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Photograph: Maxi Walton

Reading List September 23, 2014

Taking Action on Climate Change

A Reading List
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Today, the United Nations will meet for a Climate Summit in New York City. Yesterday, 310,000 people turned out for the Climate March and hundreds participated in #FloodWallStreet, a sit-in to protest capitalism’s role in climate change. As part of Climate Week, Boston Review is revisiting pieces from our archive that join the conversation around climate change and present concrete plans for taking action.

Our summer forum, led by Robert Pollin and in partnership with the Center for American Progress, presents a plan to build the green economy with only 1.2 percent of the GDP. His proposal would not just reduce carbon emissions, but create jobs, promote GDP growth, and save consumers money.

David Keith, whose BR book A Case for Climate Engineering was published last year, advocates for immediate action, whether it be using sulfates to reflect light away from the earth, or fossil fuel divestment.

But none of this can happen if people don’t want to talk about climate change. David Konisky and Steven Ansolabehere point out that climate change doesn’t even register highly among environmental concerns.

Inaction has already wrought destruction on vulnerable countries. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people, but it is the “social practices” that cause such disasters to be so destructive in the third-world, Junot Díaz writes. “We must stare into the ruins—bravely, resolutely—and we must see. And then we must act. Our very lives depend on it.”

David Victor and Richard K. Morse explain why it is so difficult to move off coal, especially in less developed countries.

Elsewhere in Boston Review, Sarah Hill reports on China’s trash incinerators; Susanna Bohme on why cases of environmental poisoning are so hard to litigate; and Claude Fischer examines the phenomenon of eco-puritans; and Stephen Phelan on the obliteration of Onagawa by the 2011 tsunami; and Kerry Emanuel’s book What We Know About Climate Change.

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Previews are delivered to members every Sunday. Become a member to receive them ahead of the crowd.

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