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Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction

Fourth Edition

Mark Maslin

Publication Date - 19 October 2021

ISBN: 9780198867869

200 pages
6.9 x 4.4 inches

In Stock


Very Short Introductions: Brilliant, Sharp, Inspiring

In the last few years global awareness of climate change has grown very rapidly - through the school strikes led by Greta Thunberg, groups like Extinction Rebellion, the IPCC's recent high impact reports, TV documentaries, and declarations from governments around the world that we are in a climate emergency. This awareness is continuing to grow, as the science shows us that our planet and our species are facing a massive crisis, which we ourselves have caused. Climate change is one of the few scientific theories that make us examine the whole basis of modern society. It is a challenge that has politicians arguing, sets nations against each other, queries individual lifestyle choices, and ultimately asks questions about humanity's relationship with the rest of the planet.

This Very Short Introduction draws on the very latest science from the 2021 IPCC Report, examining the evidence that climate change is already happening, and discussing its potential catastrophic impacts in the future. Mark Maslin also explores the geopolitics of climate change and the win-win solutions we can employ to avoid the very worst effects of climate change. Throughout, he demonstrates how we must develop new modes of thinking for the 21st century at individual, corporate, and government levels to collectively tackle the challenge of climate change.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

New to this Edition

  • Includes the very latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Covers the politics of climate change right up to the climate negotiations chaired by the UK in 2021
  • Includes a new solutions chapter which discusses what individuals, companies and Governments can do to deal with the climate change emergency
  • Inludes a new chapter covering the 150 year history of climate change science
  • Includes a new final chapter that discusses the imapct and lessons that can be learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic for dealing with the even greater crisis of climate change


  • Fully updated for 2021 with the latest science on climate change, including key findings from the IPCC 2021 report
  • Explains how and why climate change is happening
  • Describes the mounting, wide-ranging evidence for climate change, and modelled predictions of future scenarios
  • Looks at the political tensions surrounding climate change
  • Examines the proposed solutions to protect our future and that of our planet
  • Part of the bestselling Very Short Introductions series - over ten million copies sold worldwide

About the Author(s)

Mark Maslin FRGS, FRSA is a Professor of Earth System Science at University College London. He is a leading scientist with expertise in past and future climate change. Maslin appears regularly on radio and television, and has written ten books, including The Cradle of Humanity (2017), The Human Planet (2018, co-authored with Simon Lewis), and How to Save Our Planet: The Facts (2021). He is a Royal Society Industrial Fellow, working with Rezatec Ltd, a geoanalytics company he co-founded, and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Scholar.


"Teaching climate change ... means choosing the right book by the right person. Enter Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science at University College London and the author of Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction, a slim volume with a big punch ... University instructors ... will appreciate this book for its ambitious sweep and its accessible writing" -- Donald Wright, Yale Climate Connections

Table of Contents

    Preface to the fourth edition xix
    Acknowledgements xxi
    List of illustrations xxiii
    Abbreviations xxvii
    1 What is climate change? 1
    2 History of climate change 12
    3 Evidence for climate change 26
    4 Modelling future climate 44
    5 Climate change impacts 64
    6 Climate surprises 90
    7 Politics of climate change 106
    8 Solutions 122
    9 Changing our future 148
    Further reading 157
    Index 163

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