Mark Lynas delivers a vital account of the future of our earth, and our civilisation, if current rates of global warming persist. And it's only looking worse.
We are living in a climate emergency. But how much worse could it get? Will civilisation collapse? Are we already past the point of no return? What kind of future can our children expect? Rigorously cataloguing the very latest climate science, Mark Lynas explores the course we have set for Earth over the next century and beyond. Degree by terrifying degree, he charts the likely consequences of global heating and the ensuing climate catastrophe.
At one degree – the world we are already living in – vast wildfires scorch California and Australia, while monster hurricanes devastate coastal cities. At two degrees the Arctic ice cap melts away, and coral reefs disappear from the tropics. At three, the world begins to run out of food, threatening millions with starvation. At four, large areas of the globe are too hot for human habitation, erasing entire nations and turning billions into climate refugees. At five, the planet is warmer than for 55 million years, while at six degrees a mass extinction of unparalleled proportions sweeps the planet, even raising the threat of the end of all life on Earth.
These escalating consequences can still be avoided, but time is running out. We must largely stop burning fossil fuels within a decade if we are to save the coral reefs and the Arctic. If we fail, then we risk crossing tipping points that could push global climate chaos out of humanity's control.
This book must not be ignored. It really is our final warning.
Mark Lynas is a journalist, campaigner and author of several books on the environment, including High Tide (2004), Six Degrees (2007), The God Species (2011), Nuclear 2.0 (2013) and Seeds of Science (2018). He has written for CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Times, the Guardian and is a visiting fellow with the Alliance for Science at Cornell University, New York. He lives in Herefordshire.
"Mark Lynas [...] has time-travelled into our terrifying collective future [...] Go with him on this breathtaking, beautifully told journey [...] I promise that you will come back [...] determined to alter the course of history."
– Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything
"Scientists predict that global temperatures will rise by between one and six degrees over the course of this century and Mark Lynas paints a chilling, degree-by-degree picture of the devastation likely to ensue unless we act now [...] Six Degrees is a rousing and vivid plea to choose a different future"
– Daily Mail
"Buy this book for everyone you know: if it makes them join the fight to stop the seemingly inexorable six degrees of warming and mass death, it might just save their lives"
– New Statesman
"An apocalyptic primer of what to expect as the world heats up [...] it's sobering stuff and shaming too. Despite its sound scientific background, the book resembles one of those vivid medieval paintings depicting sinners getting their just desserts"
– Financial Times
"The saga of how, in the world as imagined by thousands of computer-modelling studies, global warming kicks in degree by degree. Six Degrees, I tell you now, is terrifying"
– Sunday Times
"A chilling read"
– Socialist Review