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Global Warming and Political Intimidation: How Politicians Cracked Down on Scientists as the Earth Heated Up Paperback – June 21, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"At a time when scientists need to become better advocates for the integrity of science itself, it is heartening to read this clear-headed and compelling account from Raymond Bradley. Anyone interested in the politics and science of global warming should read this book."―Chris Mooney, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future

"Ray Bradley did what every young scientist dreams of: made a major technical contribution to science that really mattered to the world. With colleagues Michael Mann and Malcolm Hughes, Bradley built the 'hockey stick,' the statistical analysis that showed that recent warming is outside the range of historic natural variability His reward for this was not the National Medal of Science, but harassment by members of the United States Congress. Bradley writes that he remains optimistic that a solution to global warming can be found, but given the story he tells in this book, it's hard to see why."―Naomi Oreskes, coauthor of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

"Ray Bradley is one of the scientific heroes of the fight to slow global warming―and so, like many other researchers, he's taken endless lumps from the industry-funded pols trying desperately to delay action. His story is both fascinating and cautionary―about not just our planetary climate, but our political one as well."―Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"Bradley's book describes how scientists who attempt to understand global climate dynamics have been intimidated and harassed by the denial machine. Bradley is one of the authors of the famous 'hockey stick,' a graph in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that clearly shows the sudden uptick in global average temperatures beginning in the twentieth century. Because the graph is so clear and dramatic, it has been the subject of sustained and arcane attacks by the climate denial machine. Bradley's book provides an enlightening look at this controversy, which turned obscure technical details like principal component analysis and archived Gaspé tree ring data into the stuff of high drama."―Natural Hazards Observer

"Bradley details the chilling effect [political] investigations have had on the conduct of science and how politicians have become nonexpert reviewers of science."―Science News

"[Raymond Bradley] tells the inside story of what he says it was like to be the target of intimidation in the last decade by powerful figures in politics and government who tried hard to suppress scientific findings on global warming in favor of their own political message."―The Sentinel

"Bradley's book is a valuable insight into the harrying that many climate scientists have had to endure over the past two decades. It lets us see what it is like to be on the receiving end of political intimidation and ranting deniers in the media and blogosphere...Bradley uses the word malevolent only once, and evil not at all, but both words came to my mind frequently."―Bryan Walker, Celsias

"Along with his sharp words for his climate detractors, Bradley also voices his sharp ideas and bright hopes that society still might 'at least try to find a path that limits the worst case scenarios.'"―The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media

"In about 360 pages, Bradley has written an essential guide to the issues and problems faced due to global warming in the United States and the world, issues that already have affected every person on earth. . . . This book is not directly a call to arms; however, any reader interested in the now unstoppable effects of global warming may be inspired to take some action beyond merely reading about it."―Frank E. Grant, Sierra Club West Virginia

"Bradley's book describes the shock of being yanked out of the scholarly realm and into the arena of partisan politics."―The Boston Globe

"Bradley's book offers candid detail about subjective factors in scientific publications as well as congressional hearings. Recommended."―Choice

"Tactics used by those in power to suppress scientific information make for pointed chapters that both expose the global worming issues and the underlying politics affecting information development."―Midwest Review

"Government officials used the political system to tie-up Bradley's research for several years and to belittle the consequences of global warming, dangers, the author carefully describes."―ForeSight Politics

"Bradley's argument also reaches beyond global warming, addressing fundamental concerns about scientific integrity and academic freedom. Can this ill-conceived politicization of science lead us to a strengthening of safeguards―especially in the face of declining tenure rates and the associated loss of academic freedom protections? Will colleges and universities continue to uphold their commitment to support scholars who challenge powerful interests? Bradley's news on this front is encouraging."―AAUP

"Climatologist Raymond Bradley has come out fighting in his new short book Global Warming and Political Intimidation. It's a lively albeit sobering narrative which recounts his and others' experience of harassment, character assassination and unfounded accusation from the politicians who serve fossil fuel interests in the US Congress. . . . Bradley's book is a valuable insight into the harrying that many climate scientists have had to endure over the past two decades."―Cleantechies.com

From the Back Cover

Global warming is the number one environmental issue of our time, yet some prominent politicians have refused to accept scientific evidence of human responsibility and have opposed any legislation or international agreement that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. A few have gone even further and have tried to destroy the reputations of scientists researching climate change by deliberately undermining the credibility of their research. These politicians have sought to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the public and to weaken public and political support for the control of fossil fuel use.

