Marek Kohn

Written for The List (issue 664)

Think of Marek Kohn as the mouthpiece of the moderates in the climate change conversation. His new book, Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles will Change as the World Heats Up, strips the sensationalism from the story and projects a thoroughly researched vision of what we in Britain might be in for, should we continue as we’re going. ‘It’s not the end of the world,’ says Kohn, reassuringly. ‘It’s not Big Ben sinking below a rising River Thames. The climate change genre so far has been about awful apocalyptic warnings: if you say the world is ending, at least you’re giving a firm point of view. But if I’d been looking for disasters, I wouldn’t have enjoyed writing it nearly as much.’

He may not be prophesying unleavened doom and disaster, but like most of the mainstream scientific community, Kohn doesn’t dispute that climate change is taking place: a position likely to draw disdain, if not outright ire, from the denialist lobby. ‘I’m not saying there’s no point reading this book unless you believe mainstream scientific theory,’ he says. ‘But if you’re the least bit open-minded, you should be playing with it in your mind. I have been taken slightly aback by some of the responses when I tell people I’m writing a climate change book: like, “Oh, do you believe in that?” I find there’s a slight correlation between the degree of scepticism and the size of car the person’s driving.’

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