The Burning Question Book Summary By Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark

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The Burning Question is an essential read for our present moment.

It's a book that addresses the hard truths of climate change and why urgent action needs to be taken in order to create a sustainable future.

Through their research, the authors provide an incisive look at how we have failed so far and what needs to be done to right these wrongs.

The book highlights the need for drastic changes in our politics, markets, and society if we are to combat climate change - something that we owe both ourselves and our grandchildren.

Overall, this book provides vital guidance on how we can start making a difference today.

The Burning Question Book

Book Name: The Burning Question (We can’t burn half the world’s oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?)

Author(s): Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Nature & the Environment

Author Bio

The Burning Question was written by Duncan Clark, an acclaimed journalist and author with a passion for climate change.

He currently serves as a consultant editor at The Guardian's environment desk and also co-runs Kiln, a cutting edge company that specializes in finding innovative solutions for conveying information about the environment.

Duncan has been working in this field for years and has received many accolades due to his impeccable research and vast knowledge of all matters pertaining to climate change.

His unique insight is what makes The Burning Question such a remarkable book; another testament to this leading expert's boundless creativity and incomparable skills as a storyteller.

Uncovering The True Impact Of Climate Change: A Closer Look At How We Can Tackle The Problem Together

Climate Change

Climate change is an undeniable reality and its catastrophic consequences are coming closer with every passing day.

Everyone needs to learn about the impact that global temperature rise of as little as two degrees can have – and start doing something to reduce the effects of climate change.

The Burning Question book engages readers with hard-hitting facts from climate scientists, helping them understand why local carbon footprint reduction attempts have proven ineffective so far and why a global approach needs to be taken in order to tackle this problem head on.

You’ll get a comprehensive overview of why most governmental pledges on climate change have not been successful and how society, as individuals, must make sustainable choices for our long-term benefit.

Join in the fight against climate change by learning more about the science, facts, solutions and ideas offered in The Burning Question.

The Facts Show That Global Warming Is Real And Caused By Human Activity

There is no denying that our planet’s climate is changing.

Every single credible scientific institution in the world agrees that this is happening and that it’s happening much faster than we anticipated.

Take Saudi Arabia for example – despite a scorching heat of 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit), it actually rained there, making it the hottest rainfall on Earth!

And if you need more proof than that, consider England which reported its wettest year on record at the end of 2012, and Australia’s so severe heatwave that it had to add two new colors to its temperature maps!

What many people don’t realize is just how long scientists have known about this phenomenon.

In fact, since the 19th century they were aware of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane having an effect on global temperatures.

And now with increased emissions due to human activity, these gases are accumulating in our atmosphere exponentially!

Climatic change is not a scientific theory anymore – it’s a fact.

Today, thanks to research done by institutions like Lancaster University, we can see just how real this threat really is.

The Danger Of Hitting Tipping Points: Why The 2 Degree Celsius Global Warming Limit Is No Longer Enough

It’s no secret that even a small temperature increase has the potential for catastrophic effects on the global climate.

Recent findings show that we are already seeing far more damage than anticipated from an average 0.8 degree C rise from preindustrial levels.

This includes a one-third decrease in summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, 30 percent more acidity in oceans worldwide, and increased humidity over oceans due to hot air holding more water vapour than cold.

Many leading climatologists, such as Kerry Emanuel of MIT, warn that rising temperatures far beyond 1 degree C may result in disastrous consequences and may trigger feedback loops that could be difficult to control.

A prime example is the melting of Arctic soils been creating a positive feedback loop where emissions of stored greenhouse gases and warming temperatures lead to further melting of soil, creating an uncontrollable stream of greenhouse gas release and thus continuing to warm up the atmosphere.

The melting sea ice reduces reflectivity off our Earth’s surface, causing even more heat absorption and further melting of ice which compounds the problem even more.

Jim Hansen of NASA has previously stated “Any number much above one degree involves a gamble” before going on to say that allowing temperatures to reach 2 degrees Celsius would be a “prescription for disaster”.

His view is reflective of many scientists’ worries about staying below the current 2-degree-Celsius limit suggested by world leaders in 2009, leading many to question if this is inadequate for avoiding traditionally destructive tipping points we should strive for across our eco-systems deeply embedded within our planet.

The Reality Of Climate Change: Too Much Oil Is The Problem, Not Too Little

Reality Of Climate Change

It’s clear that judging from today’s developments, the 2-degree target might be too tough to achieve.

Already, we are way over our all-time carbon dioxide budget – a landmark study calculated in 2009 that we have to stay below 3,700 billion tons of carbon dioxide, yet we’ve already used more than half of that number.

Then there’s the issue of oil reserves.

Major energy companies have ready-to-use fossil fuels which add up to 3,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide combined – nearly twice our remaining carbon budget!

That’s $27 trillion worth of fuel that might never get burned if the 2-degree temperature rise is to be avoided.

These numbers make it hard to deny that the 2-degree rise is too big a challenge for us considering how fast things are changing and how much work still needs to be done.

The Burning Question gives us an honest assessment of our current climate situation and if anything, it serves as a wake-up call for us all to take action now before it’s too late.

Green Technology May Have An Unintended Rebound Effect On Climate Change

It’s become increasingly clear that government pledges, greener behavior and energy efficiency alone won’t be enough to stop the imminent climate catastrophe.

We saw this back in 2009, when at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, many countries made voluntary pledges to cap the rise of temperature at 2 degrees – yet we have seen the carbon curve rise exponentially since then.

Furthermore, even if green technologies are able to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, rebound effects often make their gains short-lived.

For example, since the invention of the light bulb – and recently LEDs – production of light has become much more efficient.

