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Environmentalism Gone Mad Paperback – April 28, 2015
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Dr. Carlin s analysis provided a rigorous overview of important developments in the scientific literature on climate change developments which emerged since the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 and a report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) in 2008. --2009 letter to then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson from U.S. Senators James Inhofe and John Barrasso
Mr. Carlin is instead an explanation for why the science debate is little reported in this country. The professional penalty for offering a contrary view to elites like Al Gore is a smear campaign. The global-warming crowd likes to deride skeptics as the equivalent of the Catholic Church refusing to accept the Copernican theory. The irony is that, today, it is those who dare critique the new religion of human-induced climate change who face the Inquisition. --Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal, July 3, 2009
I m proud to say that Alan used materials from WUWT in his report [to EPA], and that he has been vindicated for standing up to the sloppy rush job. Thank you Mr. Carlin, for having integrity where others did not. --Anthony Watts, webmaster of WattsUpWithThat.com, September 30, 2011
About the Author
Dr. Carlin received an undergraduate degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He then entered the PhD program in economics at MIT, with two summers spent at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. His MIT major was in economic development; his thesis research was carried out in India under a Ford Foundation Foreign Area Fellowship. He then took a position as an economist at RAND, where he pursued primarily economic development and transportation economics.
In the mid-1960s he became active in the environmental movement as a result of his outdoor interests, and co-authored economic analyses of proposed dams proposed for the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The dams were turned down by the Federal Government in 1968 after a nationwide campaign by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. In 1970 he was elected Chairman of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, then the Club s second largest Chapter.
Soon after Richard Nixon created the US Environmental Protection Agency in late 1970, he followed his increasing environmental interest by taking a position as a manager in their new Office of Research and Development in Washington, DC, for multidisciplinary research on implementation of environmental pollution control. In the late 1970s he worked for about 7 years primarily as a physical scientist managing the development of criteria documents assessing pollutants for possible regulation by EPA. After Reagan institutionalized the economic analysis of Federal regulations in 1981, he transferred to the EPA Policy Office, where he was a senior analyst and economic research manager.
In the mid-2000s he realized that climate would become the major environmental issue of the decade, and undertook a voyage of personal discovery to understand the issue, including both its economic and scientific aspects. With the advent of the strongly environmentalist Obama Administration in 2009 he found himself at odds with EPA s misguided attempts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which led to considerable media attention and his retirement in early 2010.
He has authored or co-authored over 35 professional publications in his career to date, mostly in economics and energy/climate. Seventeen of these have been published in journals and 8 as part of books.
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His commitment to conservation was early evident in his Sierra Club endeavors in Los Angeles (where he headed the largest club in the nation and did battle with David Brower and radicals within the national organization 40 years ago) as well as his many years providing scientific analyses for the EPA. Unfortunately, during the Obama administration Brower-style radicals gained power within the EPA, imposing global warming dogmas in much the same fashion as the USSR promoted “Lysenko’s biological theories” (#5660). This led Carlin to resign his position in 2010 to do further research and analysis. Ultimately he wrote this book “to explain why I changed from my lifelong support of the environmental movement to extreme skepticism concerning their current primary objective of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide” (Kindle #113). “In the years since I initially embraced what is now called the US environmental movement it has changed considerably in several ways. The most obvious change is that it has gone from being primarily concerned about wilderness and other wild lands preservation to primarily restricting fossil fuel energy production an d energy use” (# 5677). This results from the fact “that environmental policy has been hijacked by radicals intent on imposing their ideology by government fiat on the rest of us” and they “are being supported by many Western European countries and the Obama Administration” (#151).
These radicals disdain the “cost benefit analysis” Carlin values and seem to care little for the high prices ordinary people (especially in developing nations) will necessarily pay as their carbon-reducing policies are implemented. “I had spent my career trying to promote economic development, environmental protection, good science and economics, and rational analysis of multidisciplinary problems which I regarded as mutually supportive in the larger sense,” he says, but his position now elicits scorn rather than respect. Disinterested in scholarly research, the radicals began to use the power of the EPA to promote their own agendas (often in defiance of Congress’s clear intent in various environmental laws), repeatedly attaining their goals by selectively pushing cases through a sympathetic judicial system.
Carlin follows the scientific method and grew disillusioned with its abandonment by alarmist environmentalists and politicians. To him “there is a correct answer to a scientific question, although it may take some time and considerable effort to discover what it is. And it is never ‘settled’ or based on ‘consensus’” (#132). He wonders “if [John] Kerry, [Al] Gore, or [President] Obama have ever taken a course in science or understand what the scientific method is. The more pessimistic possibility is that they know but think that most of the rest of the population do not and will not figure it out” #2727). Himself committed to studying empirical data (insisting, for example, on the use of satellite as well as ground-based data for earth’s temperatures), which lend little credence to the alarmist projections of “climate change” based on computer models, he has settled into the “skeptic” camp regarding the issue. “By late 2008,” Carlin says, to him “it was quite evident that GWD [Global Warming Doctrine] was simply that, a doctrine, in a desperate search for scientific credibility since it could not satisfy the scientific method” (#1707).
Importantly, he insists: “Inspection of satellite temperature data available since 1979 strongly suggests that global temperatures are not primarily influenced by gradually increasing CO2 levels but rather are associated with periodic major ocean oscillations, particularly the 3-5 year El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the 60 year Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) found in the largest ocean, the Pacific” (#4494). In addition to oceanic oscillations, Carlin believes solar or solar magnetic activity, more than anything else, ultimately dictates climate change—as it has been doing so for millions of years. “By combining the variations in the number of sunspots, one of the longer-running databases based on actual human observations, with ocean oscillations as explanatory variables, Dan Pangburn has managed to reproduce global temperatures with amazing accuracy since 1850 and with less certainty (due to less accurate temperature records) since 1700” (#5334).
What seems likely to come in the future (in the light of work done by Pangburn and other meticulous researchers) is global cooling due to “diminishing sunspots” and related oceanic cycles, following “the pattern of temperatures over the last 3,000 years. All these convince me that the major climate risk we face is much colder temperatures in the next few centuries and millennia in northern latitudes” (# 5392). That another ice age might be coming should give us pause! The minor warming that has occurred in recent decades has in fact made life better for us—as it did in the Roman and Medieval warming periods. But another ice age would devastate vast regions of the Northern Hemisphere! Maintaining the planet’s warmth (including increased use of fossil fuels) ought to be our mission!
This is one of those books I recommend people know about rather than attempt to read! Carlin’s personal experiences and perspectives make it persuasive. He obviously knows what he discusses and takes care to demonstrate the bases for his beliefs. The scientific material, set forth in abundant detail, is properly documented, up-to-date and trustworthy. The arguments set forth are cogent and convincing. Anyone seriously concerned about “climate change” and public policy will greatly benefit from an exposure to this treatise. But, unfortunately, this book is almost numbingly repetitive and unorganized, desperately needing an expert’s editorial hand to reduce its length and sharpen its focus.