I must say I started reading this book with an open mind. I read through the introduction by Alan Moran and was struck and intrigued by the opposite view of the popular held belief about climate change. I became interested in climate change issue when Al Gore released his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. The first time I had ever heard human behavior effecting the environment was in junior high school (remember the ozone depletion scare). This documentary was my re-introduction to the matter as I watched in horror his predictions of an inevitable global warming and how living species would be affected if the current trends of carbon emissions continued. I do agree that environmental laws need be revolutionized, but I will admit it was a tad bit dramatic. However, it changed me and I became a believer.
I bought this book in hopes that I will learn about the issue. Amazon had good reviews and I had no clue what it actually contained (a red flag already, right?). Anyways, I read through the introduction shaking my head, but still wanting to hear the voice of the opposite party. I decided that instead of trying to digest the entire book of essays, I would read a few key essays that highlighted the America’s far-right views. The essays by these “so-called respected scientists” were what you would expect. They mirrored the opinions of conservatives and the conservative media. First they questioned climate change as a theory, then they deemed the necessary changes to be made to be expensive. I was particularly appalled by how poorly their research and thought process was. Alan, the editor references Chris Turney, a “genuine scientist” as he calls and claims that Antarctic ice is expanding not increasing. First of all this fact is misleading and basically a lie. While Antarctica may be increasing in ice mass, the north Artic is melting yearly creating huge worries for those in the Northern hemisphere.
To give you an idea about the book, I will dissect the first essay only. The first essay I read was by Ian Plimer and titled, “The science and politics of climate change”. He starts by saying that the theory of “human-induced global warming is not science because research is based on a pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored, and the analytical procedures are treated as evidence. Furthermore, climate ‘science’ is sustained by government research grants”. I agree with him that the topic of climate change has been politicized a lot where private interests are questioned by the public and our elected officials hold polar opposite views about what is the truth. However, the rest I differ with. It is the role of the government to preserve the health and well-being of that it governs so if people want to know if current trends affect them, the government needs to pay grants for research.
He continues by saying that “emissions derive mainly from the developing world and the understandable desire of its people to reach the same standard of living as the Western middle class”. While that is true, many developed countries such as China and USA are still producing using resources that add to the total amount of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Deforestation is one effect that mostly developed countries are responsible for. What shocks me is when he claims that “CO2 is plant food and the emission of increasingly large amounts of CO2 by humans is good for life”. Anyone who took a basic chemistry class knows how deceptive this contorted truth is and that in actuality, nature’s delicate balance of CO2 and O2 (Oxygen) is plant food. In order words, plants need oxygen just as much they need CO2 for photosynthesis. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that if there are high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, the delicate balance gets off for these plants. But, these scientists also don’t believe that CO2 emissions are high, so I am beating a dead animal here.
In an another conjecture he says, “In ice core measurements, the evidence shows that temperature increase occurs hundred to thousands of years before there is an increase in atmospheric CO2. This again shows that atmospheric CO2 does not drive atmospheric change”. Another fabrication by these scientists, because CO2 is a heavier gas than O2 and its presence creates a shield from which the sun’s UV rays can’t escape the atmosphere thus creating the warming effect. He even went as far as saying that “in former times, communities feared the cold because Jack Frost brought death, disease, famine, and war”. Huh? I am sorry, but I thought the extreme heat brought in disease and famine. I am not sure where is getting this information.
Then he comments on how natural it is for some landmass to sink and others to rise. I don’t think these so-called climate prophets deny that. What they argue is that the rate the earth is warming up is so fast that there will be more land underwater due to ice melting, then land rising. But, that may be too scientific for a man who says, “extinction is normal” and that “global warming may create a few extinctions although most species have abilities to move to their ideal climate”. This argument is a little oxymoronic in its meaning because the rate that global warming is occurring causes the species to being extinct which is not a natural phenomenon.
His final argument was that the renewable energy politicians and scientists endorse are expensive, especially for developing countries and inefficient for developed countries. While no one denies that the initial costs of renewal resources such as solar panels are more expensive, the long term costs are lower and less damaging to the environment. When there is less pollution emitted, the standards of living also increase as we breathe in more fresh air and drink cleaner water. When it comes to efficacy, I am unsure where he got those facts from. Coal is not renewal, but wind and solar energy is, making them more efficient options that coal, gas, and oil.
In conclusion, I was really disappointment with this book of essays. In the introduction, I thought this book would have a more diverse and fair representation of what the political realm on global warming looks like, but it seems these scientists are lobbying the polar opposite argument with facts that are questionable. I believe that recent human activity is harming the planet and we must take systematic steps as prevention from suffering irreversible effects of climate change such as extinction. However, should businesses be penalized? Maybe incentives are the way to go rather than denying global warming exists. Is there such thing as global warming? Yes and no. We don’t have enough data to know the trends of the last couple of hundreds of years, but it is common sense that deforestation, water contamination, and air pollution is harmful for every species on this planet. I will NOT recommend this book.