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The Burning Question

We can’t burn half the world’s oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?

By Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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The Burning Question by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark

The Burning Question deals with our generation’s most pressing problem: climate change. The book discusses why it’s important to make drastic changes in our politics, markets and society, and what we have to do to achieve a sustainable future for ourselves and our grandchildren. The authors not only explain how we’ve failed so far but also point towards the source of the problem.

Key idea 1 of 10

Climatic change is not a scientific theory anymore – it’s a fact.

To this day, many people still believe that global warming is a theory that has yet to be proven. Fact is, the climate of our planet is changing. And it’s happening a lot faster than we anticipated.

In the last couple of years, the whole world has reported a rapid change in weather.

Moreover, in June 2012, Saudi Arabia reported that, despite a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit), it had actually rained in Mecca, making it the hottest rainfall in the history of the planet! And the list goes on: at the end of that year, England had announced that it’d had the wettest year on record, and Australia suffered from such a severe heat wave that it had to add two new colors to its temperature maps.

These reports aren’t coming from scattered sources: every single reputable scientific institution in the world agrees that our planet is getting warmer, and that greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are almost certainly the main cause.

In fact, we’ve known since the nineteenth century that additional greenhouse gases in the air, such as carbon dioxide and methane, will warm the planet. And over the last century, we’ve been releasing those gases into the atmosphere, where they’ve been continuously accumulating. One study performed at Lancaster University even showed that our man-made carbon dioxide emissions are exponentially rising.

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