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Climate Change: A Wicked Problem
Complexity and Uncertainty at the Intersection of Science, Economics, Politics, and Human Behavior


Tony Earley, Bud Peterson, Arun Majumdar
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  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107109070

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About the Authors
  • Under one cover, Frank P. Incropera provides a comprehensive, objective and critical assessment of all issues germane to the climate change debate: science, technology options, economic ramifications, cultural and behavioural issues, the influence of special interests and public policy, geopolitics and ethical dimensions. The underlying science is treated in depth, but in an approachable and accessible manner. A strong case is made for the reality of anthropogenic climate change, while confronting the range of issues that remain uncertain and deconstructing opposing views. Incropera assesses the strengths and weaknesses of technology options for mitigating the effects of climate change, analyzes nontechnical factors - economic, cultural and political - and provides an in-depth treatment of ethical implications. This book is intended for those wishing to become fully informed about climate change and is designed to provide the reader with a firm foundation for drawing his or her own conclusions.

    • An honest, no-holds-barred, accessible assessment of climate change, for anyone wishing to be fully informed on the topic, that considers all aspects of the climate change issue: science, policy, economics and ethics
    • Confronts areas of uncertainty in the science head-on and deconstructs views dismissive of the science, providing clarity on what is known with certainty and where gaps in knowledge remain
    • Written by a top-ranking engineering textbook author with strong links to the business world
    • Includes forewords from a business leader (chief executive of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company) and from a leader in the academic world (president of the Georgia Institute of Technology)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This remarkable book … offers [a] most balanced, unbiased and holistic view … respect[s] the reader's prerogative to make up their own mind … As we enter a period of intense global and national discourse on this important topic, the timing of this book could not be better. People worldwide need to read Dr Incropera's book to map out for themselves the panoramic view of this multidimensional complex issue.' Arun Majumdar, Jay Precourt Professor, Stanford University; Former Vice President for Energy, Google; Founding Director, US Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E); and Former US Acting Undersecretary of Energy, Department of Energy, from the Foreword

    '… [does] a masterful job of bringing the reader on a journey through the science and debate.' Suresh V. Garimella, Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

    '… thorough and thoughtful, offering something to those already knowledgeable about the topic, while simultaneously remaining accessible to students approaching climate change for the first time.' Jeffrey A. Cunningham, University of South Florida

    'I can think of no better source of information than this book that presents - in a straightforward manner - many of the complex choices and trade-offs ahead of us as a society. It will challenge readers' preconceived notions intellectually, but they will walk away with a much better appreciation for what is really at stake.' Michael O'Sullivan, Senior Vice President, NextEra Energy

    '… [does] a masterful job of making the case for taking action now to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases attributable to human activity. [Incropera] does it in a way that even the most ardent skeptics will have to acknowledge is a persuasive and balanced case that respects counterarguments but engages them thoroughly and convincingly … required reading for every public policy student, legislator, regulator, and business decision maker in the energy space.' Anthony F. Earley, Jr, Chairman, CEO, and President, PG&E Corporation, from the Foreword

    'Who is this book written for? For anyone who is earnestly seeking to increase the breadth of his or her knowledge and understanding of one of the twenty-first century's most contentious issues … Whether the reader is a climate change novice or an experienced hand, a scientist or an interested layman, Climate Change: A Wicked Problem provides invaluable information and insights with which to intelligently engage in shaping the future of this monumental challenge. It will challenge your thinking regardless of your starting point.' G. P. 'Bud' Peterson, President, Georgia Institute of Technology, from the Foreword

    'Many debate the existence of climate change or global warming and use the two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same. … Incropera explains how changes in the Earth's biosphere … and cryosphere … create changes in the Earth's climate. The dialogue makes sense and Incropera adds facts and comparisons from the ice sheets during and after the ice age to those melting on Antartica and Greenland. … I found this a very interesting and enlightening read because I have had an interest in climate change and was under the mistaken assumption that climate change and global warming [were] one and the same. If you care about our planet and want to know what we need to do to reverse the effects of climate change this is a read for you.' Michelle Kaye Malsbury, (

    'A masterful job, comprehensively, objectively, and convincingly covering the different aspects of the important subject … written in a lucid, approachable style intended for 'anyone who is earnestly seeking to increase the breadth of his or her knowledge and understanding of one of the twenty-first century's most contentious issues'. … The three forewords … rightly praise the author's tenacity, objectivity, and foresight in studying the 'wicked' problem, offering an elective course on the broad subject, then writing the remarkable book. … Frank's labor of love is praiseworthy messianic. In my opinion, this book deserves much more attention than the one it has already garnered. A New York Times' review, a best-seller listing, and readership that approached that of an autobiography penned by a celebrity would all be warranted. The treatise is superbly researched, organized, written, and presented. I enthusiastically recommend the book for all who care about the future of our planet.' Mohamed Gad-el-Hak, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107109070
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.75kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 11 colour illus. 10 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword Tony Earley
    Foreword Bud Peterson
    Foreword Arun Majumdar
    1. Energy, economics, and climate change
    2. The Earth's climate system
    3. Greenhouse gases
    4. Global warming
    5. Consequences of global warming
    6. Mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering
    7. Public policy options
    8. The politics of global warming: a history lesson and future prospects
    9. Dissenting opinions: the great hoax
    10. The ethics of climate change
    11. A way forward

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    Climate Change: A Wicked Problem

    Frank P. Incropera

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  • Author

    Frank P. Incropera, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
    Frank P. Incropera is Clifford and Evelyn Brosey Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, where he also served as Dean of Engineering from 1998 until 2006. He spent a majority of his career at Purdue University, becoming a professor in 1973 and Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering from 1989 to 1998. Among his many honors, Professor Incropera has received the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Ralph Coats Roe Award for excellence in teaching (1982), the ASEE George Westinghouse Award for contributions to education (1983), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Heat Transfer Memorial Award (1988), the Melville Medal for the best original paper published by ASME (1988) and the Worcester Reed Warner Medal of ASME (1995). He received the Senior Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1988, and in 1996 was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering. In 2001 he was named by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the 100 most frequently cited engineering researchers in the world. He is a Fellow of ASME and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Professor Incropera has had a long-standing interest in heat and mass transfer. He has authored or co-authored numerous books on the subject, including Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, which has become the premier textbook in the field. He has also authored more than 200 journal articles. His work has addressed numerous fundamental issues, as well as applications dealing with energy conversion, biomedical engineering, electronics cooling and material processing. In the past ten years, his interests have turned to the broad range of technical and nontechnical issues associated with transition to a sustainable energy future. As well as academic research, he has worked extensively with members of the energy industry and business community.


    Tony Earley, Bud Peterson, Arun Majumdar

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