7 essential books for climate and environmental studies

Environment Journal runs through a small library of  publications on everything from communicating about climate change to developing solutions for the crisis. 

Taking time out from a day peruse pages isn’t always easy. Not least in a world where so many jobs revolve around absorbing information. 

There’s also a question of time and place. A summer break, for example, might not feel like the right opportunity to dive deep into subjects closely linked to your work. There’s always a risk of winding up on a busman’s holiday. But it’s also possible to strike a balance. 

That’s a running theme throughout most titles on our list of essential books for climate and environment studies. Presenting measured, well-researched and insightful information based on the past 50 years of investigation and science, during which we’ve begun to understand the impact of phenomena like global warming and climate change, these books are as gripping as they are required reading. 

And many go beyond that, encouraging new ways of approaching professional responsibilities, offering case studies of best practice and an understanding of where policy, investment and intention might have gone wrong in the past. Each has been selected for relevance to a particular job, so whether you’re a Net Zero Lead or work in press and marketing, there’s something here for you. 

Best for Campaigners: The New Climate War by Michael Mann

Michael Mann put his neck on the line in 1999 with the ‘hockey stick graph’ of human contributions to temperature rise, and despite lots of criticism, dismissal, and anger aimed at him, he’s never given up. The New Climate War is about how forces such as the fossil fuel industry have changed methods and tactics as evidence of the emergency mounts, and directly deals with misinformation and inaction. 

Best for Net Zero Experts: Supercharge Me Net Zero Faster by Eric Longergan

Policy economist and Angrynomics author Eric Lonergan and sustainability and climate advisor-investor Corinne Sawers discuss success stories from the world’s net zero and environmental projects. In doing so, they reveal a cheat sheet of high impact policy hacks, engaging with ideas including the use of green to power economic regeneration and growth. 

Best for Policymakers: The Climate Casino – Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World by William D. Nordhaus 

Environment Journal has previously written extensively on the climate litigation and contract law boom. William D. Nordhaus takes this further, first exploring economic implications of climate change on policy options, then assessing the cost and benefits of mitigation

Best for Communcations: This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate by Naomi Klein 

Earlier this year, Environment Journal looked at how climate misinformation is sowing the seeds of distrust in community projects. Naomi Klein goes for a macro investigation into the same thing, from advertising to lobbying, providing an invaluable understanding on the current state of communication around climate change, while also challenging free market approaches to tackling the crisis. 

Best for Planning: Urban Jungle – Wilding the City by Ben Wilson

Mapping out cities past, present and future, Ben Wilson argues urbanity has always had nature at its heart, and not just in terms of landmark parks and pristine gardens. Honing in on the wilderness within our towns, this book considers how many metropolitan areas are now looking to untamed nature for protection from our changing world. 

Best for Data Visualisation: Sea Change – An Atlas of Island in a Rising Ocean by Christina Gerhardt  (pictured)

The most beautiful title on our list, Sea Change is also the most shocking. Atlases are being redrawn as islands vanish into the ocean. This remarkable hardback combines bold, slick and effective visualisations of those changes with factual information, cultural traditions and scientific research about the planet’s most vulnerable isles, and asks what might save them. 

More features:

WATCH: Earth Overshoot Day 2023 and Ecological Balance Sheets explained

An insider’s guide to sustainable summer holidays

How Essex County Council fuelled economic growth with energy retrofits

This is how waste-to-energy processes work

Image: Sea Change – An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean by Christina Gerhardt


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top