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Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map

by Cleo Paskal

As climate change increasingly becomes part of our everyday concerns, a need has emerged for international experts to help make sense of its potential consequences. In Global Warring, journalist Cleo Paskal does exactly that. Unlike so many other books on the subject, Paskal doesn’t limit her scope to the catastrophic environmental damage that climate change could wreak. Instead, she expands her scope to provide a thorough and detailed explanation of how this looming environmental crisis will impact global security and the geopolitical status quo.

Paskal, a consultant to private industry and governments from around the world, extrapolates from recent environmental disasters – such as Hurricane Katrina, the deadly European heatwave, and the Asian tsunami – to illustrate what we can expect as climate change causes more and more extreme and unpredictable weather. She then examines how these forces will alter each region of the world and identifies who is most vulnerable. She also explains which countries are best positioned to emerge as the new power-brokers.

Of particular interest to Canadian readers is Paskal’s perceptive dissection of the issues surrounding the Arctic. As rising temperatures melt standing ice and unlock the Northwest Passage, Paskal notes, Canada’s North will become one of the world’s major transportation “choke points.” Pascal delves into the complex international interests in the Arctic, paying special attention to the disputes between Canada, the U.S., and Russia.

Though she takes a conservative approach in her projections of what climate change will mean for our world, her analysis will nevertheless astonish readers. By expertly demonstrating large-scale vulnerabilities in much of the world’s most crucial infrastructure, Paskal sounds an alarm that we need to hear. Without thoughtful long-term planning and laws that take climate change into account, the pattern of economic, political, and human instability caused by increasingly erratic weather will only get worse.

Global Warring is a pleasure to read, even though its message is distressing. It is neither a sabre-rattling activist’s rant nor a dreary policy tome, although it contains the most significant aspects of each. It is a book that makes the reader sit up and take notice and, with luck, take action.