Review: TOAST – the new Australian primer on climate change

Toast describes the huge threat climate change poses to the world and to Australia in particular. It explains why this is so difficult to perceive. It sets out evidence that the climate scientists, not the denialists, are right.

Here’s what the book’s flyer says:

Toast describes the huge threat climate change poses to the world and to Australia in particular. It explains why this is so difficult to perceive. It sets out evidence that the climate scientists, not the denialists, are right. It describes how powerful interests have spread false information to undermine the science and promote denial. It shows how a technological revolution is making renewable power cheap and will see electric vehicles replace most of those with internal combustion engines. It describes gridlock in energy and environmental policy in Australia. It concludes that we are “toast”, with warming of three degrees or more this century, unless there is bold new leadership – and that even then we are not certain of being able to pull enough carbon dioxide out of the air to halt damaging climate change.

To my knowledge no other work so comprehensively yet concisely covers the environmental, cognitive, technical, economic and political dimensions of climate change than Ralph Evan’s book. Its startling front cover, with a flaming planet below the title Toast, immediately catches ones eye. Its eight chapters on the global problem, the factual evidence, the perception problem, the pseudo-science, the tribal sceptics, the new technologies, the political gridlock and the planet’s future make compulsory reading for anyone who wants to be conversant on the burning issue of this century.

Evans was the dux of his school (Cranbrook) and graduated as a mechanical engineer from Sydney University. He then did an MBA at Stanford University and was recruited by McKinsey & Company after which he co-founded the firm that became the Australian arm of the Boston Consulting Group. He has chaired a successful venture capital fund, been head of Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission), was CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and chaired the advisory board of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Earlier this year he was awarded an Order of Australia (AO) for his services to government, industry and community.

For the past five years Evans dedicated himself to researching climate change. The result is a book that pulls together all the strands of this topic in just 265 pages (plus a detailed index). It’s now out in paperback and Kindle and available on Amazon.

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is a public policy economist who served as NSW Treasury Secretary and chairman of the NSW Treasury Corporation.

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