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Includes bibliographical references (p. 359-393) and index.
The earth system and its ever-changing nature. Introduction ; 4.6 billion years of global change ; Abrupt climate change -- The human factor. A short history of human impacts ; The future: why some people are so concerned while others aren't -- Good intentions and geoengineering. Good intentions gone awry ; Geoengineering schemes ; The record on smaller-scale attempted modifications -- Further cautionary considerations. The possible fallibility of even a strong consensus ; The unknown future : model limitations ; Compounding social pressures -- Avoiding paralysis despite uncertainty. What are the alternatives? ; Closing plea.