Climate Change

An Encyclopedia of Science and History

by Brian C. Black, General Editor
David M. Hassenzahl, Jennie C. Stephens, Gary Weisel, and Nancy Gift, Associate Editors


Living patterns in the developed world have fueled the rapid pace of changes to our climate. The science underlying climate change has been understood by the scientific community for hundreds of years; as such, most developed nations have a strategy for mitigating the impacts of these changes. In the United States, however, our reluctance to accept the reality of climate change threatens our nation's ability to adapt.

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Cover image for Climate Change

January 2013


Pages 1774
Volumes 4
Size 7x10
Topics Current Events and Issues/Environment
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This book provides a holistic consideration of climate change that goes beyond pure science, fleshing out the discussion by considering cultural, historical, and policy-driven aspects of this important issue.

Climate change is a controversial topic that promises to reframe rudimentary ideas about our world and how we will live in it. The articles in Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science and History are designed to inform readers' decision making through the insight of scholars from around the world, each of whom brings a unique approach to this topic. The work goes beyond pure science to consider other important factors, weighing the cultural, historical, and policy-driven contributors to this issue. In addition, the book explores the ideas that have converged and evolved in order to clarify our current predicament.

By considering climate change in this holistic fashion, this reference collection will prepare readers to consider the issue from every angle. Each article in the work is suitable for general readers, particularly students in high school and college, and is intended to inform and educate anyone about climate change, providing valuable information regarding the stages of mitigation and adaptation that are occurring all around us.


  • Contributions from more than 100 experts
  • Excerpts from reports from international organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Transcripts of speeches from world leaders on the climate change issue
  • Sidebars on the "climate-history connection" explore the possible links between climate and key events through history, such as the Classical Maya collapse
  • Essential, annotated primary sources
  • Quotes from policy makers, scientists, eyewitnesses to climate change, and social and cultural leaders


  • Provides not only scientific details but also the historical background and the intellectual, cultural, and political contexts of the issue
  • Presents information that prepares readers for an inevitable future
Author Info

Brian C. Black, PhD, is head of the Division of Arts and Humanities and professor in the Departments of History and Environmental Studies at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College. He was previously co-coordinator of the program in environmental studies at Altoona College and visiting assistant professor at Skidmore College and Gettysburg College. He received his doctorate in American studies at the University of Kansas. His published works include the Greenwood titles Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Life; Nature and the Environment in Twentieth-Century American Life; and Alternative Energy and Global Warming in the Greenwood Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America series.

David M. Hassenzahl, PhD, is dean of the School of Sustainability and the Environment at Chatham University. He was previously associate professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is coauthor of Environment, Should We Risk It?, and Visualizing Environmental Science. Hassenzahl holds a doctorate from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.

Jennie C. Stephens, PhD, is associate professor of environmental science and policy at Clark University in Worcester, MA. Stephens' research on climate change mitigation and energy technology innovation has been published in multiple journals including Energy Policy, Environmental Science and Technology, Climatic Change, Global Environmental Change, Environmental Communication, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Stephens received her doctorate and master's degree at the California Institute of Technology and her bachelor's degree from Harvard University.

Gary Weisel, PhD, is professor of physics at Penn State Altoona. He holds a doctorate in physics from Duke University and a doctoral degree in history of science from the University of Florida. His published works include numerous articles in physics and history, as well as the reference book Global Warming (with Brian C. Black), published by Greenwood.

Nancy Gift, PhD, is Compton Chair of Sustainability at Berea College, Berea, KY. Her published works include A Weed by Any Other Name: The Virtues of a Messy Lawn, or Learning to Love the Plants We Don't Plant and Good Weed, Bad Weed. Gift holds a doctorate in weed science from Cornell University.



"This timely four-volume work on climate change is dedicated to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended."Choice

"Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science and History affords an excellent historical overview of the topic . . . . Students, researchers, and the general public will find the articles both informative and engaging."Booklist, Starred Review

"This volume set is a good resource for high school students and college undergraduates to find general information on a wide variety of topics associated with climate change. A nice feature is the Further Reading section at the end of each entry that lists publications and Websites providing additional material."ARBAonline


Core Collections Star Title, 2013 — H.W. Wilson, a division of EBSCO Publishing

2013 Editors' Choice — Booklist

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