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282 of 334 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Climate Change Incompetent Reporting Exposed
For those of you whose understanding of climate change or global warming comes from the main stream media (New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, CBS-TV, et al) this book is a must read, that is if you subscribed to the "chicken little" thesis that the sky is falling, or in the case of climate change that we will be unable to live on planet earth because rising global...
Published on October 29, 2004 by Warthog_1

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75 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the book
If you are interested in climatology read Meltdown. It's a short, easy read.

Whether you are a lifetime member of the Sierra Club or a lobbyist for the coal industry, Michaels' cites the same publicly available data used to support the myriad of negative global warming scenarios to dispel many popular beliefs.

Meltdown does not dismiss global...
Published on April 8, 2006 by Dan


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282 of 334 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Climate Change Incompetent Reporting Exposed, October 29, 2004
By 
Warthog_1 (Palatine, IL USA) - See all my reviews
For those of you whose understanding of climate change or global warming comes from the main stream media (New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, CBS-TV, et al) this book is a must read, that is if you subscribed to the "chicken little" thesis that the sky is falling, or in the case of climate change that we will be unable to live on planet earth because rising global temperatures will destroy civilization.

The sub-title of Meltdown reads "the Predictable Distortion of global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media" and in this he admirably succeeds in documenting and proving. The book is a compendium of headlines and stories found in the media mentioned as well as in a number of scientific journals, mainly Science and Nature. He also addresses some of the more outlandish stories, press releases, and declarations by organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wild Life federation. Dr. Michaels provide chapter and verse, 12 of them, documenting the egregious errors and in some case patently false information foisted on the public at large by all of these organizations. That said the main stream media comes in for the most criticism.

His method is really quite simple. He looks at the data gathered in the real world and uses it to confirm or rebut the hypothesis that anthropogenic warming is causing glaciers to shrink and retreat, is the root cause of rising sea levels that are about to inundate the island of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean or that malaria is making a come back due to warming trends or a plethora of other disasters just over the horizon.

Though he doesn't explicitly say so, the book amply illustrates the incompetence, ignorance, and lack of skepticism by the science writers, as well as their employers, in the main stream media. They come across as cheerleaders with a bull horn instead of skeptical fact reporting and investigative individuals they claim to be. For example, in an USA Today article on the effect of warming sea temperature, the text tells us an increase of 10 degrees will cause a volume increase of .1%. The accompanying graphic shows a 100% increase that are in fact 1000 times more than the actual effect. Or more blatantly, the New York Times in its August 19, 2000 edition reported on Page 1 that "The North Pole is Melting". This story was based on an eyewitness report of a professor of oceanography on a Russian cruise ship in arctic region that had sited open water. According to the Times, "it had been 50 million years since the pole was awash in water". That the Times failed to exercise due diligence is obvious since as Dr. Michaels points out that public domain information available with just a few "mouse clicks" would save them from printing a retraction, of sorts, on Page 3 of Section D three days later. In fact open seawater is not unusual at this time of year and in fact a common occurrence.

Space and time will not allow me to discuss the problems Dr. Michaels found with peer reviewed papers found in supposedly scientific journals, but suffice it to say it certainly should make one question any article from now on that was "peer reviewed".

Though not footnoted, the book provides references to all scientific articles sited as well as specific dates and editions for all news articles and scientific journals. So if one is inclined to "fact check" this book they have a great starting point.

Because science is numbers related, there are a substantial number of charts, graphs, and data summaries that allow the reader to easily follow the great deal of data provided. Ironically many of them come from publications and individuals and who are the targets of his book.

Even if this book does not change your mind it ought to give one pause about most any article published in the mainstream press, and for that matter "peer reviewed" scientific journals that purports to prove that climate change is about to destroy the human race or life as we have know it.
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75 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the book, April 8, 2006
By 
Dan (San Anselmo, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (Paperback)
If you are interested in climatology read Meltdown. It's a short, easy read.

Whether you are a lifetime member of the Sierra Club or a lobbyist for the coal industry, Michaels' cites the same publicly available data used to support the myriad of negative global warming scenarios to dispel many popular beliefs.

Meltdown does not dismiss global warming, although it questions its severity and impact. Meltdown does question whether warming is due primarily to human activity or, more likely, to solar and other large-scale natural cycles that living things have adapted to many times before. The author does not dispute that human beings have influenced the environment, but does not believe we can affect global warming in any meaningful way by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Meltdown's overarching sidebar is about how good people (scientists) go astray when their careers (lives) depend on networks and hierarchies (the paradigmatic status quo) who influence purse strings controlled from places of power (primarily governments) indirectly through political pressure (me and you, the media, and environmentalist groups). The resulting feedback loop leads to prestigious journals awash in bad papers that mysteriously pass peer-review while good, less tabloidesque science is ignored. The resulting avalanche of false claims and hair-raising global warming scenarios strike fear into our hearts so that we donate to environmental groups and write elected representatives pleading for increased funding to study global warming.

Meltdown was published by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank often derided by the left for having been co-founded by Charles Koch, a self-made oilman, and supported by major US corporations (although 70% of their funding is from individuals). The problem with Cato as publisher is no so much the potential for bias (I think the author is very smart and believes what he is saying) but the lost opportunity for a better book. Since Cato is not a publishing company, the manuscript lacks the organization, clarity, and logical progression that a good editor would have brought to the project. For example, the professor often begins to build a thread then disappears forever into an aside (some of which were merciless and unrestrained non-PC lampoons that were, well, funny).

Once of my best advisors always recommended reading the New York Times in the morning and the Wall Street Journal at night. Climate change is too important to ignore either side in the debate.
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73 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Oasis in a Desert of Hyperbole, January 7, 2007
By 
Timothy J. Reed (Highlands Ranch, CO) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (Paperback)
MELTDOWN by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels attempts to shed light on the "Global Warming" debate but as the subtitle states; "The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media", the book takes a broader view of not only the scientific implications but societal and institutional issues that the discussion has raised. Michaels, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, doesn't deny that some of the earth is warming and some of it is cooling, his position is that it is a natural cycle and that the impact of human activity is not significant enough to justify the "hysteria" produced by some scientists, politicians and media outlets.

The major portion of the book provides the basis for his position; it is well documented with graphs, charts and materials that traces the climate for at least the last 100 years substantiating that there have been periods that have been hotter, dryer, cooler or wetter previous to today when there were fewer "greenhouse gases". Intermixed with the data are quotes by scientists or politicians as well as newspaper or magazine copy that builds a case for greenhouse gas induced "global warming" where none seems to exist.

He talks of a peer review process where scientific articles questioning GW are subjected to an institutional bias against these arguments resulting in many not being published. This bias has an impact on the university system because to receive tenure and move through the ranks, the younger instructors have to be published. Michaels believes the system doesn't produce enough independent thought. MELTDOWN also goes into detail about the federal funding of climate research and the cycle of politics and science (plus their lobbyists) where one funds the other to produce data that will result in conclusions that bring more funding. Scientists have a tendency not to produce work that will result in a decrease or elimination of funding. The media does its part by sensationalizing climatological events attributing normal occurrences to "global warming"; they also ignore positions that are counter to current scientific thinking, this way the "heat" is kept on the politicians.

For the "Global Warming" skeptics the book provides substantial information to reinforce that position. To the "Global Warming True Believers" no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their point of view. If you approach the subject with an open mind it is an informative and interesting book.
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152 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Skepticism, December 16, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
It's inspiring to me that a few individuals like Michaels, Lomberg, and some others, armed only with critical intelligence and courage, choose to stand against the tide of demagogues and chicken littles.

Using dozens of examples from science journals, the mainstream press and political speeches, he demolishes predictions of extreme climate change with easy to comprehend logic and facts. Michaels could have written a polemic, but his targets (government funded scientists, pandering politicians and media selling alarmism) end up looking so ridulous and cravenly self interested that he might as well have.

Without the few rays of sanity provided by people like Michaels, the world would seem completely mad to me.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book and Decide for Yourself, April 7, 2007
By 
Nottingham (Los Altos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (Paperback)
Tens of thousands of government and university scientists dependent on government largess for their livelihood, as does a good number of "think tank" scientists have theirs dependent on industry and foundation money. So, to impugn one's motive based on the source of one's paycheck is not worthy of a fair-minded person.

People in a democracy sometimes have a misplaced faith in numbers - number of people believing in something. The answer to a mathematical or scientific question is not determined by a vote-count. A "near-unanimity" of the scientific community has been known to be wrong time and again, especially in recent times when they are often in cahoots with politicians and the media. The scientific method tells us this: hypothesize a theory and let it's predictions be checked by measurements and facts.

Checking measurement and facts - that is what this book does. Read it, check it, compare it with other sources and decide for yourself.
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39 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative book, December 30, 2005
This book is very eye opening. Michaels uses easily accesible studies to disprove many of the most popular scare stories regarding global warming. This is most effective when he discredits articles in Nature magazine, the NY Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, etc. with readily verifiable facts. The book points out many times when these publications had to print retractions (often buried) based on Michaels' research. He also makes a lot of politicians look foolish by printing their quotes contrasted with reality. I highly recommend this book.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reality check on global warming., March 9, 2005
By 
J. Booth (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For 15 years now the media has fed us an apocalyptic vision of global warming. Seldom are sceptical voices heard. When they do get through, a feeling can persist that their opinions are scientifically on shaky ground. The great thing about Michaels' book is that not only is it a well written, digestable and at times witty read, but everything he says is backed up with a either a scientific reference or a clear graph. This is a tour de force for anybody who wants to be armed with some home truths about the real nature of global warming and the unhealthy, closed loop that can exist between elements of the scientific community, the government and the media.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sane Science, November 22, 2005
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Meltdown, by Patrick Michaels, is a rational, sane look at the distortions of anthropogenic global warming that are so prevalent in the headlines. Our human impacts on global warming are only one set of factors in a vast array of factors, largely natural, that drive climate; it has always changed, is always changing, and will always change. Michaels provides the facts, backed with ample data, which refute the hysteria presented by many politicians and in the media. I liked Michaels bluntness and his sense of humor as he attacked the dubious science in the global warming debate. Most of the media presents global warming from the viewpoint of ideologically driven environmentalists, not from science and facts. This is true science, not emotionally charged junk so commonly published today. Michaels explains why this paradigm of exaggerated man-caused doom perpetuates in certain academic circles, and suggests what would lead to a more balanced approach. This is one of the best books I have read on the topic, it should be required reading for all our political leaders.
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37 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite and objective dissestion of the Global Warming Argument, October 6, 2005
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This book is an exquisite dissection of the global warming hype, using real facts, scientific principles, long-term data and long-term trends.

Yes, NATURAL global warming and NATURAL global cooling has existed throughout the history of the earth. Michaels does an oustanding job of showing long-term data trends (pre-massive industrialization in the post- WOrld War II period, pre-petroleum age, and even from before the industrial revolution in some instances) that indicate climate changes are cyclic, or in some locations, cooling, and in some locations, warming. He analyzes each of the global warming arguments with factual analyses and scientific principles in a sobering manner. His data cast doubts on so-called climate model projections and the so-called overwhelming effect of anthrogenic influences. In short, the sky is NOT falling.

Michaels also is to be commended for showing how flawed governmental policies have driven global warming science, and the associated conflict of interest invoving funding and publication. He exposes serious flaws in the so-called journal peer-review system that are obvious to relevant scientists.

Frankly, his funding sources from ExxonMobil and his "neo-con" leanings have NOTHING to do with the outcomes described in his book. What he does is expose the flawed science in global warming studies using scientific prrinciples that are independent of financial sources for his research and his perceived political leanings.

This is an excellent book with realism that policy makers must be required to read before caving in to the policies and hype of nihilism and defeatism advocated by the global warming crowd.
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36 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent data and critical analysis., July 26, 2006
Whether the Earth revolves around the Sun or vice versa should not have been a religious issue such as it was in Copernicus time. Similarly, whether global warming is due to anthropogenic activities (CO2 emission from humans) or volatility in natural trends should not be a political issue. But, it is.

A fair warning to reader, this book is extremely data and graph intensive. Other reviewers have indicated being uncomfortable with that. Michaels also extrapolates trends (straight line) from extremely volatile data lines that many reviewers did not believe or understand. His method, though, is sound. He uses linear regression to derive the straight trend line to clear out the fog from the data volatility. Any advanced user of Excel knows how to do that with Excel graphic function.

From Michaels analysis, we gather a few key points you don't read in the press. First, humans impact on global warming is and will remain small. This is because CO2 has a very small greenhouse effect that is 10 x less than water vapor. Also, CO2 effect on temperature is logarithmic. This means that greater concentration of CO2 have a declining incremental impact on rising temperature. We know that because old fossil records indicated that in the distant past, CO2 concentration was 15 x greater than now; yet, temperatures were only 10 degree Celsius higher than now. Second, over the next century temperatures can be expected to grow slowly and linearly by no more than 1.5 degree Celsius. This increase is more a function of long term natural trend than any anthropogenic effect. Third, ocean levels will not rise much if at all. The Arctic is loosing ice mass. Being floating ice, it will have no impact on ocean level. Meanwhile, the Antarctic is actually gaining ice mass. And, Greenland ice mass is in balance with stable temperatures. Any warming at the poles has occurred in the Winters. Summer temperatures are unchanged (when melting occurs). Fourth, the weather is not becoming more volatile. The respective volatilities of temperature, precipitation, number and intensity of hurricanes, floods, and droughts remain within the norms depicted in long term trends in climate data. All the above are not just vapid assertions, but the result of thorough referenced data analysis.

Michaels contrasts his data analysis approach with the global warming scaremongering from the press, environmental groups, politicians, and a majority of climate scientists who derive their livelihood from supporting the status quo. In chapter 10, he cuts apart "The National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change"(also called the USNA). The USNA selected the two most extreme climate models to develop their scenarios. As a result, it comes up with temperature and precipitation scenarios that are so far off what is even possible.

Michaels is in the minority as a global warming skeptic, but he is not alone. Michaels has edited another excellent book on the subject "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming" with 10 other scientists contributors.
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