145 of 295 people found the following review helpful
A truly disturbing look at why global warming alarmists lie about the science,
This review is from: Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity (Paperback)
Having participated in the national and international debate over climate change for more than 15 years, I eagerly bought and read this book in the hope that it would examine the ideas and motives of both sides in the global warming debate. But that is not what this book is about.
The author, Mike Hulme, is a professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, in the UK. He helped write the influential reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many other government agencies that are commonly cited by alarmists in the debate. He has been one of the most prominent scientists declaring that "the debate is over" and that man-made global warming will be a catastrophe.
In this book, Hulme comes clean about the uncertain state of scientific knowledge about global warming, something alarmists almost never admit in public. For example, he writes, "the three questions examined above - What is causing climate change? By how much is warming likely to accelerate? What level of warming is dangerous? - represent just three of a number of contested or uncertain areas of knowledge about climate change." (p. 75)
Later he admits, "Uncertainty pervades scientific predictions about the future performance of global and regional climates. And uncertainties multiply when considering all the consequences that might follow from such changes in climate." (p. 83) On the subject of the IPCC's credibility, he admits it is "governed by a Bureau consisting of selected governmental representatives, thus ensuring that the Panel's work was clearly seen to be serving the needs of government and policy. The Panel was not to be a self-governing body of independent scientists." (p. 95)
All this is exactly what global warming "skeptics" have been saying for years. It is utterly damning to the alarmists' case to read these words in a book by one of their most prominent scientists.
How does Hulme justify hiding these truths from the general public? He calls climate change "a classic example of ... `post-normal science,'" and quoting Silvio Funtowicz and Jerry Ravetz, defines this as "the application of science to public issues where `facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.'" Issues that are put into the category of "post-normal science" are no longer subject to the cardinal requirements of true science: skepticism, universalism, communalism, and disinterestedness.
In "post-normal science," consensus substitutes for true science. Political processes run by government bureaucracies, like the IPCC, are created to determine the views of a majority of carefully selected scientists. Any questioning of their statements and claims is dismissed as coming from the "fringe" of the scientific community. From this reasoning comes the claims of James Hansen, Al Gore, and many other alarmists that "the debate is over" and there is "virtually unanimous consensus" about the causes and consequences of global warming, even though according to the rules of true science, and scientists like Mike Hulme, the debate is definitely not over and there is no consensus.
Having freed himself from the restraints of true science, Hulme can indulge his political biases. In another amazing admission, he says his views on global warming are inseparable from his politics--he's a self-described socialist. He writes, "The idea of climate change should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us." (p. 326)
According to Hulme, climate change can do a lot: "Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, ethical, and spiritual needs."
In other words, socialists like Hulme can frame the global warming issue to achieve unrelated goals such as sustainable development, income redistribution, population control, social justice, and many other items on the liberal/socialist wishlist.
Like the notorious Stephen Schneider, who once said, "We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts one might have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest," Hulme writes, "We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilise them in support of our projects."
These "myths," he writes, "transcend the scientific categories of `true' and `false'." He suggests that his fellow global warming alarmists promote four myths, which he labels Lamenting Eden, Presaging Apocalypse, Constructing Babel, and Celebrating Jubilee.
It is troubling to read a prominent scientist who has so clearly lost sight of his cardinal duty--to be skeptical of all theories and always open to new data. It is particularly troubling when this scientist endorses lying to advance his personal political agenda.
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Showing 1-10 of 68 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 27, 2009 8:52:34 AM PDT
Paul L. Mccauley says:
Bast's review of Hulme's book further reveals the dedication of alarmists to sacrifice scientific method credibility for an ideological agenda. Nothing new for the unscrupulous throughout history and especially at this time when controlling the separate world economies through a single fraudulent carbon economy will destroy democratic republics and enslave all the world's people to the unstable whims of the likes of Al Gore. It's ironic that the heroes in this destruction of science appear to be Capitalist/Communist China and a desperate India - unless the U.S.'s checks and balances can further lead the West against the alarmist lies and conjured model projections.
Posted on Oct 30, 2009 4:11:48 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 30, 2009 4:12:23 AM PDT]
Posted on Oct 30, 2009 4:17:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 30, 2009 4:17:49 AM PDT
The distortion created by taking the quotes out of context is also rather ironic given that Hulme's book "challenges readers to connect with their own internal sources of contention and contradiction rather than those that conceivably lie with some distant nefarious villain."
