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on 17 August 2006
This is an excellent way into the subject for the beginner. There's some very sound science, most of which is agreed upon and a good understanding of how policy making works, or doesn't. The two ideas are brought together along with a discussion as to how we might proceed. One of the strengths of the book is the frequent use of boxes to put alternative viewpoints and summaries to show where we are in the debate. The overall effect is one of the most lucid and readable introductory accounts of the topic that has been published in some while. As such it should be seen as a 'must-buy' and an essential addition to the library.
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on 5 December 2014
Excellent book
Professor Andrew Dessler really gets to the heart of the issue and gives an honest and accurate account. there is no pandering to the skeptics, this is about facts only and not nonsense conspiracy theories.
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on 13 August 2012
I required to derive some clarity from the raging debate about the 'truth' of climate science. In this book I found an excellently balanced guide to the situation, with informative summaries of the relevant science and the contrary arguments. It aided me to identify that scepticism of man made climate change can also be viewed with scepticism. Unlike the consensus view justified thoroughly in this book, sceptics of man made global warming have not presented wide-ranging evidence with which to defended their case for non-human causes of the recent warming. The book carefully examines all non-human factors which might potentially be causing the warming and sets out why it does not appear that any natural forces could be responsible, while human emissions appear very likely to be responsible. The book also usefully identifies that sceptics of man-made climate change have not proved that human emissions of greenhouse gases cannot cause the recent warming.

I did not go to this book for its guidance on politics of climate change. However after satisfying myself with the science sections, I then found that the politics sections are also very useful. Particularly helpful is the explanation of why policy actors act as they do and why they contrast with scientists so much, while also drawing on 'scientific' arguments to support their policies.

Overall highly recommnended to anyone seriously concerned with knowing the truth about what is causing climate change.
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on 13 September 2012
This is well written but pointless book. Often it illustrates the obvious and is written with huge bias. It is not a "guide to the debate". For there clearly is for alarmists "no debate to be had". The vast majority of skeptics want to debate the science and most accept we could be causing the climate to shift in the short or medium term. But you can not have a debate with scientists that accept a scenario as fact yet use words like "suggests", "may", "could" , "likely" , "possible"... I expected so much more from this book but it was very disappointing.
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on 16 May 2012
Dr Goebbels once said that if you repeat a lie enough enough, people will come to believe you. His words could stand as the motif of this book, which pretends to provide a fair and even discussion of the great global warming debate. They appear to accept everything the IPCC utters as gospel truth, but we now know that the authors of their various reports (the most recent from 2007) are not correctly peer reviewed but rather reviewed by a handful of carefully selected believers. Thus we encounter errors and mistakes such as the well-known prediction of the disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers in 2036, a precise date which clashes with the known uncertainty of any climate predictions. It was apparently taken from an article (not from a scientific journal) published by an environmental activist. Although the IPCC has since admitted the howler, the reputational damage remains. But to return to the book, Chapter 2 looks at how science works and the authors argue that peer review is completely effective in screening research results. My own experience as a peer reviewer for scientific journal is that the process can work well provided the reviewer is independent and does not know the author of the paper. However, if the reviewer is selected as a friend or colleague of the author, then one can only expect a whitewash. As the Climategate emails showed, prominent climatologists have been abusing the system to promote their own viewpoint using close colleagues for review purposes. In another break with scientific protocol, those climatologists then refused to divulge the data sets they had used to outside and independent analysis. Scrutiny and scepticism are at the very heart of scientific advances, and if you twist the rules, the reduce the credibility of your theories or ideas. There are no references at all to Climategate in this book, for example, a surprising flaw given what the messages revealed. It is also surprising that they do give quotations from some of the sceptics like Lindzen and Singer, but then ignore their arguments completely. They seem to rely only on their selected "experts" such as the IPCC, which gives the entire book an air of systematic bias. In fact the world climate has been cooling for the last decade, an event not foreseen by the IPCC, and neither could their misleading climate models account for the severe cooling phase in the 1940's to 1970's (we were lucky then, because the cold Russian winters of the 40's helped defeat Adolf Hitler). None of the dire outcomes of the IPCC report occurred, such as sea level rises drowning countries, species extinction, Biblical floods and etc. Terrible floods have happened, but as a result of tsunamis. It is such counter-evidence that these authors have ignored, and so this book cannot rank as an unbiased and fair account of the alleged problems of climate change.
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on 5 March 2010
My comments apply to the second (2010) edition. If you want to read a lengthy academic exposition on "normative claims" and "positive claims" (value judgements and factual statements) then this book is for you. The bowdlerized description of peer review seems comical in the wake of climategate. The book pretty much follows the establishment party line on the scientific validity of global warming. It leaves out extremely strong arguments against global warming hysteria. For example the fact that the early 20th century warming from 1910 to 1940 was as strong as the late 20th century warming from 1970 to 1998 yet it is clear that CO2 had nothing to do with the early century warming and worse no one actually knows what caused the early century warming. But apparently the scientists "know" that the late century warming was caused by greenhouse gases.

The authors' basic technique is to try to seem objective by quoting skeptics but not to take them seriously. Unfortunately a lot of naive people will probably take this book seriously.
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