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False Alarm: Global Warming -- Facts Versus Fears Paperback – May 3, 2010
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As Skeptical Science puts it:
"Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that refutes global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?"
Unfortunately, MacRae misses the mark.
But this shouldn't surprise you. This book is published by the Cato Institute, which is famous for spreading mis-information. And why not, that's what their funders like ExxonMobil want.
Since 1998, Exxon has spent upwards of $16 million on a disinformation campaign against global warming whose primary message was that scientists cannot be trusted - a dangerous allegation against the people most responsible for modern society.
Exxon's 2008 Corporate Citizenship Report apologized for the disinformation and promised to withdraw funding from organization spreading mis-information on climate change, which emphasized "uncertainty" in order to sow doubt among the public. But in science, uncertainty is a precise and measurable thing. It doesn't mean that the predictions are inaccurate or unlikely to come true. Indeed something with 90% certainty, is likely going to happen. When there's 90% chance of rain, you grab an umbrella. When we're 90% certain of the effects of global warming, oil companies want you to think there's "uncertainty" and leave your umbrella at home.
Exxon's apology circuitously read like this:
"In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy interest groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."
That's good, but you should be skeptical. Exxon made a similar promise in 2005 without effect, and the latest investigations indicates that Exxon continues to fund many firms that produce disinformation on global warming (like the Cato Institute).
Which is odd, because ExxonMobil says the IPCC is correct!
ExxonMobil is well aware of the scientific consensus on global warming, and supports the conclusion that the climate is warming, posing grave danger to people. You can read more on their website: [...]
Hoisted by their own petard: Virtually ALL of the "Warmers'" prediction are refuted with facts and stats their research papers reference, but do not publish the data behind their false conculsions.
This remarkable book on the shortcomings of the global warming scare deserves to be read as a genuine eye opener by journalists, politicians and citizens at large.
Its excellence is justified by the fact that, although the author is not a scientist but a sociologist and English scholar with extensive experience in the world of editing, reviewing and journalism in general, he has gone to the trouble of gaining an understanding the relevant science in commendable detail. Its significance is further justified by the fact that it is virtually impossible for any reader not to come to the conclusion that there is something seriously wrong with the notion of human caused global warming -- commonly referred to as AGW (anthropogenically caused global warming). Despite not being a scientist MacCrae spent two and and a half years researching the historical, geological, psychological, philosophical, scientific and other relevant disciplines which have a bearing on the AGW hypothesis.
The book is extremely comprehensive. It covers all these aspects of the global warming hypothesis (now misleadingly referred to as climate change and most recently as climate instability).
The earth's climate is ever changing and intrinsically unstable since it is governed by a non-linear chaotic system and this is accepted by all and sundry -- both AGW warmists and AGW skeptics.
The AGW hypothesis is along the lines that that the earth is currently experiencing an unusually rapid and, to some extent, open ended rise in temperature which cannot be explained by natural causes and is due to our burning of fossil fuels and the consequent increase in the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Many of the more ardent warmists go even further and contend that this increase in atmospheric CO2 means that we are headed for a catastrophe -- referred to as CAGW -- unless we take dramatic and costly steps to reduce our CO2 output. And it is this hypothesis which MacRea shows to be highly suspect and almost certainly untrue.
Precisely because MacCrae is not a scientist this makes his exposition potentially accessible to a very wide audience. One of the finest aspects of the book is probably Chapter 10 which sets out eight characteristics of genuine science in action. -- such as the avoidance of claims of certainty, the absence of prejudgement, the need for independent replication, openness to other researchers and an almost obsessive regard for truth. He goes on to show that the self-styled climate scientists, in collaboration with the IPPC (the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), have violated every one of these scientific norms. The AGW supporting climate scientists have been extremely reluctant to share their raw data. They have tried to monopolize the relevant journals. They have deliberately hidden data that casts doubt on their hypotheses. They have downplayed the huge uncertainty in their forecasts and they have treated the AGW hypothesis as a certainty -- which is their role to verify rather than being open minded. One of the most glaring examples of their unscientific behaviour is the inexcusable suppression in their graphs of the medieval warm period -- which was hotter and more long lasting than the current warming.
They sometimes behave in a manner which is not merely unscientific but positively ridiculous. A good example of this is their habit of referring to CO2 as a "pollutant" -- despite the fact that it is essential to the very existence of life on earth and serves as a fertilizer for plants thus increasing crop yields as the CO2 content goes up. Moreover, in times gone by, when the CO2 content of the atmosphere was much higher than it is now, humans and other animals flourished.
The forecasts they make are based on computer models -- the reliability of which has never been properly verified -- and all too many of their claims have been found to have no substance. Polar bear populations have actually been growing rather than shrinking. Himalayan glaciers have not been shrinking so rapidly that they will be gone by 2035 (in fact the latest studies, which were reported after the publishing of MacRea's book, show that they have been growing rather than shrinking). And, most telling of all, the AGW proponents predicted that the last twelve years would be accompanied by relentless warming whereas there has been no warming at all over these twelve years.
One of the overall themes of the book is that environmentalism in general and the global warming religion tend to go hand in hand. MacRea goes on to make a strong case that, on the basis the track record, prosperous societies take better care of the environment than struggling ones -- which is the exact reverse of what environmentalists claim.
No book is without its shortcomings and False Alarm is no exception. It tends to be unnecessarily repetitious, has no index and poorly presented, albeit well chosen, graphs. And it tends to downplay the deleterious impact of too many humans on earth.
Nevertheless, it is a highly commendable book and MacRea ends it with a powerful sentence on the behaviour of the AGW supporters:
"What is revealed is tainted science, dogmatism, propaganda, coercion and political and scientific manipulation".
It is most unlikely that anyone will deign to take him to court for this statement -- since, if that were to happen, all would be revealed and the warmists must know this.
Let me close by recommending that anyone who reads this review should go to the trouble of obtaining a copy of this book and read it for themselves. They will be truly enlightened and not disappointed.