Kirill Kondratyev and his colleagues present an unusual look at global change issues, with particular emphasis on quantitative models that can capture diverse aspects of the complete Earth system—vegetation, atmosphere, oceans, and human beings. The focus is on the global carbon cycle as a prime indicator of global environmental stresses. It includes some remarkably sharp, and insightful critical analysis of the Kyoto Protocol and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change activity, and provides citations to a large sampling of Russian-language papers mostly unknown elsewhere.
The critique of current policy trends is, in many respects, the most interesting part of the book. The authors are skeptical of claims about attribution of recent climate trends to human intervention, but devastating in their demolition of the “skeptics” views that nothing is seriously wrong in the global environmental system. They convincingly bring to bear the most telling observations and facts to make these arguments compelling and clarifying.