Staff Pick: COP26

To mark the occasion of the COP26 summit in Glasgow this month, we asked our colleagues to recommend their favourite Yale environmental books.


November’s Staff Pick: The Carbon Crunch

Publisher & Managing Director, Heather McCallum recommends The Carbon Crunch by Dieter Helm

I’ve found all of Dieter Helm’s books both urgent and thought provoking but particularly enjoyed his attack on coal and carbon emissions in The Carbon Crunch.  Global warming is front and centre of course, but the sophisticated treatment ranges much more broadly than that through multiple surprising implications. It’s a lucid introduction to all the issues and stakes out a number of interesting alternatives and possibilities although several years on from its original publication the issues look slightly different – Helm addresses these in his updated edition of the work.

I’d also like to mention a rather older classic, The Coldest March by Susan Solomon.  This is a book about Scott’s doomed expedition to the Antarctic.  Solomon is an expert on glaciers and ozone depletion so her history of this fatal enterprise concentrates on the weather conditions and in particular she argues from historic weather data as well as modern recording equipment that the South Pole in March 1911 was battered by unpredictable and extremely bad conditions.  The author does justice to the characters and narrative in full but her rendering of just what they were up against in climatic terms (with the equipment of a hundred years ago) and how they experienced it is extraordinary.

Find out more about The Carbon Crunch and Dieter Helm’s other books here

Read an article by Dieter Helm on climate change here

More from the author:

Natural Capital


Senior Commissioning Editor, Joanna Godfrey recommends A Blue New Deal: Why We Need a New Politics for the Ocean by Chris Armstrong

I am really excited about Chris Armstrong’s A Blue New Deal which we are publishing in February. It’s a highly original and passionately-argued manifesto for ocean justice. Chris shows why urgent action is needed to combat the twin threats of climate change and inequality. His innovative proposals for a new model of ocean politics include rights for those working at sea and those threatened by sea-level rise as well as the idea of a powerful World Ocean Authority (a sort of UN for the ocean). It’s been a real delight to work with Chris on this manuscript and we are thrilled by the early praise and interest the book has received – we are looking forward to releasing it into the world in the New Year.

Find more about A Blue New Deal here


From the Marketing department, Charlotte S recommends Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior by Penny Sparke

Penny Sparke’s Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior presents our long relationship with indoor plants and our surroundings – and the ways they help maintain our connection to, and respect for, the natural world. It has been a fascinating book to work on, filled with fresh insights, including what the author describes as ‘the artistic face of environmentalism’, as well as attendant complexities including ‘greenwashing’, and tensions between ‘nature inside’ signifying a genuine commitment to environmentalism, or providing a way in which human beings maintain control over the natural world.

Penny is an excellent guide, and this thought provoking and beautiful book really does inspire new ways of thinking about our impact upon, and benefits from, our environment (we had some fun with the marketing too!).

Find out more about Nature Inside here

Read an article by Penny Sparke on eco-anxiety


Special Offer – 30% Off Environmental Books

Get 30% off selected Yale environmental books until 30th November. View all the books on offer and claim your discount here.


Featured Image: Photo by Sam Jotham Sutharson on Unsplash

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