Forecast The Surprising--and Immediate--Consequences of Climate Change

Stephan Faris

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

256 Pages



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While reporting just outside of Darfur, Stephan Faris discovered that climate change was at the root of that conflict, and began to wonder what current and impending—and largely unanticipated—crises such changes have in store for the world. After years of travel, research, and reporting, Faris reached some alarming conclusions.

Global warming will spur the spread of many diseases. Italy has already experienced its first climate-change epidemic of a tropical disease, and malaria is gaining ground in Africa. The warming world will shift huge populations and potentially redraw political alliances around the globe, driving environmentalists into the hands of anti-immigrant groups. America's coasts are already more difficult places to live as increasing insurance rates make the Gulf Coast and other gorgeous spots prohibitively expensive. Crops will fail in previously lush places and thrive in some formerly barren zones, altering huge industries and remaking traditions. Water scarcity in India and Pakistan have the potential to inflame the conflict in Kashmir to unprecedented levels and draw the United States into the troubles there, and elsewhere.

Forecast is a thorough portrayal of the unexpected ways that climate change may affect the world in the near future—politically, economically, and culturally.


Praise for Forecast

"Engaging, thoroughly researched reportage . . . [Faris] elegantly negotiates the tricky line between the personal and political, and in doing so provides a more accurate and powerful warning about the perils of climate change than many other books in the genre."—New Scientist

"Faris reports on the disturbing alliances forming in Europe between environmentalists and anti-immigration groups; the emergence in Brazil due to deforestation of new diseases and redistribution of older ones; how hurricanes—and insurance companies are changing the demographics of the Gulf Coast; the impact of hotter summers on the west coast; the impact of water shortages on the political climate in India and Pakistan; and the land grab taking place in the Artic, posing a host of political and environmental problems. The stories in Forecast are far-flung, and that's the point: Faris succeeds in conveying, with great urgency, that global warming has already and will continue to affect our planet and its inhabitants in ways beyond which most people can comprehend—but that we must, and immediately."—Jessica Rae Patton, E—The Environmental Magazine

"The title Forecast suggests both weather report and a more general prediction of things to come. Yet, interestingly, this book does not leap into a hypothetical global future. Instead, it gives us an account of where and how the brunt of human-induced climate change is being felt right now, using this as an indication of the direction in which we are heading. Each chapter gives a concrete example of how the consequences of our carbon-intensive lifestyles are already being expressed in economics, politics and culture. And it's not pretty . . . A journalist who has lived in Nigeria, Kenya, Turkey and China, Faris is adept at interweaving his own observations and interpretations with those of scientists, social commentators and members of the communities he visits. One of the most insightful and discomforting chapters of his book looks at the way Europe's anti-immigration political parties are strategically adopting the language of sustainability. A key member of the far-right British Nationalist Party tells Faris: 'The point is to start preparing now by putting the ideology and language of environmentalism into nationalism. It's the crisis of the future. That and overpopulation, which are symptoms of exactly the same thing. People that have an irreverence for the land breed like rabbits.' And yet, as Faris points out in a searing epilogue, it is the developing world that is far more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which is fuelled largely by emissions from the developed nations. Emissions know no borders, and neither should responsibility for our environment."—G Magazine
"The most perceptive [book] so far about [climate change's] growing place in our daily lives, our iconography, and, sometimes, our paranoias."—Fred Pearce, Orion

"Bad news is good news if it gets us to act. Forecast should—it shows that this is not a crisis for our children, but the central question of our time."—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and The Bill McKibben Reader

"Stephan Faris has written a superb, first-hand account of the imminent results of climate change. His exceptional writing provides a vivid sense of the impact of global warming happening now. Forecast is a must read for all those who want to understand the seriousness of this growing problem threatening our planet."—General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired), author of The Battle for Peace

"Forecast takes us beyond the computer-generated doomsday maps and Mad Max-like theories, giving us instead real stories of the devastating effects climate change has already had on our most precious resource—ourselves. Through compelling and vigorously-researched storytelling, Stephan Faris shines a light in uncomfortable places, tracing calamities as varied as the Darfur conflict and grapes withering on their Napa Valley vines back to global warming. Forecast makes it clear that this crisis has been upon us for way longer than we realize, and the stakes are raised with every carbon-laced breath we take."—Kelly McMasters, author of Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town

"The possible effects of global warming can seem vague and far away: will ocean levels rise six inches or six feet, and in twenty years or two-hundred? But as Stephan Faris's Forecast so powerfully illustrates, global warming is already playing a crucial role in a number of issues besetting the planet, in everything from the explosion of illegal immigration into Europe, to the brutal conflict between nomadic and agrarian tribes in Darfur. With a very deft hand, and even a touch of ironic wit, Faris shows that global warming comes at real cost to real people—and the future is already upon us."—Scott Anderson, author of The Man Who Tried to Save the World

"Stephan Faris has traveled everywhere, holding his journalist's looking glass for everyone to see the same carbon-crazed climate monster gazing at us in every reflection. Reader: Your world is peering from these pages. Better pay attention."—Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us

"A journalist concerned with on-the-ground evidence of global warming, Faris reports on what he learned in visits to various regions around the world. A global climatic component is involved in local environmental situations, Faris finds, the details of which he expands in presenting the explanations of scientific or policy experts. What counts most in this work, however, are the impressions of climate change Faris gathered from his interviews with local inhabitants. They make tangible the abstractions of the issue in Sudan, Key West, Brazil, California, Canada, and India. In addition to covering local people's observations about desertification, coral bleaching, and the temperature-sensitive wine-making industry, Faris looks into local political ramifications, especially those concerning people forced to move because of environmental stresses. He presents background to the violence in Darfur and notes the concerns of insurers about America's hurricane-prone southern coasts. Faris' reportorial techniques work well in his narrative, priming readers for his recommendation for urgent action on climate change."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"The latest communiqué from the emerging genre of traveling the world in the footsteps of climate change is an intelligent, nuanced report on the complex relationships between increasingly unstable weather patterns and politics, ecology and lifestyles. Journalist Faris shows how the genocide in Darfur has roots in desertification and may be a canary in the coal mine, a foretaste of climatically driven political chaos, and how the resulting emigration of Africans to Europe is causing economic pressures that are being met with fascistic movements in Italy and Britain. Locals are abandoning Key West and New Orleans due to unsustainable insurance premiums; Bangladesh is likely to be flooded out of existence; and drought may wipe out the Amazon rain forest within 70 years. Faris cites a study predicting a world depicted by Mad Max, only hotter, with no beaches and perhaps with even more chaos. But, depressingly, he admits that his travels researching this book released nine times an average person's annual carbon use and that the world many have opened its eyes to climate change, but we're far from taking effective action."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Stephan Faris

  • Stephan Faris is a journalist who specializes in writing about the developing world. Since 2000, he has covered Africa, the Middle East, and China for publications including Time, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, and Salon. He has lived in Nigeria, Kenya, Turkey, and China. He now lives in Rome with his wife and three-year-old son.

  • Stephan Faris
    Stephan Faris