Slow Burn: The Hidden Costs of a Warming World

Princeton Univ. Apr. 2024. 344p. ISBN 9780691221038. $29.95. ECON
In this deeply researched book about the effects of climate change, environmental and labor economist Park (Univ. of Pennsylvania) warns that global warming’s impact goes beyond the weather events in the news. He demonstrates the sweeping effects of climate change on health, education, and productivity by taking an economic approach to the analysis of even minor increases in the average temperature of the planet. His book spotlights research indicating how higher temperatures negatively affect worker productivity, conflict, violence, and student learning, achievement, and performance on tests. For example, increases in the number and size of forest fires not only cause disastrous damage to homes, property, and lives, they also create long-term damage thousands of miles away due to the spread of smoke, impacting the economy, health, and mortality. He argues that societies need to tackle these dangers and that it will take a globally coordinated approach to ameliorate them.
VERDICT With gripping prose, this book encourages policymakers to consider the many hazards associated with the unavoidable increases in global temperature that the world faces. This is a call to arms addressing one of the most critical issues of contemporary times.
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