New York : Penguin Press, 2022.
xxxvii, 291 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 275-276) and index.
"From a writer and climate-change expert who has been at the center of the fight for more than thirty years, a brilliant big-picture reckoning with the reasons for our shocking failure to this point, focusing on the malign power of key business interests, and arguing that those same interests could flip this story very quickly, if a looming economic catastrophe doesn't happen first. Eugene Linden wrote his first big cover story on climate change, for Time magazine, in 1988. In the years since, he has written many more investigative pieces, for many outlets, as well as served as an advisor for nonprofits, insurance companies, and other businesses in the cross-hairs of the disastrous impact of global warming. Fire and Flood represents his definitive case for the prosecution as to how and why we have arrived at our current dire pass, closing with his argument that the same forces that have so confused the public's mind and slowed the policy response are poised to pivot with astonishing speed, as long-term risks have become present-day realities and the cliff's edge is now within view. Starting with the 1980's, Linden tells the story decade by decade by looking at four clocks within each span that move at different speeds: the reality of climate change itself; the scientific consensus about it, which always lags reality; public opinion and political will, which lag farther still; and finally, what he argues is the most important clock, business and finance. Reality marches on at its own pace, but the public will and even the science are downstream from the money, and Fire and Flood shows vividly how devilishly effective the monied climate-change deniers have been at slowing and even reversing the progress of our collective awakening. When a threat means certain disaster at an unknown future point, but addressing it means certain lost profit in the present, capitalism's response is sadly predictable. Now, however, the seasons of fire and flood have crossed the threshold into plain view. Linden focuses in on the insurance industry as one loud canary in the coal mine: fire and flood zones in Florida and California, among other regions, are seeing insurers flee the market, and others demand government back-stops-"climate redlining" as many call it. The whole system is teetering on the brink, and the odds that in the next few years we have another housing collapse, for starters, are much higher than most people understand. There is a path back from the cliff, but we must pick up the pace. Fire and Flood shows us why, and how." --,Provided by publisher.