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An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming Hardcover – May 29, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former British energy secretary and chancellor of the exchequer Lawson succinctly lambastes global warming hysteria in this slim book. To Lawson, save the planet is the most ludicrous slogan ever coined; Al Gore's tendentious documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is a fanciful cherry-picking of phenomena illustrating a predetermined alarmist narrative; and the new religion of environmentalism contains a grain of truth—and a mountain of nonsense. Lawson's tone is occasionally shrill, but his insights are keen and refreshingly iconoclastic. He argues that green protectionism, the movement to restrict importing produce because of the incurred food miles, damages the global economy more than global warming ever could, and the would-be saviours of the planet are, in practice, the enemies of poverty reduction in the developing world. Lawson reserves his deepest contempt for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-winner with Gore of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which he dubs an unethical, politically correct pressure group whose most recent report misrepresents the reality of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and fails to embrace the potential of humans to adapt to climate change. The conservative (and Conservative) author's contrarian synthesis of political thinking and economic analysis is notably well argued and well written—and sure to raise the hackles of those on the other side of the issue. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


'Only one senior political figure in Britain has dared stand apart from [the] stifling orthodoxy: Nigel Lawson' - The Telegraph. 'Elegantly written, thorough, entertaining and, above all, convincing' - The Financial Times. 'Bombarded with the zealous certainties of those deaf to reasoned argument ... it is intensely refreshing to find in Nigel Lawson someone who, without claiming to have all the answers, is at least brave enough to ask eminently sensible questions' - The Spectator. 'Along with the polemics, he makes some sensible points' - The Guardian. 'This is a fascinating tome, the best exposition of the sceptical view on global warming that I have yet to come across' - Literary Review. 'His insights are keen and refreshingly iconoclastic ... well argued and well written' - Publishers Weekly. 'Lawson slices through the layers of pseudo-scientific hype, anti-American prejudice, green evangelism and rampant ecomania to expose the scientific realities, the political issues, the economic options and the ethical considerations that really matter' - Antony Jay, creator of "Yes Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister". --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Books (May 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590200845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590200841
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,319,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This short book is more "telling" in its review of the global warming/climate change controversy than the many tomes and movies that have preceded it. The author looks at all sides of the issue, including the dissenters who cannot get their work published. He is willing to assume the "what if" scenario that accepts the global warming predictions and then proceeds to analyze just what the reasonable consequences of such warming would be, and how mankind would adapt and handle it. With a little bit of thought and reason, as opposed to political motivation and the panic approach, the author removes much of the doomsday alarmism from the issue. A must read for anyone wanting to explore the entire issue, rather than just the closed minded "consensus" we are all told to accept.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an extremely rational look at global warming that ultimately asks the reader, although not explicitly, to consider why human-kind still has a pronounced, if not suicidal, collectivist, and socialistic instinct when in all of human history only freedom has produced salutatory results. As the world socialistically unites around global warming here is the heart of Nigel Lawson's thoroughly footnoted and brilliant argument. It should encourage you to read the book, and then go on to read more about this incredible issue that so threatens the capacity for reason which we have so painstakingly developed over the centuries.

1) "The 21st century standstill [ 8 years of temperature decline], which has occurred at a time when global CO2 emissions have been rising faster than ever, is something that the conventional wisdom, and the computer models on which it relies, completely failed to predict." (page 6)

2) "They [The Hadley Centre] now forecast that, after an unpredicted, almost decade-long lull global warming will resume in 2009 or thereabouts". ( page 7)

3) "For the United States, only three of the last twelve years emerge as among the warmest since records began; and the warmest year of all was 1934." (page 9)

4) "two thirds of the Green house effect.... is water vapor....Rather a long way behind is carbon dioxide the second most important greenhouse gas." (Page 10)

5) "....the science of clouds, which is clearly critical (not the least because water vapor [the major component], as we have seen, is far and away the most important contributor to greenhouse gases is one of the least understood aspects of climate science." (page 12)

6) ...
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Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot about Global Warming and the human contributions thereto. This is the best treatment on the subject that I've seen. It combines a reasonable review of the science involved, including attribution, and the politics being spent by governments world wide. The author is uniquely qualified to challenge the now popularly held opinions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nigel Lawson has long had a reputation as a razor sharp intellect. In this book he does not disappoint, offering up a succinct yet thorough analysis of the economics, science and politics of climate change. Lawson draws on his experience as Great Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer and Energy Secretary to produce a careful examination of the dangers we face and the options available to us. Lawson's discussion of the costs of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions is particularly valuable, as is his summary of the ethical issues raised by discounting future costs and benefits. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
In this thought-provoking book, Nigel Lawson asks key questions about global warming. Is the world warming and if so, why? How much warmer will it get? What will be the consequences? What can and should we do about it? What is the most cost-effective way to tackle it?

He looks at the temperature record. Surprisingly, temperatures have not risen since 2001, even though global CO2 emissions have been rising faster than ever. There was a 0.7oC rise over the last century while the CO2 in the atmosphere rose by 30%, largely caused by industrialisation driven by the rapid worldwide growth of carbon-based energy consumption (burning coal, oil and gas). Some, possibly most, of the warming is due to this growth of CO2 emissions and so of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report predicted a sea-level rise of between 18 and 59 centimetres by 2100. (Its 1990 report predicted a 3.67 metre rise.) The IPCC predicted a 1.8o-4oC temperature rise by 2100, a mean of less than 3oC. (At 3oC, it says, "Globally, the potential for food production is projected to increase.") 3oC is 0.03oC a year, compared to 1975-2000's 0.02oC a year.

The IPCC says the one `virtually certain' impact of global warming is `reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure'. A 2003 Department of Health study confirmed this, predicting a decrease in cold-related mortality of 20,000 and an increase in heat-related mortality of 2,000 by the 2050s.

On the IPCC's worst case scenario, of 1% growth a year in the developed countries and 2.3% in the developing countries, global warming could cost us 5% of world GDP by 2100. This would make developed countries' GDP 2.6 times today's rather than 2.7 and developing countries' GDP 8.
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