16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Historically important capturing of political history,
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This review is from: The Age of Global Warming: A History (Hardcover)
As others have noted, this is not always an easy read. The author has been meticulous about coverage and documentation (pages 351 to 416 contain supporting notes), but he has also displayed many insights of his own in this intelligent, fair-minded, and compelling account of the decades of delusion and manipulation that have led us the current sorry state of climate-related politics, policies, and the further promotion of alarms without adequate foundation. As Darwall says, right at the end of the book, "When it comes to learning from their mistakes, collectively scientists vie with the Bourbons.". This might seem unfair on the vast majority of scientists who have never spoken out on climate, and whose views have not been systematically consulted by the leaderships of such bodies as the Royal Society or many other learned societies over many disciplines. Leaderships which have nevertheless spouted green propaganda and influenced politicians in their insanities over climate change. I think this book is a must-have for anyone with a serious interest in trying to comprehend what has happened around this fashionable topic.
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Initial post: 5 Oct 2013 00:14:34 BDT
Phil Hayward says:
Yes, I agree with you that that is a bit of a harsh judgement of "scientists collectively". We have Marc Morano's collation of more than 1000 very well credentialed scientists who have spoken out or published research that is skeptical. And we have the OISM Petition with more than 30,000 signatures. I blame the mainstream news media, not "scientists collectively", for failing to get this fraudulent theory adequately questioned where it matters - in media-political and "voting public" circles.
It has been a gross lie parroted by the media from the beginning, that the IPCC Reports represented "a consensus of thousands of climate scientists". I repeatedly challenged this assertion in letters to the editor where I live; the "thousands" figure relates to "Expert Reviewers", most of whom are not climate scientists and who review chapters of the report relating to other matters, such as impacts, mitigation approaches and costs.
Actual Climate Science reviewers number some 300 - 400; Climate Science Contributing Authors less than 200; and Lead Authors some dozen or so. The reviewers and contributing authors input is ignored whenever it is skeptical; so much for the alleged "Peer Review" process. The whole process is opaque and no-one is able to actually canvass all those involved to determine whether they do even support the alleged "consensus".
Some possibly quite high proportion of the reviewers and contributing authors, and indeed scientists generally, will be reluctant to speak out because it would endanger their livelihoods with their bureaucratic funding controllers. Vincent Gray, a Reviewer and a Skeptic, claims to know many scientists in this position.
I believe it has NEVER been remotely true that there is a "consensus of climate scientists" backing the full "catastrophic" human-caused global warming theory. Scientists overwhelmingly accept a number of statements of science; that CO2 is a greenhouse gas; that human emissions contribute to an increase of it in the atmosphere. But the media has consistently and probably maliciously failed to distinguish between this and the full-blown alarmist "Al Gore, Inc" and IPCC "Summary for Policy Makers" position.
If "scientists" DO end up conducting some kind of revolution to break through the political control and the media propaganda, that would be very honourable of them. But we should not underestimate the quasi-totalitarian grip of the "establishment" under which they are rendered helpless minions.
It is also possible that most scientists do not yet see a lot of harm being done; most of the policy responses so far are mere tokenism. See for example Christopher Monckton's calculations of exactly how much temperature rise will be abated by carbon tax schemes such as those of the Gillard government in Australia, going by the IPCC's own figures. If politicians and even their "science advisors" actually believed the theory, they would be doing far more than enacting mere tokenist policies. The most extreme alarmist rhetoric from the environmentalist fringe is actually an indication of adherence to the theoretical basis for alarmism; we get none of this stuff from mainstream politicians and media commentators who make ostentatious displays of public concern including condemnation of "deniers".
My own main specialty is critiquing urban and transport policy that is alleged to be in the service of "CO2 mitigation". All this policy without exception is riddled with unintended consequences and at BEST is mere tokenism, but frequently does more harm than good. For example, there is hardly a single newly built rail based public transport system in the OECD over the last 2 decades that does not emit MORE CO2 per person kilometer of travel on it, than the AVERAGE for private motor vehicles, let alone the optimum private motor vehicle.
Forcing cities to "be more compact" has reduced the opportunities for far more environmental mitigation measures than can possibly have been gained in efficiencies. It is noticeable that the environmental movement was a few decades ago, committed to "sustainable" LOW density living, collecting rainwater, using sunlight and wind for heating and cooling and drying, growing your own food, composting and recycling on-site, etc. Geothermal heat pumps are a wonderful new technology that is a perfect fit with low density living; so are on site wind turbines and solar panels.
Dispersion of employment and urban amenities, which occurs naturally everywhere that planning does not prohibit them, have brought greater efficiencies in personal travel times than forced centralisation, which loses more in congestion delays than it gains in reductions in distance.
The fact that all this misguided policy inflates the price of zoned urban land and funnels major amounts of zero-sum economic land "rent" into the pockets of the powerful owners of the best located land in urban economies, is good prima facie evidence of what interests are driving these rackets in particular. Gary Allen, in "Your Home: Big Brother Wants Control of Housing" (1974) points out the involvement of certain Rockefellers in the funding of "land conservation" movements. Conservation movements today are massively well funded political influence machines. (SARC ON) - of course these wealthy funders want to do their bit for a cause that benefits humanity, their own property portfolios won't be anything to do with it.......
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