That last quote comes from a review of Hulme's book (Why We Disagree About Climate Change) in an article entitled "Beyond discord" by Maxwell T. Boykoff (link given below). Boykoff goes on to note that "Throughout the book, Hulme prompts us to move beyond thinking about climate change as a solely physical phenomenon, and to begin conceiving it as a construction through which we express our values, perspectives, beliefs and ideas."
Sounds to me that the book would be well-worth reading!
The Boykoff review was published in Nature Reports Climate Change, (online) 16 July 2009.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2009 10:01:52 PM PST
Pablo Berruttti says:
Seems you suffer from the same extremism and ideology you are so quick to criticise. Can't we have a discussion about risk management and prudence instead?
It's funny you talk about a "fraudulent carbon economy will destroy democratic republics" when America is struggling with it's own dependance on oil and the fact that most it is owned by dictators. Wouldn't it be better to develop the alternate cleaner energy sources which a carbon economy would encourage?
I think if you accept that it is possible that you wrong and think about the consequences of doing nothing vs acting the choices become pretty clear. Practice what you preach.
Posted on Nov 23, 2009 11:15:50 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 27, 2009 11:08:10 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2009 11:34:47 AM PST
Steven Devijver says:
The idea of risk management is becoming popular these days now that everybody and their grand mothers seem to acknowledge that the science behind climate change is not really science at all.
The problem with this risk management myth is that it's been chosen by man-made global warming enthusiasts because they know that if broadly accepted it is guaranteed to work out for them. The idea of 'doing' risk management is nothing more than a metaphor wrapped as a thin veil around the global warming ideology.
Risk management is a domain fraud with false starts, failures and defeat. The goal of risk management is to avoid future failure or in other words to avoid certain future outcomes and try to aim for certain others. Risk management as an alternative metaphor for scientific arguments to rally the public around global warming has two important problems:
- First, risk management is always done in groups. First people need to agree on which outcomes are desirable and which ones are not. Secondly, people also need to agree which factors will contribute to the desirable outcomes and which will contribute to undesirable outcomes. Thirdly, people need to agree which behaviors need to be encouraged and which need to be discouraged. Hence, 'doing' risk management to 'save' the climate doesn't really require any new attitudes since most enthusiasts already seem confident they know how to achieve this goal. The risk management metaphor allows the enthusiast to continue acting as they were already with the added advantage that they won't be bogged down anymore by those who question 'the science' behind climate change simply because they change the science metaphor for the risk management metaphor.
- Secondly, risk management requires constant monitoring and policing of the environment in which one seeks to manage risk (in the case of the climate that environment is 'the environment'). One needs to be aware of signs that undesirable outcomes may lurk around the corner and intervene so that those outcomes can be averted. Hence, risk management is just a metaphor for a cybernetic system with positive and negative feedback loops. One can modify these feedback loops, eliminate them and introduce new ones with the objective of 'managing the risks' as the conditions and policies dictate. However, the enthusiasts know - but won't admit - that the climate cannot be managed by immediately responding to emerging threats. Effective risk management can only happen in those environments where interventions result in detectable short-term effects. When no effects can be detected policies will never bring any certainty to whether the interventions they prescribe have any effect at all. The enthusiasts know that the risk management metaphor will allow them to prescribe interventions as they see fit as long as they boast 'they work' meaning they're having a positive effect. Without detectable effects risk-managing the climate will always be a faith-based endeavor which tolerates no scrutiny. Only those 'in the know' would be able to prescribe interventions and their critics will be fought of with risk management rhetorics.
The risk management metaphor is a way to get rid of the scientific debacle while still being able to prescribe policies without opposition. If anything the risk management metaphor once in place will leave less handles for opposition than before. At least up until know we could address the issue of scientific rigor or the lack thereof. In the future the opposition will have to approach the fight against climate change as a cybernetic system which is a completely new domain.
As long as the man-made global warming enthusiasts can pick the battle grounds they will keep a significant advantage over their opposition and will find it easy to maintain control over people's lives.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2009 4:11:07 PM PST
Jim McLelland says:
This post is of interest to me; it illustrates well how THE MODERN MEDIUM can, and often does, become THE WHOLE MESSAGE. Though shocking, it is instructive to have such extensions of modernist notions (No apologies, Marshall McLuhan) to their logical conclusion and stark end-result; instructive in that absurdity can be an effective, if traumatic, spur to awakening.
So I say "Let's get it all out!"
