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249 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and devastating, 15 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is The Obsession With `Climate Change` Turning Out To Be The Most Costly Scientific Blunder In History? (Hardcover)
This is easily the best of several books I have read on the subject of global warming. Booker traces the history of the alarm over AGW from its origin - following the careers of the main proponents of the scare, such as James Hansen and Al Gore. In doing so he highlights their political manouevring, their inability to debate and justify their views and their growing vested interests. He describes in detail the way the notorious "Hockey Stick" graph appeared, became a major propaganda weapon, then became completely discredited. He describes how the British government's scientific advisers were exposed and humiliated when they tried to recruit leading Russian scientists to the crusade against global warming.
Booker goes on to chronicle the political response to warming - the process that led to Kyoto, the proliferation of useless wind farms and the British government's new law which requires us to reduce CO2 emissions by 80%, without having the slightest idea how to do so without shutting down the economy.
If you only buy one book about global warming, buy this one.
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Showing 1-10 of 43 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Oct 2009 15:06:51 GMT
Reg says:
I too have some scepticism about the more alarmist edges of the global warming industry; I suspect our marvellous planet is rather more resilient that we give it credit for apart from anything else. However, I do find some of the anti-global warming ranting quite amusing. There is often an under-current of "well that's all cobblers then, so let's carry on using up our natural resources as fast as we can without worrying about it".

In practice, most proposals for reining in climate change are often (a) patently obviously good and sensible ideas regardless and (b) money saving for both businesses and individuals. Even if you accept that climate change is not caused by man (a big ask), why does it NOT make sense to:

- reduce our bizarre obsession with burning oil - because it WILL run out eventually, it being a finite resource, contrary to what some Americans seems to think, and being resourceful human beings we can find a better way if we try
- reduce nasty emissions from industry - it promotes innovation, generates economic activity and makes the world a nicer place to be
- reduce unnecessary energy use - turning off lights, not leaving things on stand-by and so on is hardly an imposition AND ACTUALLY SAVES YOU MONEY!
- recycle - even if recycling is not always cost effective, burying squillions of tonnes of rubbish without any thought to the future is thick, full stop, due to a lack of suitable holes in the ground

As an example, charging for or taxing plastic carrier bags is such a no-brainer it staggers me that it needs to be debated. Remembering to take a few bags to the supermarket requires as near zero effort as makes no difference, and there are no downsides.

In summary, it may turn out that the climate change panic is overdone - but most of the mitigation being suggested is entirely sensible and worth doing regardless.

And if we aren't 100% sure that it's not true, what sort of dribbling moron would take a chance with the future of our entire planet and race anyway?

Quite amusing.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Oct 2009 19:57:24 GMT
John Atkins says:
Conservation is all very well but building hundreds of useless windmills and placing them around the coast is not good conservation and makes absolutely no sense.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2009 12:12:57 GMT
J. C. Day says:
I agree with John. In this area of North Wales a 25- turbine windfarm was built on a hill; in order to build it a large area of forest was cut down, and tons of concrete laid; one of the least environmental friendly materials!! Sensible? I think not!
I would be much more convinced about climate change if those world leaders, who lecture us about it, weren't flying themselves and hundreds of hangers-on round the world on tax-payer funded jollies.
I would be much more convinced if the government insisted that all computers and lights in local and central government offices, and schools, and Parliament, were turned off by 8/9.00 o'clock at night.
I would be more convinced if ALL official cars were small, low emission vehicles.etc,etc. I could go on and on!!
P.S. As we do not know at the moment who is actually right about climate change, it would be nice to have intelligent discussions, without the insulting language which so many proponents of C.C. seem to indulge in; e.g. 'ranting' 'dribbling moron'. I have my opinion, and you have yours.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2009 15:17:27 GMT
jrhartley says:
But isn't it, as Eric pointed out, sensible to adopt the precautionary stance regarding resource utilisation and degradation? Doesn't it make sense to reduce the rubbish we are consuming on the back of the post WW2 'consumption-led' model of economic growth for its own sake as trotted out by the US and adopted seemingly by every country as an aspiration? Is it not intelligent to do less with more, use our brains, our creativity, our imaginations, our bodies, as opposed to going out to the shops and buying like zombies? Ultimately there is huge resource degradation going on and AGW is actually symptomatic of the bigger malaise of the human condition - greed and laziness. If population continues to grow at current rates, AGW will be the least of our worries - water and famine leading to huge conflicts will take their toll. I'm always intrigued as to what the AGW doubters rationale is for governments promoting approaches that will lead to reduced GDP. I fail to believe that fame and edification is their motivating force - and I find the notion that IPCC scientists are just interested in getting their name in lights and so have hatched all this up. I haven't read this book yet, but I will give it a go and see what I learn from it.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2009 11:06:50 GMT
-our "Bizarre obsession" with burning oil? it is perfectly reasonable given how important it is to running machinery and other things we depend on... it is a finite resource, and so as the amount of it goes down, the price will go up- this will incentivise people to extract oil from more costly places and to research alternatives. oil companies such as shell are not spastics, it is in their own self-interest to be one of the leading innovators of renewable energy and such like because they hope to be selling it when it becomes efficient enough to use. the market took us from using hay to whale oil to kerosene to gasoline without government having to tell us any of these things were ineffieicnt or running out or any other bull.

