The Earth Transformed: An Untold History – Reviewed in the Atlantic

In his sweeping new book, Peter Frankopan looks at how the climate has changed human society—and how we have changed the climate.
Does climate change directly influence the weather we experience? Until recently—for the past 40 years or so—that question has followed nearly every major hurricane or flood, every record snowfall or heat wave. In some people, it provokes instant denial, often political or economic, often rooted in prideful ignorance. But the question raises a genuine analytical issue: How do we determine the effect of incremental, global atmospheric change on locally transient weather systems? And how do we assess the effect that those systems—and the climate shifts underlying them—have had on human societies in the past? These are complicated questions. Now imagine trying to answer them throughout the whole of history, from the origin of our species to the day before yesterday. That’s the task the Oxford historian Peter Frankopan undertakes in The Earth Transformed: An Untold History…

Suddenly, California Has Too Much Water – the Atlantic

The storm-swollen San Lorenzo River floods land along Ocean Street Extension in Santa Cruz, California at right, on Monday January 9, 2023. MAGAZINES OUT © 2023 Shmuel Thaler - Santa Cruz Sentinel

The state is being tossed between awful climate extremes.

In the Talmudic parable of Honi the Circle Maker, the drought-stricken people of Jerusalem send up a prayer that God should deliver them rain. And sure enough, after a few false starts, he does. Except that once the rain starts, it won’t let up. It pours and pours until the people are forced to flee to higher ground, their homes flooded by the answer to their prayer…

How Long Until Alaska’s Next Oil Disaster? – the Atlantic

Cook Inlet from Homer (by Dave Bezaire CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

More than 30 years after the devastating Exxon Valdez oil spill, many Alaskans are still haunted by the possibility of another such disaster. Some felt that those fears were about to be realized in 2020, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) began preparing to auction off development rights to a million acres of Cook Inlet, a proposal known as Lease Sale 258…