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HALL OF FAMEon 5 February 2006
Gelbspan is angry. His wrath is prominent on nearly every page of this stimulating work. He's irate because he's convinced climate change looms as a threat to our planet. Certain that today's nearly runaway "global warming" is at least accelerated by our society, if not basically initiated by our industrialised lifestyle, he vigorously censures the perpetrators. Living in the USA, and aware of how much his nation contributes to the worsening condition of our biosphere, he addresses his treatise directly at his fellow countrymen. Resource and energy industries have combined to blind North Americans to the results of their high profit commercial ventures. "Wake up!", Gelbspan admonishes. "You've been led into a bad situation! Fix it!"
The author's unsparing in his condemnation of lax standards and half-hearted solutions. No segment of contemporary US society, whether energy producer, consumer, politician is exempted from condemnation. Even environmental activists don't escape his lash. His primary target is the fossil fuel and coal industries. With their long-standing role as the foundation of US economic growth, they've grown nearly omnipotent. That power has been applied to guiding political figures in their development, or dearth, of policies regarding environmental issues. As the planet's largest producer of polluting agents, Gelbspan wants the US to start countering the prowess of industrial lobbyists in his nation. The time for action is overdue. And the solutions are available to be implemented. The first step is for the current adminstration to recognise that climate change is happening and much of it is human-induced. The time for obfuscation and delaying tactics is past.
Knowing how difficult it is for most citizens to cut through the propaganda they've been inundated with, Gelbspan provides a wealth of references to studies justifying his ire. The mass of evidence should convince the "enviro-sceptics" dominating the Bush administration and guiding journalists. Gelbspan recognises the "equal time" philosophy dominating most issues in the US, but charges that "equal time" is a fallacy when "the other side" is producing false or misleading information. Publishing "selective results" is anathema to any researcher worth the name, but it's rich fare for subservient politicians and lobbyists.
The solutions are available, says Gelbspan. He lists and examines several proposed plans of action. Most are found wanting for a variety of reasons. He's clear in why he considers them inadequate, noting that most are good, but cannot provide effective action in the needed time span or geographic scope required. The US may be the planet's worse polluter, but the problem is global, not confined by two oceans, a river and the "world's longest undefended border". His endorsement goes to The World Energy Modernization Plan put together in 1998 by a consortium of executives and experts in various fields. "The World" aspect in the group's title represents the need to gain firm support from many nations to implement the plan. The Montreal Protocol of 1987 diminishing atmospheric flourocarbons is an example the Plan could follow. It drastically reduced a serious threat to the upper atmosphere without impinging on the chemical's manufacturers to continue profitable operation. Where changing to new, safer chemicals worked there, changing to carbon-free energy can have the same effect now. To find out how it works, read Gelbspan's case and proposed solution. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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on 13 January 2005
It seems that ever since the Texas oil lobby moved into the White House, anyone who questions what they'e doing to planet earth -- the only one we have -- are fair game for ridicule. But like the infamous rats who are first to abandon sinking ships, they'll be the first ones to beg for their lives. My introductory rant has to do with the few who fling spitballs at serious writers like Ross Gelbspan. I'd call them mindless apes but that would be unfair to the intelligent primates who live in African and South American forests.
Release of "Boiling Point," comprehensively pulls together a lot of the science on climate change that has published during the past several years. It provides increased credence to scientific concerns about the climate change.
Gelbspan's position is, climate change is much more than "just another issue." Indeed, it goes far beyond "only" being an environmental issue. He makes the case and warns that it is an all-encompassing economic, energy, political and moral issue.
"We are living on an increasingly precarious margin of stability," he warns, describing how "we have set in motion massive systems of the planet that have kept it relatively hospitable for the last 10,000 years."
Gelbspan calls for a kind of Marshall Plan to stop what he hopes isn't too late to reverse the "suicidal" trends. He appears to emjoy the attacks that will come from the "skeptics" whom he (and many others) accuses of feeding at the trough of the big coal and oil interests.
Gelbspan sems to enjoys his critics dismissing his earlier sharing of a Pulitzer when he was an editor at the Boston Globe. Acknowledging those criticisms to be "quite hurtful," he admits to being "privately pleased." He says his coal and oil industry critics couldn't refute his reporting in "The Heat is On" and instead had to resort to character assassination by lying about his award.
In the preface to his new book Gelbspan reports that he had "conceived and edited" the Globe series on systematic job discrimination against African Americans, "helped select the reporters, directed the reporting, and edited the articles." The Globe's editor and publisher chose him to receive the Pulitzer on behalf of the paper, and included his photo and bio along with those of other team members under the headline "Pulitzer Prize Winners." He's posted that and other related information on his website. But the carbon crowd, as they dishonestly spread information on climate change, also lie about Gelbspan's Pulitzer.
In "Boiling Point," Gelbspan's indictments are launched in chapters with titles such as "Criminals Against Humanity," opening with a bizarre quote from Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Ok).
"Nothing has further alienated the United States from the rest of the world than the Bush administration's dismissal of global climate change," Gelbspan writes. The book was written and released in the aftermath of Bush's failed Iraq War.
"With the 2000 presidential election, however, the fossil fuel lobby won a victory beyond its wildest dreams," he continues. "What began as an industry campaign of deception and information was adopted as presidential strategy."
Gelbspan doesn't spare the American media a tongue lashing. He finds American news organizations missing-in-action (or inaction), and possibly complicit.
"The U.S. press has basically played the role of unwitting accomplice by consistently minimizing this [climate change] story, if not burying it from public view altogether," writes Gelbspan.
Calling it political reporting, not the science or environmental beat, providing a career path to being a top editor, he accuses the media of doing "a deplorable job in disseminating" decade-old scientific information of human impacts on climate "and all its implications." He says US newspaper coverage is shameful in comparison with responsible reporting on climate change in Western Europe.
Footnote to this review: I wish to add that in the July 2004, I attended the Third World Health Organization meeting on health effects of global warming. Under very high security, dozens of European cabinet officials )ministers of health, environemtn, and public safety) met in Budapest. Discussed were the effects of floods and other natural disasters associated with climate change. The Europeans are making life saving plans for their future generations while Americans are still quibbling about whether or not the climate is changing.
Can Gelbspans literary efforts help to turn the American suicidal madness around?
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on 4 September 2014
One of the most important books Ive read. Explains why there is so much confusion amongst the public about what climate change really is - because the oil companies have paid for it to be so. They don't want you to read this book which is as good as any reason to read it. If you have kids or are a same compassionate human being then you have a duty to read this book.
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