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Mark Lynas is one of the leading voices in the climate change debate in the UK. He has worked full-time on the issue since 2000, when he left the website OneWorld.net (where he was editor) to embark on a three-year journey of discovery around the world investigating the impacts of global warming. This journey later became the best-selling book High Tide: News from a Warming World, published by HarperCollins and long-listed for two major literary prizes. It is published in paperback for the UK market on 15 March 2005. His ground-breaking global warming reportage work has also been much-imitated, not least by correspondents from both the BBC and Channel 4!
Having spent many years as both a journalist and an environmental campaigner (at one point helping construct tree-houses on the prospective site of Manchester Airport’s second runway, and leading an ‘office occupation’ of Monsanto Co’s HQ) he has often been a very critical voice about the way that business has failed to face up to the challenges of environmental sustainability and global warming in particular. Rather than being seen as a threat, he feels that the business community should focus on the opportunities for innovation and new technologies that climate change mitigation offers.
His book High Tide has also been published in Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Swedish and German, and he has conducted speaking tours in places as far afield as the United States, Australia and Switzerland. His policy statements can be radical and controversial, but his analysis of the climate change problem is firmly rooted in science. He has contributed to numerous media over the years, appearing frequently on TV and radio shows varying from GMTV to Newsnight. Most recently, he contributed to Radio 4’s Today Programme, arguing that the growth in air travel can only come at a major cost to the world’s climate.
Areas of Expertise
Mark is interested both in the scientific and political challenges of climate change. Whilst the scientific debate about the reality of global warming is now resolved (it’s real), there are still questions over how fast the planet will warm, and how this will affect nature and humanity. Will London be submerged by rising seas? Will the ice caps melt? Will coral reefs survive? As a popular science writer, Mark is skilled at communicating scientific issues to a lay audience, and also dealing with queries and challenges from those he terms ‘climate change deniers’.
On the political front, global warming is now acknowledged – by everyone from Tony Blair to the Pentagon – as one of the most serious threats ever to confront humanity. And yet nothing seems to change: people go on living their destructive lifestyles as if nothing was happening. Why, for example, did more people turn up to the opening of a new Ikea store (resulting in a serious crush) than to a climate change march two days later?
This, and many other related issues have been investigated in Mark’s writing. Last year he co-authored a cover story feature for the New Statesman magazine asking: ‘Are we in denial about climate change?’ On a more scientific note, he authored a comment piece for the Washington Post about whether the four-strong surge of hurricanes hitting Florida in the summer of 2004 was likely to be related to global warming.
His current book project will – when published, again by HarperCollins, in 2006 – push the boundaries even further. Mark will be revealing just what different degrees of global warming will mean for the planet and its people. Based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, he will use his formidable skills as a journalist to piece together a terrifying portrait of a globe on the edge of disaster. Material from Six Degrees – the new book’s title – already features in his presentations, but only as a sneak preview!
Mark Lynas lives in Oxford with his partner Maria, and is imminently expecting
the arrival of their first child. He remains an optimist that we can ensure a habitable globe for his – and other – children.