Mr Goodell has been writing about climate change for many years. (His previous books include Big Coal and How to Cool the Planet.) He’s the real deal, committed and making house calls. In The Water Will Come, partly built on stories he’s written for Rolling Stone, he visits cities in peril around the globe: New York; Lagos, Nigeria; Norfolk, Va.; Miami; Venice; Rotterdam. He speaks to a great many politicians, including Barack Obama, eventually asking some version of, “Given what you know, aren’t you scared out of your wits?” (Mr Obama’s response: “Yeah.”) At an art event, Goodell buttonholes an influential developer in Miami, Jorge Pérez, and asks several variations of the same question. Pérez insists he’s unworried. “Besides,” he adds, “by that time, I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”

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