For the sooner we do, the better our chance to make a world safe for a realistic alternative, a paradigm to replace our grand, yet failing, Modernist one. Such a conclusion is not as improbable as it might appear: the genesis of such a new way of 'seeing and meaning' is under development in various strands of thought and experience we know as "Post-Modernism", today. (For education thereon I would recommend the SUNY series in "Constructive Postmodern Thought", David Ray Griffin, editor).
And if we don't get this confusion out ...?
Perhaps we will later regret that we did not think to run a 'risk analysis' on intellectual fashion, on the modern way of 'seeing and meaning'. And I, for one, doubt such a failure would be easily overlooked, or readily forgiven, by our grandchildren; in that event they will be working with a very different paradigm, indeed!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 10:34:43 AM PST
Steven Mason says:
Okay, Steven Devijver, what should we do (or not do), and why should we do it (or not do it)?
You say that the science behind climate change is not science at all. That's a very sweeping statement. Lots of scientists have been studying the potential of climate change. It's extremely complicated and there are lots of uncertainties. There is a genuine concern that climate change might have serious negative consequences for humans. Of course it would be nice if we could all just go on doing what we're doing, extracting, buying, and burning oil and coal, and everything turns out peachy keen. I'm not being sarcastic: It WOULD be nice.
You seem to be hung up on the term "risk management." It's just a term. We all do risk management in our personal lives. I don't care what we call it, but we all make decisions on what actions we take, based on risks and potential rewards. If I eat nutritious food and exercise, brush my teeth, wear a seatbelt, and don't smoke, in order to maintain better health, I don't call it risk management, but I COULD call it risk management. As I said, I don't care what we call it. Rather, I care about what we do and why we do it. Anyone who says that they don't constantly practice risk management is a liar. So the question is: Regarding the POSSIBILITY of climate change, what, if anything, can we and should we do about it?
First, it seems reasonable that scientists should study it. Second, it seems reasonable that these scientists should share what they know (and don't know). Third, we need to decide what we should do with what we know, through our political process, with discussion and debate. Has anyone got a better idea?
Are there "man-made global warming enthusiasts"? Sure. But there are also "global warming denial enthusiasts." What's new? For any important, complicated issue, there have ALWAYS been enthusiastic idiots on all sides.
So, Steven Devijver, now that you've made clear your objections to risk management, what do you propose that we do or don't do, and why or why not?
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2010 12:56:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 9, 2010 12:58:30 PM PST
Jack Okie says:
The fundamental problem is that the alarmists have corrupted the so-called science, along with formerly well-regarded journals. The problem I and most other skeptics have is not the conclusions, but the process through which they were determined. It is not science when you don't provide ALL of the raw data, metadata, software etc when you publish your conclusions. It is not science to complain that someone wants to refute your findings - true scientists welcome challenges because that's how one arrives at the truth (of course, that assumes that truth is the goal). And it is certainly not science to attempt to suppress opposing viewpoints and harm those skeptical of your results.
If you can name just three pro-AGW papers where ALL of the raw data, etc is available, I will happily acknowledge the fact. But all I hear are statements such as your "Lots of scientists have been studying". Who exactly are these scientists and what specifically are their findings? How were they arrived at? What are the data, protocols and software used to obtain the findings? Without the supporting material, it's not science and its worth nothing. "Trust me" may work as a Dr. Pepper ad, but it doesn't fly in science.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2010 3:34:59 PM PST
Steven Mason says:
Jack, I have no interest in what the alarmists are offering, if the definition of an alarmist is anyone who warns of disaster but doesn't offer any evidence and ignores credible contrary evidence.
I suppose we should start at the beginning: Do you doubt that there are many scientists studying this issue? Do you think that it is something scientists should study? Do you think that the scientific method is the most effective way to study possible climate change? Can you recommend any books that, in your opinion, do a decent job of presenting the scientific evidence for the possibility of climate change, or is it all alarmist and all corrupted?
Climate change is one of those issues that I've heard about for long enough now to earn my serious attention. I am in the process of looking for the best books on the subject, and I am in no position to tell you which books may live up to your high standards. You seem to be implying that such books do not exist. I understand that climate and climate change are so complex that we are currently not capable of making any definite predictions, let alone prescriptions. What, if anything, should we do about the possibility of climate change? Or should we just hope for the best and continue with the status quo, because even if the science were more certain, the solutions would be politically impossible anyway? Are human beings, as a species, simply too stupid to thrive for very much longer?
And you can trust me when I say that Dr. Pepper, when you open the can, is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. :-)