-government forcing businesses to do this or that and telling them what they can and cannot do "promotes innovation"?? last i checked leaving markets alone was the only thing that promoted innovation and wealth creation.

-if turning off lights saved us money then we'd do it. and hence we do. you dont leave your kitchen light on and go upstairs to bed, it just tends not to happen. but leaving lights on accidentally or infrequently as happens now is done because people the cost to them of having to constantly remember turning off the lights outweighs the benefits of always turning off unused lights. if it saves us all money then we don't need you to tell us in other words, we can do what's best for ourselves, and if you disagree you think yourself better than us and hence have to create false incentives for us to act as you wish.

-a lack of suitable holes in the ground... our compacting technology is constantly getting better. if you let people pay for their own rubbish collection and cut tax where it was being used to pay for this service and subsidise the poorest people, then it would be in peoples interest to innovate even more than we currently are and the market would sort the problem out. an amazingly small amount of our total land area can be used for productive things like farming, there are vast open spaces where holes can be dug, and they dont necessarily have to go wider, just deeper, so i don't accept that we will be running out of space to dig holes for a very very long time.

Quite amusing.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2009 16:13:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Oct 2009 19:06:39 GMT
jrhartley says:
What's quite amusing is the way the AGW doubters always think that the solution HAS to be found within the framework of the existing model. As a designer, I know that the biggest mistake you can make in design is to try to force out the solution from a flawed starting point. Sometimes you need to start with a clean slate, using what you've learned from the mistakes before. What's amusing is how people are so conditioned as 'consumers' and 'profit-maximers' they really can't envisage a world built around different models of efficiency and productivity.

I've just done some research into Booker's credentials. I see he's probably a bit less qualified than me to appraise the various data - i.e. just a man sounding off. That's fine. But on the grounds of the quality of his writing in this weekend's Telegraph, I won't be rushing out to read a man's rant at his right to carry on without any sort of parameters.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2009 10:31:27 GMT
Perhaps you should read the book before you make these comments. It is hardly a rant but a shocking expose of what's been going on.
So far capitalism has created wealth and will continue to do so. All other "models" have failed. The earth is fine, as Lovelock himself attests.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2009 22:05:28 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Nov 2009 22:09:27 GMT
jrhartley says:
As I said, I read his excerpt in the Telegraph and it was poor writing which read like a rant. One assumes in an excerpt for a paper, with the objective of getting people to go out and buy the book, you would publish some good text to whet the appetite, no?

There needs to be a motivation for gov'ts to get people to consume less under carbon taxes. What is it? Carbon taxes can never, by definition, provide governments with more revenue than unchecked economic growth (through capital gains, income, ad valorem taxes, excise duties). So why would a government willingly elect for a process - reduced consumption - which saw its tax revenues down and its spending up, and more likelihood of civil unrest as people struggled to get their head around the idea of not being about to buy cheap tat from Taiwan anymore? Booker seems, like people like Alex Jones and the like of AGW doubters, to believe that Al Gore, the IPCC, etc have some bizarre desire to see their name in lights, to reduce our consumption 'because they can'. It doesn't really stack up. You've always got to question the motivation of any deceit.

And your reply demonstates how so many people continue to see the matter as having to be a choice between capitalism or socialism / communism / previously tried methods. Programmed to think that there can be no other way - you have been well moulded into the desired "people as a consumer" and that wealth is the objective.

The earth is far from fine. Visited the amazon recently?

Posted on 7 Nov 2009 14:29:30 GMT
Steven says:
Sure, reducing energy usage by turning off a few lights makes sense. Also, charging for plastic bags to encourage recycling and (more generally) reducing the amount of packaging used for food.

But the governments of the world are talking of plans to reduce UK / USA CO2 emissions by 60-80% by 2050. That's a totally different matter - you have to go back a couple of centuries to find when emission levels were last that low! If they are really serious about this in the UK, effectively shutting down large chunks of the economy, they had better be sure that the science is right. Read this book and decide for yourself if there is more to it that the IPCC reports of "imminent" rises in sea levels of 20m, polar bear extinctions (actually their numbers are increasing at the moment!), mosquitos at the North Pole, etc.

The consolation is that, with the IPCC predicting global warming of about 4 degrees Centigrade per century, reality may diverge from the CO2 models sufficiently for the more draconian suggestions of reducing CO2 emissions never to be implemented. (In fact, the current trend since 2001 is for cooling of about 2 degrees Centigrade per century - Booker, page 328.) Hopefully the worst measures will not need to be implemented before 2050 because the AGW theories will be completely discredited long before then.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2009 20:54:48 GMT
Tim Lintott says:
In fact my impression of Booker is that he is an environmentalist, if a fairly crusty one. His big bugbear is oppresive and incompetent bureaucracy especially big government. Looking at the writing of people like Tony Juniper or Mark Renton what gets me is their complete commitment to that same oppressive Govt bureaucracy etc. I've read rather more of them than Booker so can't really compare them yet but Booker does have common sense if nothing else on his side.

What I can't understand about limits to growth people is that none of those that I have read have worked out that a sustainable econmomy requires a quick elimination of nearly all Public and most Private sector debt. Certainly none have come up with any worthwhile proposals as to how to reduce them.
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