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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
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This review is from: An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming (Hardcover)
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'. As Lawson points out, the single major cause of ill-health and death in the world is poverty, and if we take the standpoint of human welfare, the surest way to benefit humans is to lift them out of poverty. Lawson sees many serious problems facing the world, and many things that urgently need putting right. The view of this compelling and convincing book is that global warming isn't one of them.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Nov 2008 11:49:25 GMT
Tomfrom66 says:
The point about poverty is well made, but the question raised then is this: can the planet offer Western standards of living to a global population of 6bn plus?
I'm not a climate scientist, so I cannot claim to KNOW whether of not global warming is a threat to humanity, but the weight of evidence seems to point in that direction.
However, when it comes to resource depletion, the evidence is more certain. At some point this century demand for oil is going to outstrip supply, so alternatives have to be found. Nuclear power and the electric car seem to fill the bill; but do they?
This 'solution' ignores the very many jobs which oil performs beyond power and transport.
Take for example, artificial fertilisers: the Haber Bosch process. This huge boost to agrarian productivity is threatened by declining oil supplies.
It's noteworthy that the US National Intelligence Council's global trends review 'foresees a fragmented world, where conflict over scarce resources is on the rise, poorly contained by "ramshackle" international institutions, while nuclear proliferation, particularly in the Middle East, and even nuclear conflict grow more likely'. (Guardian 21 November 2008)
A deeply pessimistic conclusion which, no doubt, Nigel Lawson would reject. But the flaw in Mr Lawson's position is the belief that unrestrained markets will find a way through. The present "crunch" suggests otherwise.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Dec 2008 22:55:27 GMT
Your comment is a very reasonable and well made one. There is certainly a good case to be made that resources are limited, and that we should be careful in using them. As you indicate, this is a separate point from the argument that we should be reducing carbon emissions; it is rather that we should use our resources sparingly and carefully. You quote the Guardian about scarce resources, but it is noteworthy that no mention is made there of global warming.  5288;It iA363; alsʍ59; truᦆ9; that; claims about 'peak oil' and ris5353;ng rA349;sourʍ47;e coᦈ3;ts ha;ve been made since t5352;e 19A303;0s, ʍ45;nd aᦈ2;guabl;y since the 1820s.) 2288;I suA363;pectz88;thatӌ8;you a;nd I would both pref5349;r to 288;livez88;frugᦆ5;lly a;nd responsibly, and 5363;pare 288;the ʍ45;nimaᦇ6;s and; plants that are fel5356;ow-oA347;cupaʍ58;ts oᦇ0; the ;planet.  I would onl5369; wanA364; to ʍ63;ay tᦇ2;at I ;feel that the CO2 ar5351;umenA364; is ʍ45; disᦈ4;racti;on rather than a hel5360; in A348;oingz88;thisᦁ4; 

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2009 20:04:59 GMT
tim says:
Price adjusts demand to supply. Before we run out of oil, we might reach the point where only millionaires could run petrol-driven cars.

Global warming is clearly a threat to humanity. But is it an important threat? Lawson argues that it is not necessarily more important than other problems (poverty, disease, nuclear war, asteroid strikes, etc.) . It requires enormous sums of money to mitigate it, which we have to spend before it happens (or at least before we start feeling serious effects). Wouldn't it be better to concentrate on adjusting to the effects as they occur?

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jul 2009 15:14:41 BDT
.....depending on the severity of the effects and whether you can actually adjust to them.

There is little doubt that human beings need to change behavioural patterns if for no other reason than stripping the planet of it's remaining resources. If all 8bn human beings lived as 'Northern' countries do, then wouldn't very much left of anything.

Perhaps the most potent message of climate change adherents is the neccesity for societal change (irrespective of our ability to stop or mitigate climate change).

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2010 11:49:19 BDT
Francisca says:
Which global warming? Where I live (France) the climate has been getting colder for the past three years! Where is the warming everybody talks about? If people want to be taken serious they should talk about reality, not about clichés fed to them by people who have an hidden agenda! Spend what before "it" happens? Which serious effects? The climate is not getting hotter and that is the reality, at least not in any country I know! It might.... God knows.... but why worry now of something which is not there yet? Weren't they worrying about the cooling some decades ago? And think about all the useless polution going on no one worries about: air-co, even when it is bloody cold, all over the world, all the motorized races people very much enjoy without a blink, all the motorized sports in beaches all over the world, buildings lit unnecessarily, people traveling around for no reason (I am not talking about those going on the odd, well deserved holiday), mass immigration which moves millions of people all over the world.... and much more. No one worries or even talks about all that! Worry about the warming when it starts to get warm, don't worry now because it might just be bad for your health!

Posted on 14 Jun 2011 18:38:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2011 18:39:11 BDT
Buddy says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2012 08:12:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 May 2012 09:01:09 BDT
Reply to Odin's Magic Staff.

Very good point about the 'gender-bender' side-effects of fluoride/contraceptive pill residue etc... in the drinking water. What the Nazis did in Auchwitz etc... is now being done right across the UK/Europe and the medical results seem similar. A recent news article discussed the huge increase in genital deformation occuring in newborn baby boys and suggested the cause was 'hormonal inbalance'. Testostertone levels in UK males, particularly amongst those under thirty, are now so low that some 25-30% are medically unable to sire children!!! Homosexual practice/numbers are increasing whils't many supposedly 'normal' young men today are clearly more effeminate than those of my generation.
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