It has become noticeable that the tone of recent reports, articles and books on climate change is becoming increasingly urgent. This book by 2006 Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, continues the theme of urgency, with its desperate sounding title, and it’s picture of a clock showing just a couple of minutes to midnight on the cover.
This volume, which first appeared in Quarterly Essay in September 2008, outlines the desperate situation the earth now finds itself in, and Flannery’s solutions to the crisis. It is then followed up by a series of replies by others in the field of climate science or research (the one exception being Richard Branson who, through his Virgin group of companies, is making his own attempt at limiting his carbon footprint). One of the responses is from Ian Lowe, current President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. As Lowe points out, “the fundamental message of Flannery’s essay is that we need to recognise the limits of ecological systems and build that recognition into our planning”.