A Dictionary of Climate Change and the Environment: Economics, Science, and Policy – 2012

Author: R Quentin Grafton, HW Nelson, N Ross Lambie & PR Wyrwoll
Publisher: Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK,
ISBN: 978 1 84980 387 8.

The four gentlemen authors have produced an elegant dictionary which cleverly reduces jargon into plain, short and understandable descriptions which are also refreshingly free of undue bias. It defines a comprehensive set of over 3700 words used across the topic fields to help policy makers, students, and professionals achieve a holistic view of environmental issues. The book is up-to-date, including references to “fracking”, and “COP”….although it was produced a little too early to include COP-17.

Furthermore, this book is more than just a dictionary – it also includes three short primer articles on Economics for the Environment; International Environmental Problems; and Environmental Systems, Dynamics and Modelling. As with any primer, one can criticise and argue over what was included and what was left out but in my opinion, the authors have managed to walk a very practical and understandable centre line for the sake of brevity and clarity.

The handy set of appendices include little gems like the Greek alphabet spelled out (you know the letter but can’t remember how to say it); Roman numerals (can you think fast enough on the old movies to convert the Roman numerals’ copyright date into numbers?), SU Units and associated conversions and an excellent common abbreviations translation. The list of selected environmental treaties and conventions is a wonderful memory jog and also comes with website links for further information.

This is a reference book that no self-respecting environmental or sustainability manager should be without. It will help to deal with those moments when you know what it means….. but just can’t at that minute pull the right words together.