Everything you could possibly want to know about carbon — tonight on Colbert

carbonage-small.jpgFivetime Climate Progress blogger (and former Time magazine reporter) Eric Roston has just published The Carbon Age: How Life’s Core Element Has Become Civilization’s Greatest Threat.

He will be appearing on The Colbert Report tonight at 11:30. I hope he fares better than the Sierra club’s Carl Pope.

If Time magazine can call it “engaging” with a “powerful conclusion,” then I can certainly testify it is the definitive book on the most vital — and most dangerous — element in the universe. Publisher’s Weekly says:

Roston, a former Time writer on technology and energy, positively revels in the chance to dig deep into the ubiquitous, life-enabling carbon. He begins his first book with the science of this element: how the element first appeared when stars burned helium into carb on; how, before there was life on earth, plate tectonics drove the planet’s carbon flow through the atmosphere, land and oceans; and how the development of the earliest organisms reshaped the carbon cycle. Turning to humans’ use of carbon and consequent speeding up the carbon cycle, Roston is a whirlwind, explaining carbon’s role in the formation of everything from DNA to Kevlar bulletproof vests and, finally, carbon’s role in the earth’s climate. This is what Roston cares passionately about, and the sum of the parts of his energetic explanations of carbon’s uniqueness brings, for dedicated and attentive readers, a crystal-clear understanding of the global warming process. Roston never scrimps on explaining even complicated chemical processes, and the result is a convincing argument that the earth is at a crossroad, the time for denial has passed and the time for smart, innovative solutions has arrived.

Here are some jacket quotes:

“If you thought oxygen was important, wait till you read this brilliantly researched tale of carbon, the element that makes possible diamonds, the ‘lead’ in your pencil, even ‘you’– and the element that is likely to occupy many headlines in the years ahead because we can’t live without it and we may not be able to live with it.”–Norm Augustine, former chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation

“Carbon, the citizen king of elements, governs who we are and what life is–but the king is going mad! Citizens, revolt against the despots, or all may be lost!”–James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

“A most accessible and thoroughly enjoyable way to gain real insight into a series of profoundly important subjects including, notably, the hellish risks we now face with climate change. I liked this book and plan to read it again.”–James Gustave Speth, dean of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

And here are Roston’s blog posts:

9 Responses to Everything you could possibly want to know about carbon — tonight on Colbert

  1. john says:

    What a great concept for a book — an element, and one as fascinating as carbon!

    Poor Carl — he was certainly filleted and fried by Colbert. How do you prepare for someone so good at irony, and in a society that seems immune to irony, and impervious to subtlety is Colbert’s real point lost?

  2. Joe says:

    John — I do not believe it is possible to “beat” Colbert. He is funnier and faster than all of his guests. Plus, he has already laid out his plan of attack. I think the best that one could do is to accept everything he says and try to turn it back on him. But you might as well forget pushing their own message.

  3. Mark Shapiro says:

    OT, but Paul Krugman has a must-read at
    about a paper by economist Marty Weitzman

    It’s good that the MSM are looking more closely at the risks, but Krugman (and Weitzman) need help: they think that a 20 deg C rise would be a catastrophe!
    (And that 2x CO2 is inevitable). Catastrophe starts way before 20 deg C.

  4. Ronald says:

    At least he will be on the only hard news channel left of TV.

  5. paulm says:

    Mark Shapiro, good link. Yes, it is sad that Krugman with all the research he must have performed is quoting a figure like 20 deg! You can see why the public does not have a clue whats in store.

    I can not understand how any serious risk analysis performed on climate change impacts does not indicate alarming results! Surely they must have been done before by capable professionals, why have they not had any impact on our politics (and media).

    We are surely still a very shallow species….

    The insurance industry is now sitting up and acting, but that took them awhile.

  6. David B. Benson says:

    Somewhat off-topic, but I thought folks here ought to know.

    “China’s Power Crisis Deepens as Coal Supply Dwindles (Update1)”

  7. Dano says:

    I thought Eric held his own quite well.



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