Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (358 pages), ISBN 978-0-00-720905-7 is a 2007 (2008 in USA) non-fiction book by author Mark Lynas about global warming. The book looks and attempts to summarize results from scientific papers on climate change.

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
Six Degrees Our Future on a Hotter Planet.jpg
AuthorMark Lynas
CountryGreat Britain
GenreScience, Non-fiction
PublisherFourth Estate
Publication date
2007, 2008 in USA
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Followed byThe God Species 


The tropical and subtropical zones are likely to become uninhabitable at 5 or 6 degrees of warming, according to Lynas' exhaustive review of the broad spectrum of climate research. The tropical zone is here highlighted in red. The subtropical zone is highlighted in yellow below.

The first chapter describes the expected effects of climate change with one degree (°C) increase in average global temperature since pre-industrial times.

The second chapter describes the effects of two degrees average temperature and so forth until Chapter 6 which shows the expected effects of six degrees(°) average global temperature. The effects are also compared to paleoclimatic studies, with six degrees of warming compared back to the Cretaceous.[citation needed]

Special coverage is given to the positive feedback mechanisms that could dramatically accelerate climate change. The book explains how the release of methane hydrate and the release of methane from melting permafrost could unleash a major extinction event. Carbon cycle feedbacks, the demise of coral, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and extreme desertification are also described, with five or six degrees of warming potentially leading to the complete uninhabitability of the tropics and subtropics, as well as extreme water and food shortages, possibly leading to mass migration of billions of people.

Subtropical zone in the 20th century

TV showEdit

A National Geographic Channel TV programme,"Six Degrees Could Change The World"[1] was produced after the book won the Royal Society Prize in 2008.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Six degrees could change the world on YouTube
  2. ^ "Shortlisted entries". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2014-04-11.

External linksEdit

  • What will climate change do to our planet?, The Sunday Times, March 11, 2007. Summary of some of the book's key scenarios.
  • Six steps to hell, The Guardian, 23 April 2007. Summary article by the book's author.
  • "After Words interview with Lynas on Six Degrees, March 15, 2008". C-SPAN Video Library. February 5, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2016. After Words with Mark Lynas Mark Lynas talked about his book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, published by National Geographic. Mr. Lynas says scientific studies show that global warming in the last century has pushed the Earth’s temperatures up to unprecedented levels and he says the world’s population must make changes now in order to avert disaster. The guest interviewer was Gene Karpinski. The 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projecting average global surface temperatures to rise between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius (roughly 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. Based on this forecast, Mr. Lynas outlines in his book what to expect from a warming world, degree by degree. At 1 degree Celsius, most coral reefs and many mountain glaciers would be lost. A 3-degree rise would spell the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, disappearance of Greenland’s ice sheet, and the creation of deserts across the Midwestern United States and southern Africa. A 6-degree increase would eliminate most life on Earth, including much of humanity. Mark Lynas is journalist who writes for British publications the New Statesman and Guardian. He is the author of two other books on climate change, High Tide and Carbon Calculator. In 2006, National Geographic selected Mr. Lynas as an Emerging Explorer and recently produced a documentary based on his third book, Six Degrees. Gene Karpinski is the president of the League of Conservation Voters, a nonprofit organization focusing on environmental policy. Mr. Karpinski was formerly the executive director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.