From Publishers Weekly
Pielke (The Honest Broker) presents a smart and hard-nosed analysis of the politics and science of climate change and proposes a commonsense approach to climate policy. According to Pielke, the iron law of climate policy dictates that whenever environmental and economic objectives are placed in opposition to each other, economics always wins. Climate policies must be made compatible with economic growth as a precondition for their success, he writes, and because the world will need more energy in the future, an oblique approach supporting causes, such as developing affordable alternative energy sources rather than consequences, such as controversial schemes like cap-and-trade, is more likely to succeed. Although some may protest on principle the suggestion that we accept the inevitability of energy growth, Pielke's focus on adaptation to climate change refreshingly sidesteps the unending debate over the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and opens up the possibility for effective action that places human dignity and democratic ideals at the center of climate policies.
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Pielke’s area of expertise is the crossroads where environmental studies and politics meet, and clearly he is very frustrated by how the hard cold facts of science have become subservient to the whims of political fortune. In carefully crafted chapters that rely heavily on widely acknowledged truths, he examines everything from carbon dioxide emissions to the recent climategate controversy. Pielke excels in pointing out the minutiae the climate discussion finds itself repeatedly bogged down in, compared to the larger issues of global warming, regardless of the cause, which are irrefutable. From Kyoto to Copenhagen, Gore to George W. Bush to Obama, he addresses the changing political winds, the myths used to justify weak political will, and the irrevocable relationship between environmental policy and the economy. For navigating a treacherous field with grace and aplomb, Pielke deserves much praise. Whether readers will feel reassured or not after reading his measured words and patient call for a broad-based climate policy will depend on future political response. Copious endnotes and sourcing material included. --Colleen Mondor