45 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Time for reflection,
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This review is from: Watermelons: How Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future (Kindle Edition)As a layman who is interested in the subject, I cannot be sure whether James Delingpole is right in his rebuttal of the theory of man-made global warming. But whatever the truth may be, Delingpole has written a trenchant, concise and entertaining critique of the environmentalist lobby that has grown up around the climate change agenda.
On climate change itself, Delingpole's two key points are (a) that global temperatures stopped rising in 1998, and (b) that the case for man-made climate change rests to a large extent on dubious and selective use of research evidence. Those are potentially explosive claims. I asked a climate scinece expert I know who told me (a) is true (adding that the science depends on trends over the longer term - so this is not a conclusive piece of evidence either way), but said that (b) is arguable. But Delingpole does enough in this book to make the case to rebut the environmentalists' claim that "the science is settled".
More tellingly, Delingpole exposes the left-wing/socialist bias that underpins the environmentalist movement - hence the title: watermelons are green on the outside, red on the inside. He also exposes the power, resources and tactics (including censorship and character assassination) of parts of the green movement, which belie its squeaky-clean image. And this, for me was the most telling part of the book. Even if one accepts man-made climate change as plausible, the remedies called for by the green lobby are socialistic, utopian, and of dubious utility. Authors who accept the climate change hypothesis - for example Mark Lynas - have come up with more practical and sensible approaches to dealing with it, whilst Bjorn Lomborg and others have exposed the inadequacies of the current Kyoto consensus.
Delingpole's book is best read alongside these other works, to put it in a proper context. But it's a strong and distincive contribution to the debate. And it's highly entertaining too.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jun 2012 10:37:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Aug 2013 11:28:49 BDT
I think Delingpole is not so much "rebutting the theory of man-made global warming" as exposing the orchestrated campaign which promotes it, along with the lying, cheating and dishonesty it has been built upon. Like him, I am sceptical that those who claim to KNOW FOR CERTAIN don't actually know at all. I suggest anyone who hasn't yet done so reads the leaked climategate emails - in their entirety. By their own mouths do they condemn themselves...
Posted on 13 Jun 2012 15:18:18 BDT
J. R. Collyns says:
What a splendid review, and one that those seeking to condemn Delingpole should note; whether you think the theory of man-made global warming is correct or not, this books shows that the science is emphatically not settled, despite what many mainstream media who should know better (Yes BBC I mean you) would present. Well said David Lye.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2012 10:42:11 GMT
"Scepticism is ... directed against the view of the opposition and against minor ramifications of one's own basic ideas, never against the basic ideas themselves. Attacking the basic ideas evokes taboo reactions ... scientists only rarely solve their problems, they make lots of mistakes ... one collects `facts' and prejudices, one discusses the matter, and one finally votes. But while a democracy makes some effort to explain the process so that everyone can understand it, scientists either conceal it, or bend it ... No scientist will admit that voting plays a role in his subject. Facts, logic, and methodology alone decide - this is what the fairy-tale tells us. ... This is how scientists have deceived themselves and everyone else ... It is the vote of everyone concerned that decides fundamental issues ... and not the authority of big-shots hiding behind a non-existing methodology. ... Science itself uses the method of ballot, discussion, vote, though without a clear grasp of its mechanism, and in a heavily biased way."
- Professor Paul Feyerabend, Against Method, 1975, final chapter.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2012 10:42:53 GMT
"There are two distinct meanings to the word `science'. The first meaning is what physicists and mathematicians do. The second meaning is a magical art ... What is of harm is the blind faith in an imposed system that is implied. `Science says' has replaced `scripture tells us' but with no more critical reflection on the one than on the other. ... reason is no more understandable this year than prayer a thousand years ago. Little Billy may become a scientist as earlier he might have turned priest, and know the sacred texts ... The chromed apparatus is blessed by distant authority, the water thrice-filtered for purity, and he wears the white antiseptic gown ... But the masses still move by faith. ... I have fear of what science says, not the science that is hard-won knowledge but that other science, the faith imposed on people by a self-elected administering priesthood. ... In the hands of an unscrupulous and power-grasping priesthood, this efficient tool, just as earlier ... has become an instrument of bondage. ... A metaphysics that ushered in the Dark Ages is again flourishing. ... Natural sciences turned from description to a ruminative scholarship concerned with authority. ...
"But the immense ease with which the data can be shuffled by machine has seduced him. Model after model springs to mind before the huge ink-blot of correlation matrices. He must test them, cautiously, carefully. ... On the superstition that reduction to number is the same as abstraction, it permits any arbitrary assemblage of data to be mined for relations that can then be named and reified in the same way as Fritz Mauthner once imagined that myths arise. ... Our sales representatives, trained in your tribal taboos, will call on you shortly. You have no choice but to buy. For this is the new rationalism, the new messiah, the new Church, and the new Dark Ages come upon us."
- Jerome Y. Lettvin, The Second Dark Ages, paper given at the UNESCO Symposium on "Culture and Science", Paris, 6-10 September 1971 (in Robin Clarke, Notes for the Future, Thames and Hudson, London, 1975, pp. 141-50).
Posted on 26 Nov 2012 14:58:35 GMT
Iain S says:
Regarding this point:
(b) that the case for man-made climate change rests to a large extent on dubious and selective use of research evidence
I think there are two issues here that need separating:
1. Measurements of increasing temperatures, influence of other climatic events, postive and negative feedback mechamisms,...
2. The basic science of CO2 absorption of infrared radiation, and the fact that man has increased this some 40% from pre-industrial levels.
Issue 1 is certainly very arguable, and will keep climate scientists busy for many decades to come.
On issue 2 I've not seen any convincing reposte from the sceptics. There was some 'saturation effect' argument that said all the infra-red that CO2 can absorb was already absorbed by the pre-industrial CO2, and adding more won't make a difference, but this didn't stand-up to the satellite observations that show the planet radiating an ever decreasing amount of infra-red at exactly the wavelengths corresponding to CO2 absorbtion.
Until a sceptic can knock out issue 2 for me, I'm still going to be concerned about climate change.
Posted on 26 Nov 2012 15:01:02 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 26 Nov 2012 15:01:50 GMT]
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2013 20:07:37 GMT
Mr. S. Loveday says:
Dear Iain S - if I may say so, a very sensible comment. Given that the Met Office has just said (Jan 2013) that global warming is on hold for the foreseeable future, very sensibe indeed. May I in turn respond to you? It is certainly true that CO2 production has increased greatly since the 1800s. It is not the case that the temperature has risen in the same straight line. Of course you wisely point out that there are lots of other factors, notably oceanic currents, that play a part: but because of that lack of direct correlation, it is very hard to make a direct CAUSAL link between CO2 and global warming. What I do think is worth looking at is whether there is another, quite different, factor that causes global warming. I suggest you look at Svensmark and Calder, 'The Chilling Stars', for a study that shows that the best correlation with warm and cool phases of the Earth is variations in solar radiation and the resultant cloud cover over the oceans. Happy reading!
Posted on 26 Aug 2013 11:02:33 BDT
Simon Barrett says:
'Only Newton's laws of motion may enjoy a wider scientific consensus than a human-enhanced greenhouse effect' (London Review of Books,23/5/13). If we prefer to squabble, perhaps drowning or frying is too good for us. 'What fools these mortals be!'
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