Customer Review

71 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Thought Out and Provocative, October 2, 2000
This review is from: Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (Plume) (Paperback)
I have read this book two and a half times - during the 1992 and 1996 elections and am reading it currently - and have found it fascinating each time. Al Gore seems to truly understand the environmental issue to a depth that is shocking to find in a politician. Common criticisms of the book include:
1. It is dully written - This is true to some extent. If I were not fascinated by the subject I may have found it rough going. This is the reason it gets 4 stars rather than 5 from me.
2. That the facts stated are unsupported - Balderdash. The book is not foot-noted like an academic monograph because it is not an academic monograph - it is a "popular science" book much like Carl Sagan's work or Isaac Asimov's nonfiction. Sources are frequently mentioned within the text and the figure captions. Add this to the copious chapter notes and bibliography and his sources are well credited.
3. Current Science doses not back up the text - Fully answering this would mean writing another book, but, for example, I have yet to see a reputable atmospheric scientist outside the pay of conservative think tanks deny the existence of the global warming phenomenon anymore. Gore simply researched this book to death and got the science right.
4. An excuse for more big government - Yes, some more environmental regulation would be necessary to forward the Vice-President's goals - current corporate structure is not at all conducive to putting the good of the world ahead of the bottom line no matter how small the sacrifice is. On the other hand, Al Gore was one of the first proponents of free-market solutions too, such as transferable carbon-emission credits.
All in all, a very good if not great book.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 25, 2008 2:30:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 25, 2008 2:32:14 PM PDT
Konagnu says:
To Lon Grabowski "lgrabows": You mention in your review that "I have yet to see a reputable atmospheric scientist outside the pay of conservative think tanks deny the existence of the global warming phenomenon anymore"

You have misstated the issue, the issue is not if the earth is warming, it is, but what, if any, does mans activities influence this, and in any event, is a warning earth a bad thing.
Again your statement ""I have yet to see a reputable atmospheric scientist outside the pay of conservative think tanks" Then you have not looked too hard, if you looked at all.

First, there is no consensus in the scientific community with respect to either of the issues: does mans activities influence this, and in any event, is a warning earth a bad thing.

Even Gore does not suggest there is a consensus: Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim--in his defense--that scientists "don't know. . . . They just don't know." http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008597

Just this summer we had the Manhattan Declaration: http://theclimatebet.com/2008/04/22/manhattan-declaration-on-climate-change/

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

http://www.petitionproject.org/ (30,000 + American scientists have lent their names to a document that questions the "man caused" conclusions drawn by the IPCC).

http://dreadnaught.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/500-scientists-publish-evidece-refuting-man-made-global-warming/ 500 peer reviewed studies that question the "man caused" theory.

The point I am attempting to make here is that there are many credible scientists, not working for conservative think tanks who disagree. Further suggesting that scientists working for conservative think tanks would be any less objective and true to the scientific method than those scientists working for, say, IPCC, can be objective given the source of their research funds, reveals your political prejudice.

Politics, which is at the base of this debate.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2009 6:32:50 AM PDT
Doubter says:
I clicked on the first link and researched a little bit about the Manhattan Declaration. Here's what I found:

The conference was supported by the Heartland Institute, which received money in the past from ExxonMobil for its views against global warming, or climate change as it is now called. The actual meeting itself tried to attract scientists by offering them $1,000 to attend and speak. It tried to attract politicians by offering hotel accommodations.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/what-if-you-held-a-conference-and-no-real-scientists-came/

Though I understand that quality trumps quantity, it is a little disconcerting when there are 19 scientists present out of the 114 people physically present at the meeting.

"The meeting was largely framed around science, but after the luncheon, when an organizer made an announcement asking all of the scientists in the large hall to move to the front for a group picture, 19 men did so. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html?_r=1

Of course, it stands in stark contrast to current international meetings,

"While the IPCC enlisted several hundred scientists from more than 100 countries to work over five years to produce its series of reports, the NIPCC document is the work of 23 authors from 15 nations, some of them not scientists"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/03/AR2008030302781.html

That was what I found in a manner of minutes about the very first link I clicked (mainly because Declaration sounded so official). Plus, I'm not too sure how much you should trust the last lost tribe of skeptics, when there is monetary incentives in some cases to publish work arguing against anthropomorphic climate change:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/feb/02/frontpagenews.climatechange
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