This year’s most important new environmentally-focused books

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Image via Flickr creative commons from anselm

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the defining issues of our time, and quite possibly the single most important of them all. Politicians the world over have spent decades trying to get to grips with the problem, although it has to be said that their lack of progress is starting to attract ever closer scrutiny from activists and other observers. As you might expect, there have been a raft of books over the last few years debating and scrutinising the issues surrounding climate change and the environment more broadly – and 2013 has already seen a whole host of new environmental books hit the shelves. Here are five titles you might want to consider delving into, which you shouldn’t have much trouble finding at a Book people nature and outdoors section.

1)      Hungry Capital: The Financialization of Food – Luigi Rossi: Published by Zero Books, Hungry Capital sees Luigi Rossi examine the rapid restructuring of the global food chain in recent decades. The financialisation of the global economy more generally has had a significant impact on the way the international food chain operates, with the influence of multinational firms and large retail chains fuelling extensive changes. Hungry Capital looks specifically at the influence of financial experts on the worldwide food economy, and questions whether the edifice can hold for much longer in an increasingly unstable, interconnected global economy.

2)      Climate Myths: The Campaign Against Climate Science – John Berger: According to USA Today, Climate Myths is a study of the global fossil fuel industry’s attempts to obfuscate and undermine the science associated with the processes of climate change. In the book, John Berger compares the modern-day anti-climate change lobbying efforts of fossil fuel firms to the propaganda disseminated by tobacco firms in earlier eras, aimed at downplaying the mounting – and now widely accepted – evidence that cigarettes posed various health hazards to smokers.

3)      Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change – Andrew Guzman: This book looks at the likely consequences of allowing the planet’s temperature to rise by another two degrees centigrade. Andrew Guzman, a law professor in the US, warns that further warming is likely to cause widespread instability – fuelling increased conflict as nations squabble over increasingly scarce resources, destroying island nations and leaving millions of people around the world displaced from their homes.

4)      Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent – Gabrielle Walker: Having visited Antarctica five times, Gabrielle Walker takes the opportunity to show us just what the continent is like in this book. She describes in unflinching detail the minus 60 degree temperatures, the months of darkness and much more besides. She also looks at what the future holds for Antarctica as climate change takes its toll.

5)      High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Levels and the Coming Coastal Crisis – John Englander: In High Tide on Main Street, John Englander warns that regardless of what how global temperatures rise over the coming years, higher sea levels are now an inevitability – and he points out that this could endanger coastal communities, driving millions of people further inland.

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