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Political Science Environmental Policy

Carbon Blues

Cars, Catastrophes, and the Battle for the Environment

by (author) Mike Mason

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Environmental Policy
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price

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Climate change is the most serious crisis of our time. As history is being written in fire in California and Greece, in the warming waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and in the melting ice of the Arctic and Antarctica, Carbon Blues demystifies current debates on climate change, discussing everything from carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere caused by cars, coal, and oil to global warming and worsening natural disasters.

A detailed examination of the history of climate change and its present and future consequences, Carbon Blues traces the essential economic importance of coal in the nineteenth century and oil in the twentieth, emphasizing the role of the automobile and the internal combustion engine in the dereliction of our planet. Exposing campaigns to mislead the public, Mike Mason reveals that the fatal consequences of CO2 and NO2 have been widely known for decades but successfully discounted and manipulated by the carbon lobby led by Exxon, BP, figures such as the Koch brothers, and democratically elected governments. The book underlines the disturbing truth: that despite current attempts to remediate climate change, the harm already done - melting polar ice and the warming and rising of the seas - will be virtually irreversible.

As the fight against climate change comes to a head, Carbon Blues searches for fruitful ways forward.

About the author

Mike Mason has taught university courses in Third World history for more than twenty-five years. A former editor of the Canadian Journal of African Studies, he holds degrees in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia, and African Studies from the University of Birmingham, where he specialized in Muslim Africa. He is presently associate professor of history at Concordia University in Montreal.

Mike Mason's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"It is worth saying that it is preposterous that in a world where we can get energy from the sun, the wind, and the tides -- all above ground -- we still get energy by sending miners underground to dig coal, and by defacing the landscape in search of oil and with the construction of pipelines. Carbon Blues is a timely synthesis of the daunting subject of climate change and makes an important contribution to discourse on the topic in society and in the classroom." Laurel Sefton MacDowell, University of Toronto and author of An Environmental History of Canada

"In this solidly-written book, Mason, author of Turbulent Empires, sweeps through a variety of contexts related to climate change, history, current events, and the future. Many of today's climate change narratives are depressing. To some it feels as if society is collectively singling the blues. To some it feels as it society is collectively singling the blues. Mason's test is written in this vein, though there is a bit of jazz to be found in it as well." Choice

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