15 Best Books on Climate Change

So you want to learn about climate change—but where to begin? We live in what many scientists call the Anthropocene Epoch, an era of geological time characterized by human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. As the earth’s temperature rises and natural disasters occur with alarming frequency, the environment is quickly careening toward a breaking point from which we can never turn back. But understanding the litany of facts about the state of our planet is just the beginning. Next, you’ll want to explore the sociopolitical intersections of those facts, from the disproportionate effect of climate change on Native populations and people of color, to the corporate profit motives and disinformation campaigns preventing us from ushering in climate-friendly policy initiatives.

We’ve rounded up 15 of the most essential texts about climate change to get you started—some old, some new, all urgently clear-eyed about the problems facing our planet. It’s by no means an encyclopedic survey, but consider it a comprehensive syllabus for anyone looking to broaden their knowledge. Once you’ve read these books, you’ll be ready to call your representatives, hit some Sunrise Movement protests, and become a force for change in your community.

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns with another sobering look at our Anthropocene Epoch, this time centered not on the countless calamities ahead, but on the trailblazing efforts of scientists to turn back the doomsday clock. Kolbert describes the subjects of Under a White Sky as “people trying to solve problems created by people trying to solve problems”; she turns her lens to human interventions in nature, like the storied redirection of the Chicago River, and to the pressing need for further intervention to correct our folly. Traveling everywhere from the Great Lakes to the Great Barrier Reef, she chronicles her encounters with scientists, who are pioneering cutting-edge technologies to turn carbon emissions to stone and shoot diamonds in the stratosphere. Heralded by everyone from Barack Obama to Al Gore, Kolbert’s urgent, deeply researched text asks if our ingenuity can outrun our hubris.

Losing Earth: A Recent History, by Nathaniel Rich

Spanning the pivotal decade between 1979 and 1989, Losing Earth chronicles the rise of political awareness about global warming, along with the myriad failures of policymakers to address the growing climate emergency. Instead, as Rich reveals in painstaking historical detail, policymakers sided with profit-thirsty corporations, who mounted a massive campaign of disinformation and denialism that continues to shape our political life today. Though the subject of his book is the lost decade in the fight against climate crisis, Rich ultimately concludes on a hopeful note, arguing that we still have time to save our planet. Read Losing Earth’s stunning story of human greed and human folly to determine if you share his optimism.

Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, by McKenzie Funk

Brand: Penguin Press HC, The


You’ve read about the science of climate change—but what about the economics of it all? In the six years he spent reporting this meticulously constructed book, Funk traveled the world speaking with dozens of entrepreneurs wringing a hefty profit from climate change, from Israeli businessmen getting rich on manmade snow to Dutch architects designing floating cities. Climate crisis, as it turns out, is big business, with ungodly sums of money changing hands between a select few while the global masses suffer. Funk illuminates the craven business practices of environmental tycoons determined to keep society on life support, proving that the conventional wisdom holds true: when in doubt, follow the money.

Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet, by Jeanette Winter

Beach Lane Books

Struggling to explain climate change to the little ones in your life? This inspiring and informative picture book, targeted at children between the ages of three and eight, chronicles Greta Thunberg’s environmental awakening, from how she learned about the climate crisis in the classroom to how she took action for change. The book lays down a galvanizing challenge, asking its young readers what they will do to be a force for change, while celebrating the ability of children to be leaders. Share it with the little ones you love to start an important conversation.

Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, by Todd Miller

City Lights Publishers

In this prescient book, Miller travels the globe to document the large swaths of people displaced from their communities by climate catastrophe, resulting in an emerging wave of climate refugees. Miller makes a potent connection between climate displacement and border militarization, drawing on intensive research and statements from military officials to illuminate Homeland Security’s efforts to criminalize climate asylum seekers. By 2050, World Bank estimates that over one billion people will become climate refugees; unless our policymakers change course, those refugees will be pitted against the cruel, racist, and lucrative surveillance states portrayed with such cutting clarity in Storming the Wall.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells

Tim Duggan Books

“This is not a book about the science of warming; it is a book about what warming means to the way we live on this planet,” Wallace-Wells writes in The Uninhabitable Earth. Visceral and alarming, The Uninhabitable Earth transforms scientific predictions into lyrically-rendered realities, with Wallace-Wells painting grim portraits of what life will be like at each degree of warming. He predicts climate displacement, food insecurity, geopolitical war, global plagues, and cascading natural disasters, among other grim realities. The doom Wallace-Wells predicts is terrifying, merciless, and entirely self-inflicted. Consider The Uninhabitable Earth an impossible-to-look-away-from wake-up call, because as Wallace-Wells writes, “It is worse, much worse, than you think.”

Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, by George Marshall

Bloomsbury USA

Ever had a maddening argument with a climate change denialist, or wondered why policymakers remain immovable on addressing the growing climate crisis despite the mountain of scientific evidence available? In Don’t Even Think About It, Marshall, the founder of the Climate Outreach and Information Network, investigates how our psychology stymies substantive action, arguing that our innate sense of tribalism prevents us from operating in our best interest as a united collective. He also proposes a new language of outreach for the environmental movement—one optimized to win over even the staunchest denialist. Keep this shrewd and actionable book close in advance of your next family Thanksgiving.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken

In this sprawling compendium of innovations, Hawken spotlights one hundred cutting-edge technologies with the power to draw down the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Written by hundreds of expert researchers, these engaging, layman-friendly essays suggest solutions both systematic (educating women in lower-income countries, for example) and small-scale (swapping LED light bulbs into your light fixtures). Implementing these solutions on a global scale will require seismic policy shifts and massive investment, but Drawdown suggests that it’s possible to imagine a better future.

As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock, by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

We can’t discuss our threatened landscape without seeking justice for those from whom it was stolen to begin with: the Native American people, who for centuries have suffered from broken treaties, dispossession of ancestral lands, and food insecurity, among other cascading effects of the climate crisis and white supremacy. Through a lens she calls “Indigenized environmental justice,” Gilio-Whitaker confronts the long, shameful shadows of capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy. She frames the Native fight for environmental justice through the 2016 protests at Standing Rock, spotlighting these brave activists’ centuries-long fight for our fragile planet, as well as the urgent need for Native sovereignty.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein

Simon & Schuster

“Our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life,” the acclaimed author of The Shock Doctrine writes in this radical study of the fateful incompatibility between climate justice and capitalism. Klein lays out the disastrous consequences of deregulated global capitalism, arguing that corporations are profiting massively off their destruction of the planet, permitted to occur at a breakneck pace by lobbyists and politicians. The only way forward, Klein insists, is a radical structural overhaul of the global economic system, one foregrounding social and environmental justice. This Changes Everything is a crucial clarion call demanding that we reorganize our economic priorities before it’s too late.

Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Back Bay Books

Beginning with the question of whether or not he and his family should eat meat, the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer interrogates this complicated personal choice through a journalistic lens, interviewing everyone from family farmers to slaughterhouse workers to anti-meat activists. Foer addresses our willful ignorance about the inhumane realities of the meat supply chain, as well as the escalating effects of factory farming on the fragile environment. At once a personal and philosophical meditation on the familial meanings of food, as well as a rigorous investigation into the dangerous business of animal products, Eating Animals presents readers with a compelling body of research about one of our most important lifestyle choices.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, by Bill Gates

In 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $310 million to support climate adaptation efforts benefitting farmlands around the world. In this wonklike and persuasive book, Gates takes his environmental activism a bridge further, laying out an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050. Drawing on data from researchers, policymakers, and engineers, Gates advocates for solutions both scientific (like developing alternative fuels) and personal (like increasing civic engagement in environmental justice issues). If you feel a radical shred of hope reading these galvanizing pages, dare to let in—without hope, we’ll get nowhere.

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind, by Harriet A. Washington

Environmental racism is a widespread and life-threatening danger; in this enraging exposé, Washington illuminates the staggering extent of it, connecting corporate greed and government irresponsibility to housing discrimination practices, which leave Black Americans experiencing record exposure to pollution. Washington also challenges the dangerous and biased IQ myth, arguing that Black Americans are exposed to lead, mercury, and other toxins at exponentially higher rates than white Americans, leading to lifelong complications like Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and impaired cognitive function. In the final chapter, she lays out a wide variety of solutions to fight environmental racism, from community involvement to nationwide activism. It’s imperative that we reverse this unconscionable discrimination soon, as millions of lives, quite literally, depend on it.

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, by Amitav Ghosh

University of Chicago Press


In this surprising synthesis of disciplines, a novelist accustomed to writing climate fiction examines history, literature, and politics to understand why our foremost thinkers so often fail to confront the climate crisis. He argues that there lies “an imaginative and cultural failure” at the heart of the climate crisis, as storytellers and public intellectuals eschew the vital, “unthinkable” task of grappling with this singular moment. In a galvanizing and clear-eyed call to action, he urges that we must find artistic and cultural frameworks to move through and combat this crisis together, as going it alone spells our doom.

The Case for the Green New Deal, by Ann Pettifor

You’ve likely heard a lot about the Green New Deal, but you’d be forgiven if you’re not up to snuff on all the ins and outs of the meticulously-crafted policy. Pettifor, a British economist and a co-author of the Green New Deal, inspires and informs in this succinct book debunking claims that we can’t afford the legislation—in fact, she argues, we can’t afford not to pass it. Though the Green New Deal will require a complete overhaul of the international monetary system, Pettifor lays out a clear road map for the way forward, crafting a persuasive case for why we must act now. At just over two hundred pages, you could read this in an afternoon, then emerged a changed thinker.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

1 Comment

  1. thank you so much for this awe-inspiring web site me and my class admired this content and insight blackhat seo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *