From Publishers Weekly
Gelbspan, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, offers no less than a call to arms in this treatise on how global warming is a threat and how it can be avoided. Gelbspan expands the argument about global warming: not only is the current U.S. administration to blame, but journalists and activists are as well. Journalists, he says, are culpable because they are minimizing the story; activists, while well-meaning, are so busy trying to form alliances and make compromises that they lose sight of a problem that Gelbspan believes could ultimately compromise the planet. Gelbspan writes clearly, and he argues that Republican members of Congress have latched onto theories of the few scientists who don't believe that global warming is a major problem. He lays out three of the plans being discussed to attack the problem, as well as one of his own (which focuses on changing energy subsidies from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, funding the transfer of renewable energy sources to developing countries and greatly tightening emission standards). But at times, he adopts an apocalyptic tone—the first sentence of his first chapter contains the words, "global climate change is threatening to spiral out of control"—and that may limit this work to true believers.
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Denouncing the oil and coal industries as "criminals against humanity," Gelbspan justifies his use of that label by communicating his sincere belief that human civilization is in mortal peril from global warming. Yet he recognizes that the American public is not as alarmed as he is, so the first half of his work dissects the forces he alleges are keeping Americans in ignorant thrall. They are the fossil fuel lobby, the current Bush administration, and journalism. An ex-member of the Fourth Estate, Gelbspan denounces it for inadequate coverage of global warming, and when covering it, for giving equal weight to the arguments of skeptical scientists. In the second half, after criticizing local environmental gestures and proposed free-market solutions as insufficient, Gelbspan presents his proposals for separating civilization from its hydrocarbon appetite. Key to the program is the establishment of an international organization to fund green technologies, financed by a global tax on international currency transactions. If ExxonMobil is your enemy, Gelbspan is your champion. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved