The Skimmer

Book review: Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard

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Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth

By Mark Hertsgaard HMH; 339 pages

If you judged the severity of climate change by its media coverage--which has vanished like a mountain glacier over the past year--you might think the problem had been solved. Wrong. The planet's fever is still rising, and we have fundamentally failed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. As Mark Hertsgaard writes in his dire new book, Hot, that's going to make the ability to adapt to climate change the difference between life and death. A veteran environment journalist (who has written for TIME), Hertsgaard circled the globe to find the countries and cities, places like Britain and Seattle, that are preparing for a warmer world--and the ones, like Bangladesh, that will be left vulnerable. Adaptation will define the fate of "Generation Hot," those young people (including Hertsgaard's daughter Chiara, who inspired him to write the book) who will inherit a sweltering earth. Though the constant invocation of Chiara gets tiresome (think of a new parent who can't stop showing you baby photos), Hertsgaard still delivers a readable survival guide for what could be an uncomfortable future.