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cover of Fixing Climate

Fixing Climate
Robert Kunzig and Wallace Broecker
Profile, 2008

Fixing Climate is both interesting and useful but not in the ways that the authors intended. That’s not entirely their fault, since climate science and mitigation have changed enormously in the ten years since it was published.

The book tracks the life and work of Wallace Broecker, who was born in 1931 and was just the right age to become a pioneer and then a leader in the (then) very young field of climate history and (hence) climate change.

At the time of his birth, both Wegener’s theory of plate tectonics and Milankovich’s eponymous Cycles were new (and highly contentious) science. As a graduate student Broecker ran one of the very first radiocarbon dating labs at almost the same time as Keeling was making the first accurate measurements of atmospheric CO2.

Finally, it’s actually pleasing that their conclusions about renewable energy were so far wrong, since it highlights our potential for surprisingly fast progress.

I wonder what we’re underestimating now. In ten years’ time, will we look back and ask, “How did we miss that?”

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This is an expert reviewer’s response to the book in 2008.

Broecker’s profile in Wikipedia

Wallace Smith Broecker, the ‘grandfather’ of climate science, leaves a final warning for Earth. Days before his death, Wallace Broecker urged scientists to consider deploying a last-ditch solar shield to stop global warming.

From RealClimate:

First successful model simulation of the past 3 million years of climate change

In a paper published today in Science Advances (Williet et al., 2019), we were able to reproduce the natural climate variability of the whole Quaternary with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity.