Kolbert on Global Warming
Last night, in the packed basement auditorium of Town Hall, New Yorker writer and author Elizabeth Kolbert gave a lecture that was both informative and disappointing. Informative because it was full of facts and charts and words you’ve never heard before - like ratiospectrophotometer; disappointing because Kolbert, unlike in her much-heralded series on global warming in the New Yorker, “The Climate of Man”, seemed intent on bombarding the crowd with facts (including a lengthy history of climatology) without any narrative to link them together. I left convinced that global warming was both real and human-caused, but I already believed that going in—as did, I assume, the rest of the earth-tone-clad Seattle audience. What Kolbert didn’t tell me was what all her complex graphs and charts mean for actual people—or, more importantly, what I could do about what she described as “this inexorable process that we have set in motion.” Which is too bad, because her New Yorker series - all three parts of which can be found here, here and here - was great.