George Marshall, 'Carbon Detox: Your Step-by-step Guide to Getting Real About Climate Change'

IssueFebruary 2008
Review by Andrea Needham

Why do we need another book on climate change? According to George Marshall, because climate change is “the greatest moral challenge we have ever faced” but is generally presented in a way which is “baffling, boring, and irrelevant” (oh, and we're all in denial about it anyway).

He aims - by presenting only the bare scientific facts, and concentrating on the essential issue of how to come to terms with the problem we face and reduce our personal emissions - to give us a book which will motivate us not only to act, but to persuade others to act too. Those wishing for more facts can follow up some of the excellent appendices.

I found the jokey style a little hard-going at times, but the strength of this book lies firstly in the detailed carbon calculator (which counts not just carbon but also methane and nitrous oxide emissions), and secondly in the many chapters full of concrete suggestions as to how we can each cut down. Each step is quantified so we can see, for instance, that whilst not using plastic bags barely impacts on our emissions at all, not flying makes a vast difference.

Overall, this is an accessible and important book, especially for those wishing to reduce their emissions but are not sure where to start. It would make a great workbook for a fledgling climate change group - start your own now!

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