Kolbert and Conjecture

In Field Notes From a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert brought across her ideas in a coherent, interesting manner. After reading the first two chapters, I’ve realized she relies heavily on two main stasis questions throughout the chapters, conjecture and quality. Although she incorporates conjecture the most, I think she also adds definition, quality, and policy when discussing what climate change is, and the different policies that potentially try to lessen the effect.

In chapter one, Kolbert uses the main stasis question of conjecture. The chapter primarily focuses on the question of climate change, and if it actually exists. Contrary to many popular beliefs, Kolbert backed up her answer that climate change does exist by providing scientific evidence. She discussed the effect that CO2 has on the planet, and provided evidence that according to physics, the earth is thrown out of energy balance (1). To add more evidence to her stasis question, she went on to discuss the tragedy that the earth warming up has been putting on the glaciers. The glaciers are all shrinking, and Kolbert provided enough evidence to arrive at that conclusion. Not only did she provide scientific evidence, but she also went on to add in some personal experiences, and events going on in Alaska.

In chapter two, Kolbert also revolved the content over the stasis question of conjecture. Even after the evidence provided in chapter one, is global warming for sure a reality? She brought forth three scientists and discussed the use of their instruments and research studies. All three of the performed studies by the scientists gave rise to a whole new perspective for some people. Global warming is real, and you can’t argue with measurements proving it. Temperatures have been rising each year, causing the glaciers to melt, and the Earth to continue heating up (1). After backing up her stasis question on conjecture, Kolbert also provided answers with quality. Is global warming a good or bad thing? Is it right or wrong? She answers these questions by providing real life scenarios, where global warming is affecting the population in a bad manner. Therefore, global warming is not a good thing, and it is wrong.

In conclusion, Kolbert did an awesome job at providing the reader with an interesting read, as well as providing clear evidence to her belief. After reading this article, it’d be harder for someone to continue to believe that global warming doesn’t exist. Therefore, she poses a successful argument, and allows the reader to become more informed as an individual.




Kolbert E. 2006. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. Bloomsbury, New York.

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