People, and Organizations.

“In this latest book, Oreskes and Conway explore the fundamental question of why Western liberal democracies at the apogee of their technological and scientific mastery have failed to respond to the greatest threat facing our species; anthropogenic climate change. Rather than a more traditional social science analysis, Oreskes and Conway frame their analysis as an essay written by a future historian from the year 2349 seeking to answer the question of why western civilization failed to respond to man-made climate change despite full awareness of the threat. This voice from the future is a narrative device that was also used to good effect in the film Age of Stupid where Pete Postlethwaite’s ‘archivist’ replays videos of our current hubris in the face of climate catastrophe.”

Joe Romm on Climate Progress.

“How would a historian in 2393 write about this century if we continue self-destructively ignoring climate science — and as a result modern civilization as we know it had collapsed 300 years earlier?”

“That’s the question answered by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their excellent and unique new entry in the emerging Climate-Fiction genre, ‘The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From The Future.'”

Erik on the role of neoliberalism in the climate change debate.


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From the Harvard Gazette: Destination Doom

I’m not fond of the article title–Collapse is a warning, not a prediction–but I didn’t get to vote on it. The author does nail this key point others have missed, though:

“Oreskes said the choice of China was also the outgrowth of an ongoing discussion between her and Conway — “the irony conversation.” The pair’s research indicates that one motivation for those who oppose climate action is fear that climate change might be used as an excuse for excessive regulation, harming democratic government and economic freedom. The novella, she said, highlights the irony of that position: Deniers are raising the risk of a disaster big enough to favor the survival of more authoritarian forms of government.”

Read the whole piece.

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Creating a “Green” Bridge to Hell

Today on, I explained why natural gas is a bridge to climate disaster. Here’s an excerpt.

“Call it the energy or global warming news of recent weeks.  No, I’m not referring to the fact this was globally the hottest June on record ever (as May had been before it), or that NASA launched the first space vehicle “dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Nor do I mean the new report released by a “bipartisan group,” including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and three former secretaries of the treasury, suggesting that, by 2100, $238 billion to $507 billion worth of American property will be “below sea level”; nor that Virginia’s coastline is already being eaten away by rising seas and storm-surge destruction in such a striking manner that state Democrats and Republicans are leaving global warming denialists in the lurch and forming a climate change task force to figure out what in the world to do.”

Read the whole thing at TomDispatch

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Washington Post excerpt Saturday July 26, 2014



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Living on Earth Interview on Friday July 25.

You can also hear it on WBUR at 7am EST on Sunday July 27, 2014


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