Here is an important new book, worth reading and incorporating into our growing body of knowledge about the myth of man-caused global warming and how it has come to be.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Must-Read Global-Warming Book [Sterling Burnett]
About a year ago, Canadian environmentalist and journalist Lawrence Solomon began a series of articles in the National Post examining the credentials of and arguments made by scientists and economists labeled “deniers” by various environmentalists, a number of mainstream environmental reporters, and some politicians. Solomon, true to the finest tenets of his profession, sought the truth concerning whether there was in fact a consensus on the headline-grabbing issue of global warming, or whether in fact any “real” scientists actually dissented from the Al Gore/UN line that global warming is happening, is largely caused by humans, and threatens all manner of catastrophies.As many people — policy wonks and fellow travelers — on this blog are well aware, dissenting scientists are not in fact rare: There are serious scholars whose views should, but too often do not, inform the debate.
Solomon’s columns were important because they brought this message to a wider audience. As Solomon’s knowledge grew, he found that the genre limits of newspaper writing precluded an adequately in-depth exploration of these skeptical scientists’ important observations. Accordingly, selecting some of the scientists discussed in his columns, Solomon has written a book: The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**and those who are too fearful to do so.
As a jacket blurb puts it, “What he found shocked him. Solomon discovered that on every “headline” global warming issue, not only were there serious scientists who dissented, consistently the dissenters were by far the more accomplished and eminent scientists.”
This book does not attempt to settle the science, or show that humans are or are not responsible for the present warming trend, or settle what we can expect the future harms/benefits of continued warming (or cooling) might be. Rather, the genius of the book is that it shows in a manner accessible to a lay audience that uncertainties concerning each important facet of the “consensus” view on warming abound, and that the dissenting views are at least as plausible (and often more compelling) than the IPCC/Gore camps.
The Deniers, examines what should be the active debates concerning the plausibility of the argument that human CO2 emissions (or CO2 per se) is a driver for climate change, what role the sun may play in warming, what role the present warming trend (and human activities) play in hurricane and tropical/parasitic disease patterns, and the reliability of the climate models, among other issues. In addition, Solomon notes the harsh treatment that many scientists have endured simply because they followed the scientific method, the evidence from their research, and their own consciences, all of which led them to the conclusion that this or that facet of the global-warming consensus view was woefully incomplete or flat-out wrong. This treatment has had the effect intended by global warming scaremongers — to shut down promising areas of research and to silence credible critics.
As I put it in an earlier column:
The term skeptic has historically been a badge of honor proudly worn by scientists as indicating their commitment to the idea that in the pursuit of truth, nothing is beyond question, every bit of knowledge is open to improvement and/or refutation as new evidence or better theories emerge.
However, in the topsy-turvy field of climate science, “skeptic” is a term of opprobrium and to be labeled a skeptic is to be dismissed as a hack. Being a skeptic concerning global warming today is akin to being a heretic in the Middle Ages — you may not be literally burned at the stake, but your reputation will be put to flames.In response, many scientists whose research calls into question one or more of the fundamental tenets of global warming orthodoxy, have learned to couch their conclusions carefully.
They argue, for instance, that while their research does not match up with this or that point in global warming theory, or would seem to undermine this or that conclusion, they are not denying that humans are causing global warming and they cannot account for the discrepancy between their work and the theory’s predictions. These scientists have learned the hard lesson that when reality and the theory conflict, for professional reasons, they’d better cling to the theory: shades of Galileo recanting his theory that the earth revolves around the sun under pressure from the Inquisition.
Though there are many good books on global warming, The Deniers is among the most effective in showing how science is being fundamentally undermined in the current politicized atmosphere of climate research. In addition, like no other book or paper I know, it provides a concise but thorough overview of the myriad weaknesses of the consensus view, the quality and substance of the criticisms of that view, and the stellar qualifications of those scientists labeled derisively as “deniers.”
This book should be read by anyone who seriously wants to understand where and why substantive debate remains concerning climate change and why there is so much vitriol surrounding what until recently was a relatively quiet, unheralded, or unnoticed (except by its practitioners) field of science. If a person could read only one book this year on climate change, this is the one I’d pick.