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An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming [Hardcover]

Nigel Lawson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 April 2008
In this well-informed and hard-hitting response to the scaremongering of the climate alarmists, Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Energy, argues that it is time for us to take a cool look at global warming. Lawson carefully and succinctly examines all aspects of the global warming issue: the science, the economics, the politics, and the ethics. He concludes that, contrary to the deeply-flawed Stern Review, the conventional wisdom on the subject is suspect on a number of grounds; that global warming is not the devastating threat to the planet it is widely alleged ot be; and that the remedy that is currently being proposed, which is in any event politically unattainable, would be worse that the threat it is supposed to avert.All this is argued with logic, commmon sense, and even wit, and thoroughly sourced and referenced. The book concludes by outlining the form a rational response to global warming should take, and explains why the mistaken conventional wisdom has become the quasi-religion it is today, and the dangers that this presents. Lord Lawson has written a long overdue and much needed corrective to the barrage of spin and hype to which the politicians and media have been subjecting the public on this important issue, which affects us all.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Duckworth; 1st edition (10 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071563786X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715637869
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Only one senior political figure in Britain has dared stand apart from [the] stifling orthodoxy: Nigel Lawson' --The Telegraph

'On many points the sceptics happen to be correct. Nigel Lawson's short splendid book ... can leave no fair-minded reader in doubt on that score ... Elegantly written, thorough, entertaining and, above all, convincing' --The Financial Times

'Tightly argued ... Bombarded with the zealous certainties of those deaf to reasoned argument on the most important of issues, it is intensely refreshing to find in Nigel Lawson someome who, without claiming to have all the answers, is at least brave enough to ask eminently sensible questions' --The Spectator

About the Author

Nigel Lawson, Lord Lawson of Blaby, after a number of years in journalism, including as Editor of "The Spectator" from 1966 to 1970, became a Conservative MP in 1974. He served in the Thatcher administration between 1979 and 1989 as Financial Secreatry to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Energy, and, from 1983, Chancellor of the Exchequer. He entered the House of Lords in 1992, and is a member of the Lords' Select Committee on Economic Affairs, which is 2005 produced a substantial report on 'The Economics of Climate Chante'. He is past President of the British Institute of Energy Economics. He lives in London and France.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensible approach 6 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nigel Lawson's key premise is not that global warming is a cult (it is) but that if it is occurring the world should take practical steps to mitigate or prevent its impact. With the current progression of world development the green energy plank is not a practical solution for many decades so it is far better to plan expenditure for adaptation.
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68 of 89 people found the following review helpful
By Emc2
This is a short and well-written book, provocative and full of smart and no nonsense arguments. Lawson provides end notes for each chapter and all bibliographical sources are properly referenced. The book's aim is to examine each of the dimensions of the consensus view of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), including the science, the economics, the politics, and the ethical aspects. He is concerned with the uncertainties of long-term forecasting and the lack of a real cost-effectiveness analysis in the policies recommended and advocated by the majority view on climate change, particularly by the radical change in lifestyle that will have to take place in the developed countries, and the unnecessary burden that will be put on the poor in the developing world. Lawson questions the fundamentals of AGW orthodoxy just armed with common sense, his political experience, and some very clever back-of-the-envelope calculations.

Lawson opens the book arguing that although he agrees that there is a real warming trend, he is skeptical of the validity of predictions made with global climate simulation models, and more importantly, he questions if indeed the sole cause of this warming is man-made greenhouses and how big the contribution of CO2 is. Lawson also raises several issues regarding the IPCC process, its findings and policy recommendations, and throughout the book he strongly criticizes the The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, which he considers "at the extreme end of the alarmist camp".

He might not be right in all the issues, but certainly he will at least let you wonder about some of them.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First rate book 20 Aug 2013
By Tim
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although now a few years old the arguments presented in this book are just as apposite today. It lays out the issues very well.
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69 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what it says on the tin 16 Sep 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. As the title suggests, it is cool, reasonable, and patient, looking carefully at all the evidence and coming to conclusions which it is hard to disagree with.

Like other reviewers, I find it hard to take excerpts from the book because I would have to quote the whole thing! However, perhaps I may try to help anyone who is wondering whether to read it. One way to look at the global warming/climate change debate is to ask oneself three questions.

First, is the world getting warmer?
Second, is human activity, and specifically CO2, a major cause?
And third, does it matter? Will there be harmful consequences? And if so, what should we do about them?

