My #1 pick. Hands down, Merchants of Doubt is best book on climate change of any of my picks. There are a lot of different perspectives on how to “resolve the climate crisis.” This book shows that the system is broken, fixed by companies that are funding denialist groups and feeding the media with propaganda. I know, this sounds a bit off, but it’s the same formula that big tobacco companies developed in the 80s to fight tobacco regulations. They lost, and had to pay the largest fines in, literally in all of history. Oreske has won several awards on communicating science to the public. And her book continues to win book awards around the world. A must own book.
Easy to read, I swear! Don’t be intimidated by the title. Climate Change and Sustainable Development Law was written by land use lawyers John Nolon and Patricia Salkin, two giants in the field of land-use law.
This book is more about history and less about wonky policy. It walks you through the early stages of the sustainable development/climate change movement. It walks the reader through the Rio Accord, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Copenhagen Agreement. It then moves through some of the legal issues at the federal and state levels such as the EPA, RILUPA, and other land-use and environmental policies. It is not that complicated, but it certainly is challenging.
By the way, I know John Nolon. He spoke on one of my panels on climate adaptation law a couple years ago. He’s an easy going, deeply intelligent guy. And this book is clear headed and sympathetic to the general reader and non-lawyers.
I’m reviewing The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change for the journal Climate Policy. It’s law book, full of jargon, and it’s very expensive. It’s definitely for the serious environmental policy person and must have for those in the field of climate adaptation. Michael Gerrard has several books on climate change and environmental law that are more accessible and you should check out.
Orrin Pilkey is one of those writers that hits the sweet spot between good story telling and getting to the point. A quick read, he describes the issues in frank, sympathetic terms by showing how we created our own troubles by building so close to the sea. At 150 pages, The Rising Sea is a brisk read (3 hours!) and very informative. It shows what the actual impacts from climate change are, and discusses some basic policy moves on how to fix it. Buy it!
These two books were deeply influential to me and how I think about cities. I’ve two degrees in urban planning, and I devoured books that delved into how cities are built, and why some flourish and others fail. Economic diversity is by all accounts the most important factor in sustainability. Detroit failed because the people put all their eggs in one basket - auto manufacturing. But cities like Boston and Seattle thrive because politicians work with residents to create new and unique neighborhoods, full of diversity. There’s lots of controversy and criticism abounds, but these are the best books on cities out there.
Not kidding. If you’ve read this far then confess you’re interested and commit! These are must have books for your brain and book shelf. You’ll be proud to own them and show them off to your friends. I promise! Buy them, here: The Sustainable Urban Development Reader and The City Reader. No worries, you can always by back editions. Don’t feel pressure to buy the newest ones - they’re all the same!
This is a controversial pick. Peter Calthorpe is, hands down, the most important urban planner of our times. His status is on par with or exceeds the historical importance of Jane Jacobs (who never designed a city, btw). Calthorpe’s Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change focuses on low carbon development. The book has been celebrated as a milestone in every review out there. It’s not an adaptation book, per se. But it does give insights to the adaptation crowd on how to intergrate the two policy mechanisms of low carbon and resilience, into new development and existing infrastructure. A must have and you should buy it.