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By McKenzie Funk, who recently spent a month in China covering the Britsh Caving Association's China Caves team for National Geographic Magazine, has had a major book on the effects of global warming published. Although this title does not address karst, caves or bats, it would be an amusing and insightful read for anyone interested in the interaction between mankind and the environment.
The author examines three different effects of global warming: melting ice caps and glaciers, droughts and desertification, and floods resulting from rising oceans. As polar ice retreats, new shipping routes and farmland open up. Greenland is set to become "an untapped Gulf of Mexico in the North Atlantic" and is already ranked in the top 20 of countries with oil reserves. In the western United States, Spain, Israel, and parts of Africa and Latin America, desertification and other effects of rising temperatures--e.g., devastating wildfires--are allowing speculators to put a premium on land ownership and acquire water rights in the expectation of future gains. Furthermore, Monsanto and BASF have filed more than 150,000 patents on the seeds of food plants, trying to lock up the genome. Funk contrasts these attempts to profit from global warming with more-or-less-feasible engineering approaches to mitigation. A well-written, useful global profile emphasizing concrete solutions rather than ideological abstractions. 320 pp. HB.
"Funk's take on global-warming profiteering is as entertaining as it is disturbing." -- The New Yorker, Best Books of the Year
"A shocking account of how governments and corporations are confronting the crises caused by global warming... A well-written, useful global profile." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"In alarming terms, he lists three major categories of global warming--the melt, the drought, and the deluge--all of which have nations and citizens jockeying for position to cash in on the world's dwindling resources... Funk's original, forthright take on this little-discussed profit-taking trend in the climate change sweepstakes is very unsettling." -- Publishers Weekly (PW Pick of the Week)