Much of the angry debate between believers and sceptics rages round the first two points. Lawson surveys the evidence on both, and comes to a conclusion. But what makes this book so powerful is its focus on the third question: whether a warmer world is one that will harm people, animals, plants, and our descendants. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) argues that it will. Lawson disagrees. He takes us through the IPCC scenarios, and their range of predictions relating to five potential impacts of a warmer world: on water, ecosystems, food, coasts, and health. In each case he demonstrates, with evidence, that a warmer world will either be neutral or even beneficial. What makes this evidence particularly persuasive is that much of it is drawn from the IPCC's own 4th report (2007)!.

It would be wrong to think of this book as complacent, a kind of 'I'm all right, Jack, pull up the ladder'.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never been a fan of Nigel 21 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lawson, one of Thatcher's right hand men when she brought McGregor from the U.S. at a cost of one million pounds plus in order to 'smash the miners'... Could I really see myself picking up a book by Nigel, let alone reading it ? Well, I did, and I'm glad I did. He provides an amazing insight into the debate, with indisputable facts and figures. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would accept the perfect reasoning of a 'thatcherite'. He deserves praise whilst you deserve to read his 'truths'.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Iain S
Format:Kindle Edition
This is by far the best "sceptic" book on the subject, I put inverted commas because the author declares that he accepts the majority scientific view on AGW and admits he's not a scientist and is in no position to argue otherwise, but his principle skepticism is of how we handle it.

This sets his book apart from much of the mad ravings of the climate change deniers who don't even recognize that man is responsible for the 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 (this is 100% provable due to the particular carbon isotopes from fossil fuel combustion present in the 'new' CO2 that's measured in the atmosphere, and also quite simply from historical records of coal and oil production/consumption).

In a nutshell, the authors argument boils down to:

There's a good chance AGW will be beneficial, we've plenty of time to adapt, and future generations will be much richer and able to deal with it anyway.

Basically he's an optimist.

He does however recognize the risk of catastrophic global warming, where positive feedbacks could put us on a slippery slope to a climate similar to the planet Venus, and does advocate a carbon tax instead of cap and trade (which he describes as a scam), and geo-engineering (putting aerosols into the stratosphere to block sunlight) as an emergency measure.

A few things that irritated me about this book however was the authors constant and mostly unqualified use of the word 'ubsurd' to dismiss many genuine concerns and in particular renewable energy. He states that the UK achieving 20% of its electricity from renewables is "beyond credibility", and yet Scotland now gets over 30% of its electricity from renewables, and Portugal gets over 50%.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely
FIve stars for a clear, concise book that nails his colours to the mast ! Nigel Lawson may be known as Nigella's Dad to younger generations but to me he was one of the better... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Taiga
5.0 out of 5 stars Sense at last.
I've read lots of books rubbishing the all-pervasive ideology of human-caused climate change but it is refreshing to find a person of Nigel Lawson's stature with the courage to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jeff
4.0 out of 5 stars a logical and reasoned look at the global warming issues
Though no fan of Nigel Lawson's politics. I found this to be informative and refreshing. a good deal of common sense and realism. Read more
Published 14 months ago by tree
5.0 out of 5 stars cool logic
I certainly enjoyed this book because of its academic format and the hard logic of a successful politician. Read more
Published 18 months ago by T. J. Shaw
1.0 out of 5 stars Vested interest glosses the (inconvenient) truth to us all
Would you accept the judgements of a book on economics written by an oceanographer; or a book about the fiscal inter-relationships of a mature economy written by a climatologist? Read more
Published 18 months ago by D. C. Gowans
4.0 out of 5 stars An accurate title
Being of the view that the science is not necessarily "settled" as we are repeatedly assured, I found this book to be a readable and logical summation of (a) the reasons... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Robert Geoffrey Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Other perspective
The book has been written from other perspective than majority books about this major global issue.
Although author (ex-secretary in British Conservative Government) is aware... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by Djordje Samardzija
3.0 out of 5 stars frolly
The title suggests what this book is about. It would have been better to hit AGW harder and to expose its true nature, that is that it is a politically-led scientifically unproven... Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2012 by frolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest to Reality
Nigel Lawson boldly cuts through the hype; cuts through the lies; kicks out the propaganda; de-mythologises the carbon dioxide "clouds in the sky", and warns the wise that the... Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by GeorgeD
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