An urgent treatise on rising sea levels predicts a wild and watery future

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Media Outlet: Science Magazine

Jeff Goodell's book, the Water Will Come, was reviewed in Science Magazine, where it was called "engaging," "accessible," and "thought-provoking."

It is hard to disagree with Jeff Goodell’s observation in his new book that “the water will come,” and “it will reshape our world.” As I write, Hurricane Irma is making landfall in Florida, even as governments and aid organizations struggle to respond to historic flooding in Texas and in South Asia.
The Water Will Come begins with the premise that sea-level rise, precipitated by climate change, is inevitable and that it will have massive consequences for settlements on coasts around the world. An attention-grabbing prologue envisions a future in which the sea has reclaimed large coastal areas, creating a new Atlantis. The question the book asks is not “What can we do to stop it?” but rather “What will it be like?” and “What will we do about it?” In other words, the focus is on adaptation to, rather than mitigation of, climate change.
Goodell does not waste much time rehashing the scientific arguments that establish the existence of anthropogenic climate change. Instead, he uses conversations with scientists and eyewitness accounts to reveal some of the processes that turn global warming into flooding and environmental change. These dramatic vignettes are balanced by a recognition that Earth has witnessed massive changes in temperature and sea level in the past and will do so again long after we are gone.


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Jeff Goodell was a Class of 2016 & 2017 New America Fellow, working on a book about the impact of sea level rise on Miami, and other cities around the world. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of five books.