The End of Ice – A review


On January 21st this year I republished a post by Tom Engelhardt and called it The song this planet needs to hear. His post was essentially a piece written for Tom by Dahr Jamail. It was called A Planet in Crisis and it included reference to a recently published book The End of Ice.

Subsequently, I decided to order the book by Dahr Jamail, it arrived a week ago and I ended up finishing it last Saturday.

I was minded to publish a review of the book, and here it is:

The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail

This is a book that I wished I had not read.

Yet, this is a book that once started I wanted to finish, and finish quickly.

It’s a brilliant book. Very impressive and very readable.  But I speak of it from a technical point-of-view.

Now that I have finished it life will never be quite the same again. Nor, for that matter, for anyone else who chooses to read it.

Dahr Jamail has a background as a reporter, with some other books under his belt. But his reporting skills really come to the fore with The End Of Ice. For he has travelled the world speaking to experts in their own field and listening to what they say about the future prognosis of the planet that you and I, and everyone else lives on.

Earth has not seen current atmospheric CO2 levels since the Pliocene, some 3 million years ago. Three-quarters of that CO2 will still be here in five hundred years. Given that it takes a decade to experience the full warming effects of CO2 emissions, we are still that far away from experiencing  the impact of all the CO2 that we are currently emitting. (p.5)

And if you are below the age of 60 or thereabouts you are going to experience this changing world head on. To be honest, whatever age you are things are starting to change.

Take this:

We are already facing mass extinction. There is no removing the heat we have introduced into our oceans, nor the 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every single year. There may be no changing what is happening, and far worse things are coming. (p.218)

It really is a grim read. A grim but necessary read.

The eight chapters in the book spell out what is already happening. The diminishing glaciers and rising snow levels, the loss of coral, the rise in sea level and the loss of vast tracts of land as a consequence. Then there is the future of forests around the world. As I said, it is a grim read but a necessary one.

Towards the end of the book Dahr Jamail quotes author and storyteller Stephen Jenkinson:

“Grief requires us to know the time we’re in,” Jenkinson continues. “The great enemy of grief is hope. Hope is a four-letter word for people who are willing to know things for what they are. Our time requires us to be hope-free. To burn through the false choice of being hopeful and hopeless. They are the two sides of the same con job. Grief is required to proceed.” (p. 218)

Upon finishing this superb book, that you really do need to read, the one emotion that I was left with was grief. For what we have done to this planet. For what we are doing to this one and only home of ours.


P.S. Dogs would not have done this to our beautiful planet.

19 thoughts on “The End of Ice – A review

  1. This is a book that I wished I had not read

    That says it all, doesn’t it. Many years ago I wrote policy for Greenpeace (Australia) and when talking about the job I’d often say “I’m working to put myself out of a job. If I can do that, I’ll be thrilled.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this excellent review Paul.
    I notice that Dahr was on Thom Hartmann’s show a week or so back.

    And there’s another recent book called A Farewell To Ice, by Professor Peter Waddams of Cambridge. He’s been studying Artic sea ice for 40 years. Here’s his interview with Thom Hartmann.
    More and more scientists are talking about the possibility of accelerated/abrupt or ‘runaway’ climate change. They believe that the IPCC has not given enough consideration to tipping points and to self reinforcing feedback loops re increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and has therefore been far too conservative in its predictions.
    Certainly, the process of ecological collapse, due to climate change, deforestation and pollution is well underway and seems to be accelerating.
    This is all so depressing but I believe that it’s important to spread the word, especially to your loved ones – IF they are prepared to read or listen. It may be possible for them to at least take some personal measures to increase their resilience.
    Some more reading and listening for those inclined, or to pass on:-

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s the link to Thom Hartmann’s very interesting interview with the delightful Professor Peter Waddams of Cambridge, which I omitted above.
    His book A Farewell to Ice, came out 2 + years ago


    1. Margaret, thank you so much for the further information and links. There is no question that we are well past the point of no return. Indeed, the next decade, or even fewer years, are going to bring about changes that most have no idea about. We will watch the various videos tonight. Thank you one again!


      1. Margaret, we watched the interview with Dahr Jamail earlier today. It made very sobering watching. Watch the others when we can stomach them. Paul.


  4. Sadly, I came to the conclusion that we have left it too late to stop the climate catastrophe (at least to mammalia) that is coming.
    I answered a question on a website dealing with the subject of artificial intelligence; what will homes of the future look like?

    My answer was unlike most of the whizzy, futuristic answers that were put there.

    I felt that most likely, communities would live in geodesic domes for working, communal life and crop growth. (There would be no place for farmed animals though). And individual homes would be something like the underground ‘Earthships’ homes that are currently constructed in places like the Arizona dessert. I said that AI would have to regulate and artificially produce our living atmosphere using vast solar power arrays. I also said that wildlife and very poor people would congregate in the few oasis parkland environments, also created by artificial watering and weather creating. But that these environments would be harsh and challenging for the few remaining.
    My ideas were kind of unusual because none of those people saw climate as a big problem. I did note, that Elon Musk, was building tunnels for his driverless electric cars. I think there is another reason for that, rather than just staying away from congestion.

    Perhaps the moon will be colonised in the same way.

    I feel so sad to think the great forests, the beautiful diversity and the loveliness of all life forms will disappear and earth will revert to a rocky, dry planet.


    1. Colette, you paint a picture of the future that is a little extreme perhaps but understandably so. Earlier today, I was chatting to a younger man, aged 28, who I know reasonably well and he was wondering about the ability of mankind to be innovative and creative when they have to. That may be the case but I think that the loss of arctic ice and the resulting disturbed weather patterns not to mention sea level rise is already baked in.


  5. Our politicians are burying their heads when it comes to our future. The planet is undergoing extreme changes and I fear we have seen nothing yet, You only have to look at the extreme cold now sweeping America with the Polar Vortex. and the Heat in Australia to witness how our planets environment is altering.
    A very informative review Paul Thank you


    1. Thank you, Sue. Sometimes I think I should leave it alone and just focus one hundred percent on dogs. But then again the changing planet will affect dogs just as much. As you say, we have seen nothing yet!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We have just watched the Scientist’s Warning video that Margaret included above. It’s not long, just 35 minutes, but it’s powerful beyond words. I have now joined Scientist’s Warning as an individual member.


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