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Scientists have been sounding the climate-change alarm for decades. But despite these dire warnings, a large swath of the public still refuses to believe, and both policymakers and businesses have been slow to act.

Executive Summary

Published earlier this year, the book "Fire and Flood" by Eugene Linden examines the questionable business decisions of industries, along with the missed opportunities and political failures that led the world to largely dismiss or ignore the threat of climate change. Here, CM Editor Kimberly Tallon digests the key points, including Linden's dressing down of the insurance industry.

In “Fire and Flood,” published earlier this year, Eugene Linden, a journalist who has been covering climate science for decades, examines the questionable business decisions, missed opportunities and political failures that led the world to largely dismiss or ignore the threat of climate change. The businesses of insurance and reinsurance are among those analyzed

Linden organizes his history of climate change into four “clocks,” with the first tracking climate-driven events in real time. In Clock 1, he discusses record-breaking temperatures, melting glaciers, sea-level rise, longer and more ferocious wildfire seasons, drought, more frequent and intense storms, etc. The other clocks represent scientific understanding of the threats posed by climate change; public awareness of those risks; and the reactions of business and finance. Linden follows the four clocks through the decades, explaining that while the climate-change clock kept ticking along, the other clocks continued to lag behind to varying degrees—and sometimes even backtracked.

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