In 1989 the first global warming book for a general audience was published. Titled The End of Nature, it was written by Bill McKibben, a morose young man with a dim view of humanity and an idealized view of nature.
It’s difficult to read this book without concluding that McKibben yearns to scamper back to Eden – to a mythical, undefiled, natural landscape that existed before humans turned up and spoiled everything.
The book says a number of things which, with 20 years of hindsight, look a little foolish. One is especially noteworthy. It concerns what the world will be like “in a few more decades” if we don’t heed the author’s apocalyptic warnings.
Because this book was published in 1989, much of it was researched and written in 1988 or even earlier. That’s 21+ years prior to where we are now. That’s before tens of billions of dollars had been spent studying global warming. That’s before the very first report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) appeared in 1990. (There have been three since then, the last one completed in 2007).