Losing Earth
A Recent History

Hardcover, MCD × FSG, 2019

By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change—including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.

“This deeply researched, deeply felt book is an essential addition to the canon of climate change literature. Others have documented where we are, and speculated about where we might be headed, but the story of how we got here is perhaps the most important one to be told, because it is both a cautionary tale and an unfinished one. Reading this book, I could not help but imagine my children one day reading a future edition, which will include the story of my generation's response to what we knew.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer
author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
“How to explain the mess we’re in? Nathaniel Rich recounts how a crucial decade was squandered. Losing Earth is an important contribution to the record of our heedless age.”
—Elizabeth Kolbert
author of The Sixth Extinction
“Combining the dramatic immediacy of a police procedural with the urgency of prophecy, Nathaniel Rich's provocative book chronicles the failure of our scientific and political leaders to act to halt the climate apocalypse when they appeared on the verge of doing so, and casts the triumph of denial as the defining moral crisis for humankind.”
—Philip Gourevitch
author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families
“In this book, Nathaniel Rich demonstrates exquisitely how shallow debate of a deep problem—the planetary scale and civilizational consequences of climate change—exacerbates the problem. We are still a long way from thinking about climate change in the multi-century frame we need to deal with it realistically. Getting there will be a new skill for humanity, if we get there.”
—Stewart Brand
author of Whole Earth Discipline
The American college students leading the movement to demand a Green New Deal—an omnibus piece of legislation not unlike those proposed by Timothy Wirth and Claudine Schneider in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008—increasingly speak in the same register as the leaders of the sinking island nations. The hundreds of students who staged a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office after the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in 2018, demanding comprehensive climate legislation, said things like…

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Tour Dates

April 4 New Orleans
Tulane River and Coastal Center with Tulane University and Garden District Book Shop
April 9 NYC
Brooklyn Public Library with Greenlight Books, in collaboration with the New York Times Live and David Leonhardt
April 10 Boston
Harvard Book Store
April 11 Washington, DC
Politics & Prose on Connecticut Ave. with Rafe Pomerance
April 12 Baltimore
Bird in Hand with Alec MacGillis, ProPublica
April 15 Houston
Brazos Bookstore
April 16 Austin
Book People with Eric Benson, Texas Monthly
April 17 Nashville
Parnassus Books with Amanda Little, Vanderbilt University
April 18 Atlanta
The Carter Center with A Cappella Books
April 22, Earth Day San Francisco
First Church in Berkeley with Berkeley Arts & Letters and Mark Danner
April 23 Los Angeles
Scripps College with Huntley Bookstore and Ben Rhodes
April 24 Los Angeles
Skylight Books with Jane Smiley
April 25 Portland
Powell's Downtown
April 26 Seattle
The Summit with Town Hall and Elliott Bay Books
April 30 Miami
Books & Books with Rafe Pomerance