Carbon dioxide has become one of the "defining molecules" of our century, due to its role in Earth's climate. This text traces the development of the perception of carbon dioxide through the ages.
With layman summaries at the beginning of each chapter and extensive literature references and notes, the text takes the reader through the history of our understanding of the gas, from its early discovery as a separate gas in the mid-17th century to the recognition of its radiative properties and impact on climate in the late 19th and 20th century.
The text describes the world's slow efforts to control the rise in carbon dioxide over the last 50 years and concludes by setting the stage for the Paris climate accords and subsequent negotiations. The world must reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide fast, and Carbon Dioxide through the Ages discusses options to achieve that goal.
1. Carbon Dioxide: From a wild spirit to a climate culprit
2. What does carbon dioxide do in the atmosphere?
3. The discovery of the carbon dioxide molecule
4. Carbon dioxide and the rocks of the Earth
5. Carbon dioxide and the vegetation of the Earth
6. Carbon dioxide in the geological path
7. Carbon dioxide and the waxing and waning of ice sheets
8. Humans, fire, fossil fuel and the rise of anthropgenic CO2
9. Determining atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide
10. Climate change, models and the allowable carbon budget
11. The world comes slowly into action
12. The bumpy road to the future
Han Dolman is a climate scientist and director of the Royal NIOZ, the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, as well as a Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Free University of Amsterdam. For many years, his work has been centred around the global carbon cycle and its relation to our climate. Over the length of his career, he has been involved in several international research programs such as the Global Climate Observing System. He is the author of Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate (OUP 2019).
"A very informative, important, timely, and very readable book."
– Karel Schrijver, author of One of Ten Billion Earths (OUP 2018)
"A worthwhile effort which provides information required for an on-going debate in society, written by an expert in a style which makes it accessible to the non-specialist."
– Bjoern Winkler, University of Frankfurt
"An excellent topic to cover in a general science book and very timely."
– Nicola Alison, University of St Andrews
"The book is timely, as many of us scientists and non-scientists try to come to an understanding of the importance of the Paris Agreement, and what this means for us, our business, economy, and eventual our daily lives."
– Carolin Richter, Global Climate Observing System