Will the World End in Fire, Or in Ice? Don't Ask Us

Does biologist Bill Streever, author of "Cold," a survey of the coldest places on earth, fear global warming? One critic says heck yes, the other says of course not.

Will the world end in fire, or in ice? Don't ask the Times.

Nonfiction author Mary Roach took the temperature of "Cold," a bracing new book by biologist Bill Streever,inthe cover critiquefor Sunday's New York Times Book Review.

She also contradicted the global warming hysterics of Dwight Garner's previous review in the paper's weekdayBooks section on Friday. Garner had summarized Streever's book as providing words of warning on global warming:

We are living in a rapidly warming world, Mr. Streever mournfully writes. This fact is his excuse to visit as many of the planet's remaining cold places as he can, if not exactly to say goodbye then to consider the intrinsic nature of cold weather and our responses to it, and to think about what life will be like in its increasing absence.

By contrast, Roach didn't see any kind of global warming fear-mongering on Streever's part - if anything, Roachfound Streever mischievously suggesting such catastrophic talkwas overblown:

Global warming makes an inevitable appearance, but it's not in Streever's nature to mount the pulpit. His usual spark is missing here. His molecules have cooled. He is a man beguiled by nature's complexities, and he knows too much to make the simplified arguments of the Gores and the anti-Gores. "The good news is this: the planet is not warming evenly. As ocean currents change, temperate Europe may become pleasantly frigid. And the Antarctic interior, surrounded by swirling winds thought to be driven in part by the hole in the ozone layer, has cooled." he writes. And he impishly points out that the first two scientists to write about the greenhouse effect looked forward to a warmer planet.