The best books on climate change and how to deal with it

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired in 2019 after 38 years of teaching journalism,  environmental studies, and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. About half of my employment time was set aside for writing and editing as part of several endowed professorships I held sequentially between 1990 and 2018. After 2000, climate change (global warming) became my lead focus because of the urgency of the issue and the fact that it affects everyone on Earth. As of 2023, I have written and published 56 books, with about one-third of them on global warming. I have had an intense interest in weather and climate all my life.

I wrote...

Nationalism vs. Nature: Warming and War

By Bruce E. Johansen,

Book cover of Nationalism vs. Nature: Warming and War

What is my book about?

Developing an original approach, this book examines how both nationalism and climate change threaten humankind with future catastrophes, arguing that humanity is on a fast track to a dystopian future unless significant changes are implemented. While the world warms, wars driven by nationalism may lead to worldwide devastation, with humankind being caught between two existential threats of its own creation. The author explains how both nationalism and climate change originate from human ingenuity and can only be answered by human cooperation.

The book discusses how humanity’s many peoples can cooperate to a degree necessary to retain mutual respect without war, in the interest of achieving long-term change which will use technology for mutual good, also “dodging the bullet” of climate change.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Bruce E. Johansen Why did I love this book?

Very probably the world’s foremost organizer against global warming, Bill McKibben played a leading role in founding, a worldwide citizen-based, grass-roots solution for climate changes that already are well underway.

An eloquent writer and author of several other books that focus on humankind’s debt to nature, his role as an author on natural issues began in 1989 with The End of Nature. In October, 2009, McKibben took a leading role in organizing what CNN called “The most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.”  

By Bill McKibben,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eaarth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twenty years ago, with "The End of Nature", Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth. That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A…

Book cover of Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast

Bruce E. Johansen Why did I love this book?

Archer, a computational ocean chemist at the University of Chicago, is best-known for his work on the carbon cycle and its interaction with global climate, past, present, and future.

While Archer’s credentials may have some readers thinking of a starchy academic paper, Archer’s book is quite accessible, and a very good start to understanding the science of climate change. Howard Falcon Lang of the University of Bristol calls it ”a tour de force of elegant exposition on one of the most important issues of our time.”

It is not only accessible, but also lucid and sometimes entertaining. 

By David Archer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Global Warming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the author's highly successful undergraduate course taught at the University of Chicago, Global Warming presents the processes of climate change and climate stability. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, this Second Edition not only summarizes scientific evidence, but also presents economic and political issues related to global warming.

Book cover of Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

Bruce E. Johansen Why did I love this book?

This book dissects the arguments of global-warming opponents through the scientific lens of Jim Hansen, who at the time it was published, directed the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

Hansen and Bowen finds the climate deniers’ opinions dangerous for their inaccuracies and ignorance of how the geophysical world works. For interpreting geophysical reality to those who didn’t want to hear it (or stood to lose money if such thinking became part of policy), Hansen became a target to some, and a hero to others.

It’s not a common event to see a renowned scientist carried away from a protest in handcuffs. Hansen got used to it. 

By Mark Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Censoring Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Documents the Bush administration's censorship of a leading climatologist whose work demonstrated the significant dangers of global warming, in an account that explains the scientific principles behind global warming while identifying ways to prevent an imminent environmental disaster.

Book cover of Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

Bruce E. Johansen Why did I love this book?

Hansen is probably the grandfather of warnings about climate change in our time.

Former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Hansen and colleagues sounded the first widely circulated alarm regarding climate change and its potential effects in Science during 1980. This eloquent book is both an explanation of the science and a call to arms that concentrates on what we must do to preserve a livable Earth for our children and grandchildren.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called Hansen “The Paul Revere” of global warming….who has braved criticism and censure.” He has a rare combination of scientific expertise and commitment to humanity’s future necessary to face a new world of climate peril. Ask him about how Venus got an atmosphere of 900 degrees F, and what it might mean for the future Earth.

By James Hansen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Storms of My Grandchildren as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his Q&A with Bill McKibben featured in the paperback edition of Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. James Hansen, the world's leading climatologist, shows that exactly contrary to the impression the public has received, the science of climate change has become even clearer and sharper since the hardcover was released. In Storms of My Grandchildren, Hansen speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: The planet is hurtling even more rapidly than previously acknowledged to a climatic point of no return. In explaining the science of climate change, Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture…

Book cover of An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do about It

Bruce E. Johansen Why did I love this book?

As a former vice president of the United States, Gore was the best-known American political figure to make climate change a priority personal and professional issue as early as the 1980s, literally forcing it into the United States and world political discourse, meanwhile using mass politics as a springboard to publicize the importance of the issue in the present world and for many generations to come.

As with many people who study the subject, Gore made combating climate change a large part of his life’s work, as he went on a lecture circuit with a ladder and magic marker to show how quickly the concentration of carbon dioxide had risen during the past few centuries.

By Al Gore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Inconvenient Truth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

An Inconvenient Truth—Gore's groundbreaking, battle cry of a follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance—is being published to tie in with a documentary film of the same name. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. He…

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Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

By John Kenneth White,

Book cover of Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

John Kenneth White Author Of Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading was a childhood passion of mine. My mother was a librarian and got me interested in reading early in life. When John F. Kennedy was running for president and after his assassination, I became intensely interested in politics. In addition to reading history and political biographies, I consumed newspapers and television news. It is this background that I have drawn upon over the decades that has added value to my research.

John's book list on who we are, how we’ve changed, and what gives us hope

What is my book about?

It didn’t begin with Donald Trump. When the Republican Party lost five straight presidential elections during the 1930s and 1940s, three things happened: (1) Republicans came to believe that presidential elections are rigged; (2) Conspiracy theories arose and were believed; and (3) The presidency was elevated to cult-like status.

Long before Trump, each of these phenomena grew in importance. The John Birch Society and McCarthyism became powerful forces; Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first “personal president” to rise above the party; and the development of what Harry Truman called “the big lie,” where outrageous falsehoods came to be believed. Trump follows a pattern that was long established within the Republican Party. This is an untold story that resonates powerfully in the present.

Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

By John Kenneth White,

What is this book about?

It didn't begin with Donald Trump. The unraveling of the Grand Old Party has been decades in the making. Since the time of FDR, the Republican Party has been home to conspiracy thinking, including a belief that lost elections were rigged. And when Republicans later won the White House, the party elevated their presidents to heroic status-a predisposition that eventually posed a threat to democracy. Building on his esteemed 2016 book, What Happened to the Republican Party?, John Kenneth White proposes to explain why this happened-not just the election of Trump but the authoritarian shift in the party as a…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in climate change, global warming, and climate fiction?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about climate change, global warming, and climate fiction.

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