But this also means it’s cheaper to install which has led to an overuse of lighting and even more energy being consumed.

Even if some money is saved through new technologies, they can be invested into new products which negates some of that original savings from the technology itself – ultimately not having a real effect on reducing our current levels of carbon dioxide emission worldwide.

We must look for solutions beyond what governments can do and what green technology can offer if we want any chance of averting this climate crisis.

Climate Change Misinformation Is Keeping Us From Taking Action

The complexity of the climate problem and lobbying tactics have hindered our progress in taking meaningful action towards mitigating climate change.

The science behind the issue is incredibly complex; gases we can’t see or taste, combined with varying environmental conditions, makes it difficult for scientists to make definitive predictions about its consequences.

In addition, the fact that long-term impacts from climate change are usually years away and not directly linked with certain actions degrade its sense of urgency and tangibility.

Meanwhile, powerful corporations have used their influence to misinform both politicians and citizens about the dangers of climate change.

They’ve spent billions of dollars on PR firms and lobby groups who aim to convince people that climate change doesn’t exist at all or won’t be expensive to address – thus protecting their interests in the fossil fuel industry.

From astroturfing to false television advertisements, people are constantly subjected to false information which weakens trust in the facts presented by countless credible scientific organizations.

The combination of an intimidatingly complex problem and carefully-tuned disinformation has stopped us from taking effective action against one of humanity’s most pressing issues: climate change.

It’s Time To Move Away From Short-Term Economic Gains And Focus On Long-Term Solutions To Climate Change

Solutions To Climate Change

It is undeniable that government pledges and green technology alone are not enough to solve the problem of climate change.

To avoid catastrophic temperature rises, global constraints on carbon emissions need to be implemented – even if it results in the devaluation of existing fossil fuel supplies and infrastructures.

A 2011 study found that if we want a fair chance of staying within the 2-degree target, reducing emissions by 5 to 6 percent each year starting in 2016 is necessary − an immense decrease.

This would enforce us to shift away from dirty energies for good, inevitably resulting in a short-term but impactful global recession caused by the devaluation of fossilFuel-based industries, cars and refineries among others.

Although this may sound catastrophically bad at first glance, accepting this economic setback and focusing our attention on long-time sustainability may yield beneficial outcomes in the end.

For example, research has shown that humans’ wellbeing is not improved after crossing a certain income level; whereas tying economic success solely to short-term growth always comes at the expense of our planet’s natural capital − something which cannot be replaced.

Divesting From The Fossil Fuel Industry: How It Can Help Us Combat Climate Change

Tackling the climate issue head on means minimizing the influence of the oil industry on politics and public opinion.

One way to do this is through divestment – that is, by taking steps to stop investing in fossil fuels and related infrastructure.

Such investments only serve to create a ‘carbon bubble’ which makes it harder to take further steps towards a low-carbon future, so divesting from them sends a message about our commitment to change.

Furthermore, pension funds, cultural institutions, and other organisations that have already started divesting or cancelling their sponsorships demonstrates the urgency for global leaders to step up and take drastic action in order to save our planet.

However, without divestment, this carbon bubble will only continue to inflate, potentially leading to an even worse economic crash when regulations are put in place.

As such, it’s essential that we spread awareness of this issue in order for society as a whole to truly overcome it.

A Mandatory Global System To Regulate Carbon Emissions: The Only Way To Save The Planet

If we want to battle climate change and prevent temperatures from increasing by more than two degrees, global leaders must work together to enact mandatory regulations on carbon emissions for all countries.

However, that won’t be enough.

We need to also invest in green technologies that can help us reduce our carbon footprint and make us more energy efficient.

One example of this is the implementation of carbon capture technology, which captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it securely underground.

Another potential solution lies in renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels, which are already being used on a wide scale in countries like Germany.

The reality is that if we really want to fight against climate change then we will have both constrain global carbon emissions, as well as invest in cutting-edge green tech at the same time.

We Are All Leaders In The Climate Change Revolution: How We Can Make A Difference

Climate Change Revolution

When it comes to climate change, politicians may be the ones who have the most direct impact, but that doesn’t mean that we should all sit back and wait for them to do something.

We can all play an active role in helping the cause of climate change – no matter how big or small you may think your contribution is.

Voters can put pressure on their representatives, investors can make changes to their energy portfolios, families can reduce their carbon footprint and business leaders can demand political change.

Each action may initially appear insignificant, but when combined with the actions of many others, they become powerful forces for change.

It’s this collective effort that has the potential to influence even prominent political figures—it’s here where lasting and impactful change starts to happen.

Words too have the power create ripples of positive change; every time someone speaks up against false information regarding climate change, it encourages more people do so as well – thus creating a wave of progress throughout society.

So yes, politicians aren’t the only ones who can have an impact on climate change – we all have a part to play in raising global awareness and driving real transformations that will benefit us for generations to come.

Wrap Up

The Burning Question, by Mark Lynas, is a must-read for anyone interested in tackling climate change.

Simply put, it lays out the stark reality of our current situation and what needs to be done if we are serious about saving our planet.

The book starts by acknowledging that climate change is no longer a debated scientific theory, but an accepted fact with immense consequences.

To face this challenge head on, we have to tackle fossil fuel lobbyism, reduce global carbon emissions and invest in low-carbon technology.

To support this shift from polluting to cleaner technologies supports two things need to happen: We need more public funding for these initiatives and people need to speak up when falsehoods about climate change are told.

We need both people’s action and government action to make this happen.

In conclusion, The Burning Question is an engaging and informative read that is sure to leave you feeling inspired to join the fight against climate change.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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