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Publisher's Summary

"Surging sea levels are inundating the coasts."

"Hurricanes and tornadoes are becoming fiercer and more frequent."

"Climate change will be an economic disaster."

You've heard all this presented as fact. But according to science,  all of these statements are profoundly misleading.

When it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that "the science is settled." In reality, the long game of telephone from research to reports to the popular media is corrupted by misunderstanding and misinformation. Core questions - about the way the climate is responding to our influence, and what the impacts will be - remain largely unanswered. The climate is changing, but the why and how aren't as clear as you've probably been led to believe. 

Now, one of America's most distinguished scientists is clearing away the fog to explain what science really says (and doesn't say) about our changing climate. In Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters, Steven Koonin draws upon his decades of experience - including as a top science advisor to the Obama administration - to provide up-to-date insights and expert perspective free from political agendas. 

Fascinating, clear-headed, and full of surprises, this book gives listeners the tools to both understand the climate issue and be savvier consumers of science media in general. Koonin takes listeners behind the headlines to the more nuanced science itself, showing us where it comes from and guiding us through the implications of the evidence. He dispels popular myths and unveils little-known truths: despite a dramatic rise in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures actually decreased from 1940 to 1970. What's more, the models we use to predict the future aren't able to accurately describe the climate of the past, suggesting they are deeply flawed. 

Koonin also tackles society's response to a changing climate, using data-driven analysis to explain why many proposed "solutions" would be ineffective, and discussing how alternatives like adaptation and, if necessary, geoengineering will ensure humanity continues to prosper. Unsettled is a reality check buoyed by hope, offering the truth about climate science that you aren't getting elsewhere - what we know, what we don't, and what it all means for our future. 

©2021 Steven E. Koonin (P)2021 BenBella Books

What listeners say about Unsettled

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Excellent science based

Very informative and made me aware of how certain groups misuse data or cherry pick to push an agenda. People are smart enough to make up their own mind when given all the facts.

16 people found this helpful

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Very useful book

A thoughtful counter to climate hysteria. Really like how he dissects graphs that purport to show rapid warming and larger storms using clear methodologies and data. As someone who has worked on large models I have to agree that modelers think too highly of their often speculative model results.

13 people found this helpful

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Informative read

Remarkably a-political for such a polarizing topic. Author does a really good job of using examples to establish his reasoning for why you should look closely at the data. Believe he genuinely wants to get the most precise and accurate information so everyone can use that data as the starting point for discussions on where we go from here. Will recommend to friends.

9 people found this helpful

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Uncommon common sense

I’ve been interested in environmental and energy policy for more than 50 years and I’ve followed both sides of the climate debate for over 20 years. Steven Koonin has done a masterful job of making the arcane jargon of climate science clear and understandable for everyone. If you would like an honest fresh look at what the real data shows then read or listen to this book and then form your own opinion. Finally, the graphs in the accompanying PDF are very informative.

8 people found this helpful

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At Last!

I have been waiting many years for this book. It is an intelligent, informed, and comprehensive dive into the world of climate science. The Audible narrator’s presentation is clear and unobtrusive; his tone is appropriate to the subject. A pleasure to read from beginning to end.

8 people found this helpful

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this book settled it for me

If only other issues under debate would be treated like this one clarifies "global warming" using intelligence, science and the courage of true freedom of speech, we'd be so much better off.

8 people found this helpful

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sober analysis

THE book that could rationally inform climate policy--if it can break thru dominant media propaganda

7 people found this helpful

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Awesome, educational and courageous defense of the Importance of the integrity of the scientific method

This is a n honest review of climate science and the short comings of our media , politics, and even our experts. He did not spare or favor any group. I would hope my children and grandchildren have an opportunity to read it.

6 people found this helpful

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A Must Read!

A Must read for all, alarmists, deniers, and everyone in between. Precise, non-ideological, and readable.

5 people found this helpful

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A good read/listening experience

I was skeptical that someone from the Obama Energy Department would give a fair review of the issues involved, but Mr. Koonin has indeed done so in an intelligible and interesting way. I think the one shortcoming in his presentation is the concentration on the recent past as opposed to the geologic past, but I think he gets to the right conclusions in spite of that. It’s refreshing to note that he is willing to lean into the wind on “consensus “ and defend the skeptics who risk their livelihoods to defend the scientific method, and the lack of certainly that results therefrom. His summary of the issues and his resulting recommendations are worthy of our attention. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with those of us who are not scientifically trained and who rely on those who are to provide an honest description of the issues at hand and our options of addressing them.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Phil
  • 01-27-22

