Tim Flannery’s “Atmosphere of Hope” is a good primer to learn more about solutions to the climate crisis, but not informative enough to be fully persuasive. Flannery appears Thursday, Nov. 12, at Town Hall Seattle.

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‘Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis’

by Tim Flannery

Atlantic Monthly Press, 245 pp., $27

When Australian scientist Tim Flannery published 2003’s “The Weather Makers” it was acclaimed as one of the earliest and more important books on climate change.

A dozen years later he returns to the subject, examining what we have learned, what we have attempted to do to address the issue, and what we can do to solve what is arguably the most important environmental crisis facing humanity. As Flannery writes: “Can our desire to overcome it [the climate crisis] drive humanity’s next great waves of positive technological economic and social revolutions, or will we be plunged into the dystopian collapses and terrors of civilizations past?”

As his title suggests, Flannery believes that we can make a difference, if we follow what he calls the ‘third way.” Instead of relying on pure geoengineering, that is fighting one poison (excess carbon) with another (for example, sulfur) or attempting to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, Flannery looks to Earth processes and building off the planet’s natural methods for balancing carbon. This includes capturing carbon in naturally absorbing rocks or in specially developed cement; sequestering carbon in kelp farms; and creating new generation, carbon-negative fuels.

Author appearance

Tim Flannery

The author of “Atmosphere of Hope” will appear at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave. Tickets are $5 at townhallseattle.org and at the door. Information: 206-652-4255.

Although I respect and appreciate Flannery’s hope for a better future, his arguments do not convince me, mostly because his discussions of each are too cursory. He doesn’t provide the science or deep analysis of the third-way solutions that would help a lay reader understand whether these are pipe dreams or realistic options. And this is the book’s greatest weakness. Flannery is broad but not deep.

“ Atmosphere of Hope” is a good up-to-date account of the climate crisis (and would make (it) a fine primer for students), but if you are looking for a thorough analysis of solutions to climate change, this is not the book.