Some books on climate change. Suggestions for inclusions in this list are welcome.


Co-written by Stroud writer Gill Tavner , In the Eye of the Storm – the Autobiography of Sir John Houghton

(Published 2013- Flyer )

Sir John Houghton was involved in the physics of the atmosphere from the 1950s onwards and this book captures the excitement and challenges of work in this field from the early years to the present day, with plenty of fascinating detail. He was an Oxford academic and later, amongst other things, head of the Met Office.

He briefed government ministers in the 1980s on the new problem of climate change and records reactions to it at that time.

He was an early organiser of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC; he relates how its reports have been produced over the years and describes the rigour of its processes, with insights and asides on the people involved. He also looks at the attempts that were made to undermine its work, for example in 2009.

Alongside clear explanations of the science of climate change and the evidence about its causes, the book deals with wider aspects, such as the physics of the Big Bang and the origin of the universe. This goes hand in hand with his deep religious beliefs which he describes. Notable here is a particular idea of stewardship – the duty to look after the Earth’s resources. His work with churches in the US who previously denied the existence of climate change is very interesting.

The book is written in an easy style and relates both happy and very sad events in his life alongside the public events. There is also a good bit of gentle humour. It is well worth reading. book list

Many readers are interested in the physical how and why of climate change. The website, run by a group of climate scientists, offers a list of books, of varying levels of difficulty that explain the subject.



The Discovery of Global Warming

by Spencer Weart (American Institute of Physics (AIP)).

One of the best straightforward explanations of how we came to discover global warming. The book is downloadable from the AIP.


Merchants of Doubt

by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

Activities of the denial lobby over tobacco, climate change, ozone and similar issues over several decades. In order to counter public health measures, the US tobacco industry decided on the slogan ‘doubt is our product’ and set out deliberately to create confusion in the public mind over the dangers of tobacco. How tobacco denialism then morphed into climate denialism – with the same PR people and organisations taking part.

Web site of the book, with resources, including video resources:


Storms of my Grandchildren

The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

by James Hansen

See more at:
In Storms of My Grandchildren, Hansen speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: The planet is hurtling even more rapidly than previously acknowledged to a climatic point of no return. In explaining the science of climate change, Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in our children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes if we follow the course we’re on. But he is also an optimist, showing that there is still time to take the urgent, strong action that is needed- just barely.

Looks at the future that awaits our grandchildren if we do not curb fossil fuel use.
Most of the fossil fuel must now stay in the ground. A rising tax on all fossil fuels, according to their CO2 polluting effects, must be levied at the wellhead, mine or point of entry to each country and the proceeds distributed to all citizens. Thus the poor and low fuel users will be the main beneficiaries. Only a tax (whatever name it goes under) will work to stop fossil fuels being bought and used.


The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
In the form of an imaginary tale from the future, looks at why people didn’t act on climate when they had the chance. In other words, looks at what we need to do now.


Atmosphere of Hope

by Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery is the author of the 2015 book Atmosphere of Hope. He advocates developing new ways of removing CO2 from the atmosphere, not as a way of avoiding cutting emissions today, but because so much has been emitted already that a temperature rise of, say, 1.5 deg. C is already ‘in the pipeline’. There are many possible projects, but the lead times for them to be brought into operation are long and development needs to start now. Alternatives such as risky emergency ‘geo-engineering’, trying to cut sunlight, are to be avoided.