A truely scientific approach to climate change

I thought this book used pure science to deal a significant blow to the over hyped climate change debate. While accepting human induced climate change exists, the book clearly shows how the science is not 'settled' as many in the media want us to believe. First by highlighting the falsehoods introduced into the climate change government reports as well as clearly showing how and why human induced climate change is likely to have little real world impact on the world economy.
I see a distinct correlation between climate model economic disaster hype and recent covid model lockdown hype. Both beg the same question... Is the cure worse than the sickness?
A great read for anyone who believes in open debate and the scientific method.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kefuddle
  • 07-29-21

A Vitally Important Book

This is vitally important. Especially when read with Shellenberger's "Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All"

Excellently structured and explained. I think this book will be accessible for anyone. Koonin shows that there is no evidence at all for man-made climate change. Whilst Shellenberger shows that the green measures we put in place, actually do real environmental damage.

Having read the IPCC reports for the last couple of decades and being absolutely stunned at the total and complete gulf between the nuanced, cautious, heavily caveated science and the proclamations of apocalypse in "Summary for Policymakers" and amplified and exaggerated reports in the media, I am not surprised at all.

For those with the motivation and ability to digest the actual source data and reports, this book will come as no surprise.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mister Peridot
  • 06-14-22

Hope for the best & we will see!

Lots of excellent information & well presented data here. And the book is both readable & well read. But you do wonder why he regards CO2 emission reductions as being such a hopeless undertaking. A call to action on this front is certainly not supported by Koonin. As he basically says, if everything goes wrong climate wise we can try a bit of geo-engineering & If necessay just adapt! Whats missing to my mind is a proper discussion of runaway climate change, tipping points, the effect of ice loss in the Arctic, methane clathrates, etc. And the whole notion that the Earth has stable states. And that we may be taking the Earth from an Icehouse state to a Greenhouse state. No discussion of that possibility at all!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-13-22

more to come...

Not ready yet to write a full review. Still reading, thinking etcetera. But what I can tell now it is an amazing, honest and very informative book. Exactly what I needed.

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  • mark hughes
  • 05-17-22

insightful

What an incredibly interesting and insightful book, the references are up to date and relevant.

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  • H.L. Reader
  • 04-10-22

A must read for all educators

If you're a teacher, homeschooling, college lecturer, industry PR person or just have a big public platform, you need to read and understand this book then pass on the message to others.

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  • TC
  • 01-28-22

Challenging, well informed, instructive

Argued from a wealth of experience, read clearly and dispassionately, totally engaging and thought provoking. Well worth your time.

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  • Sols
  • 01-19-22

A fantastic commentary on climate science

A fantastic commentary on the state of climate modelling as it relates to anthropogenic climate change and why the science does not necessarily lend itself to the sensational stuff in the media.
If you only read one book on climate change this should be at the top of your list.
Steven Koonin doesn't pull any punches, his arguments are persuasive and his views come across as brutally and uncomfortably honest, the way people can be honest when they have no vested interests.
Excellently narrated by Jay Aaseng. Worth two listens! 😉

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  • Abusam
  • 01-18-22

An insider gives us the facts about climate change

This is an excellent book.
Piece by piece he looks at the evidence for climate change and concludes that while man is having an effect, it is probably lost within the noise of natural variation.
He then identifies the flaws in those who say climate change is an (imminent) man-made catastrophe by manipulating data and making wonky computer models to fit their agenda.
He notes that proper science should inform, rather than lead you to some pre-arranged conclusion.
His assertion that the media simply fail to understand the science is generous. I think they contribute to scaring folks.
What a shame that this more traditional science approach, is not given more coverage in the media.

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  • jake
  • 01-01-22

Misleading and cherry picked

Poor scientific integrity. Cherry picked studies & misleading claims.

The author has deemed himself unbiased, though a closer look at the citations used will show that this is a poorly researched title. Avoid.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-22

Breaking the mould

An extremely well written book that provides amazing insight based on facts around the hot topic of climate change. Koonin writes this book from the perspective of a scientist who is determined to have the facts told truthfully even if this is unfashionable. An easy read/listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Naoise McDonagh
  • 01-11-22

Crucial reading for everyone

A superb and judicious analysis of the shortcomings in climate science, and the role of mainstream media in misrepresenting or misinterpreting, or both, the IPCC reports. Koonan lays it out in layman's terms, without dumbing it down or patronizing the listener. In showing that "the Science" is a tool for silencing actual science, which is choc full of debate over the nature and extent of human impact on the climate, Koonan does the public a great service. Listen, read and do some thinking for yourself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-22

compelling and honest

finally the honest truth with appropriate facts and recommendations.

well worth the time spent listening

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jason P. Green
  • 05-02-22

Science without an Agenda

Actual Scientific Thought on this loaded subject for a change.
The book will challenge anyone who treats the subject like a religion.
Definitely recommended reading.