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Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction

Fourth Edition

Mark Maslin

Publication Date - October 2021

ISBN: 9780198867869

200 pages
6.9 x 4.4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $11.95


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, Professor of Climatology, University College London

Mark Maslin is Professor of Climatology at University College London. He is currently a Royal Society Industrial Fellow working with Rezatec Ltd, a company he co-founded. He was the former Director of the UCL Environmental Institute and Head of the Department of Geography. He is science advisor to the Global Precious Commodities PLC, Global Cool Foundation, Climatecom Strategies, Steria, Permian Ltd and Carbon Sense Ltd. Maslin is a leading scientist with particular expertise in past global and regional climatic change and has published over 165 papers in journals such as Science, Nature, and The Lancet. He has also written ten popular books, over 50 popular articles, and appeared on both radio and television. His books include The Cradle of Humanity (OUP, 2017) and The Human Planet, co-authored with Simon Lewis (Penguin, 2018).

Table of Contents

    Preface to the fourth edition
    List of illustrations
    1. What is climate change?
    2. The climate change debate
    3. Evidence for climate change
    4. Modeling future climate
    5. Climate change impacts
    6. Climate surprises
    7. Politics of climate change
    8. Solutions
    9. Envisioning the future
    Further reading

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