The answer is Changing Planet, Changing Health by Paul Epstein, MD. While he does get into some political issues towards the end, for the most part the focus is on what happens when the earth gets too warm. It's not simply warmer weather that is the issue, and it certainly doesn't go away when a large winter snowfall appears. Rather, he analyzes the data related to weather change. Areas that receive more heat than usual obviously have a drought. But where does that water go that heated up? It's not gone forever, but is evaporated up and into weather systems (water weighs much more than air) that dump that water somewhere else, leading to widespread flooding and furious storms. Dry ground can lead to wildfires, which the resulting smoke can actually alter weather patterns, making the imbalances continue.
The pattern of extra water and invasive flooding sets up a domino effect in plant and animal life, and these combine with pathogens to exacerbate the change. What Dr. Epstein shows is what happens next: viruses appear that were dormant or unheard of regionally before. Excessive plant growth alters feeding patterns of animals, causing less (or more) of them and thus further altering the previous balance.
His point is clear and crosses political lines. Focusing on the delicate and fragile balance of the Earth's ecosystems, he shows how change perpetuated by pollution, poor resource management, and greed make for very real consequences in terms of health. Asthma and allergies are only some of the results-major infectious diseases run wild when an ecosystem is out of balance.
It could be a dry read, but it isn't...anecdotal stories and hard data make it lively and potentially scary. When one CDC expert goes to testify before Congress, she has most of her testimony redacted to prevent offending some of the audience. How can the problem be solved if no one gets to hear the truth about it?
One website features an interesting interview with the author, wherein he suggests the political polarizing option of a slight (ACK! The horror!) tax increase to raise funds for better infrastructure. In addition, he makes the case for the way European manufacturers have to prove the safety of their product-a far different stance than the US method. It's an interesting article. http://adventures-in-climate-change.com/climatecentral/index.php/2011/04/22/changing-planet-changing-health-qa-with-dr-paul-epstein/
Just for a kick, NASA has some fascinating charts with average land and ocean temperatures here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/.
Special thanks to Kathleen Carney for the Advance Review Copy.