Book review: The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change

cartintroclimThe Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change
By Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman, PhD
Island Press, 2014
ISBN 9781610914383

Based on the cover alone, I thought The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change would be chaotic, but the inside is very well-organized. The main text runs in boxes between the cartoons, and the cartoons serve to illustrate and entertain. Illustrator Grady Klein’s cartoons are in greyscale, but clear. A few recurring scientist characters appear throughout the book to explain key concepts. Greenhouse gases are consistently drawn as little ghosts, so you recognize them instantly whenever they’re featured in a panel, without needing to remember the chemical names.

The book is divided into chapters that focus on different aspects of climate change. Through cartoons and clear explanations the authors address topics like man-made vs natural climate change, what greenhouse gases are, how economic growth ties into both sides of the climate equation. Author Yoram Bauman (“the world’s first and only stand-up economist”) has a background in environmental economics, but he doesn’t shy away from the science and manages to present clear explanations of chemical and physical concepts.

The intended audience is anyone who wants to know about climate change. While it may appear to some that the authors have an agenda, they are actually extremely measured and they do look at different sides of the story. They provide the science and the information you need to think for yourself.

Another interesting aspect of this book is that it was funded via Kickstarter, where the project raised $21k in May 2013. Before The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, Klein and Bauman already published two Cartoon Introduction to Economics books.

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