In this powerful book, highly respected climate scientist Raymond Bradley provides the inside story from the front lines of the debate. In clear and direct language, he describes the tactics those in power have used to intimidate him and his colleagues part of a larger pattern of governmental suppression of scientific information, politics at the expense of empirically based discourse.

Speaking from his experience, Bradley exposes the fault lines in the global warming debate, while providing a concise primer on climate change. The result is a cautionary tale of how politics and science can become fatally intertwined, written by one scientist who was unwittingly ensnared in a web of political intimidation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558498699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558498693
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Lufkin on September 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unraveling the impact of 50 years of climate science on public policy is one of the most frustrating problems of our times. Speaking as an early researcher in the field (full disclosure: Bert Bolin was my thesis adviser), it was clear in the mid-60s that greenhouse warming would overtake cooling from soot particles. It was just at this time that Paul Crutzen worked out the cause of ozone depletion by Freon®. From the fight that industry put up to discredit Crutzen's findings, climate researchers understood early on that the energy industry was not going to accept the physics behind carbon dioxide greenhouse warming without a struggle.

Prof. Bradley's book is a careful, well documented history of how the energy industry used its political allies to squelch discussion of global warming and instead brand scientific climatology as a Trojan horse for a socialist makeover of America. The industry spent between $30 and $50 million on campaign support and PR to implement Frank Luntz's strategy memo for the GOP in 2001 (that's where "global warming" was renamed "climate change"). The GOP strategy was more successful than any of the climate science community thought possible. Despite all objective evidence of an actively warming climate, the denial machine muddied the water enough so that public opinion inexorably swung toward first skepticism, then outright denial. Bradley meticulously traces the process of manipulating politicians and opinion in a fascinating history of backstage operations.

However, this is like reading an authoritative reconstruction of an airliner crash. Just now it looks as though this strategy has succeeded. The word "climate" never escapes President Obama's lips and the entire gamut of the GOP hopefuls runs from deep skepticism to categorical denial.
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This was a fascinating - and disturbing - book. For those who don't recognize the name, Raymond Bradley is a climate scientist and the Director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is also the "B" in MBH98 and MBH99, otherwise known as the two papers co-written with Michael Mann and Malcolm Hughes that introduced what became known as the "hockey stick" to climate science. So in keeping with the title, Bradley is no stranger to being the target of intimidation.

The book unfolds with Bradley (and Mann and Hughes) all getting called in 2005 to provide testimony and documentation of virtually every project, every grant, every paper, and all the data behind those papers (and every other paper they ever wrote) to a House committee chaired by Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas. The premise? Because Barton had seen an article in the Wall Street Journal questioning the hockey stick. The questions had been raised by two non-scientists tied in with free market lobbying organizations. And so the intimidation by Republican politicians begins. Or, as he notes, continues.

Bradley's conversational manner is easy and pleasant to read, though his frustration and sometimes even anger at being harassed does show through occasionally. His first hand insights into how the denialist industry harangues climate scientists are something that all of us should understand. Bradley provides us with a glimpse into how politicians attack science when they find it inconvenient. And it's not a pretty picture.
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This book documents the trouble the infamous "hockey stick" scientists got into, how members of the US government tried to intimidate them as a political response towards publishing scientific information about global warming. Bradley is a professor of geosciences and climate research at the University of Massachusetts and author of the book "Paleoclimatology." In 1999, he collaborated with Michael Mann and Malcolm Hughes on a project that studied global temperatures over the past 1,000 years. As part of the paper that they published on this project in Geophysical Research Letters, they included a graph showing a dramatic increase in global temperatures in the past 100 years. The shape of the graph was so dramatic that it was labeled by some in the media as a "hockey stick", for its visibly sharp angle at the point where global warming effects suddenly became evident in the climate records. This graph was republished in the IPCC 2001 report on climate change, a review of recently published peer reviewed research. Because the graph showed such a clear visual representation of climate change, it became a flashpoint for climate change deniers. Bradley, together with his co-authors, Mann and Hughes, were singled out by Congressman Barton (R) and the House Congressional Committee on Energy for hearings about potential scientific misconduct connected with all of their previous research on climate. In this book, Bradley explains the background and nature of the conflict and hearings with Congress. He includes descriptions of how collaborative research projects generally come about, and the process that a paper takes in order to be published in a peer reviewed journal. He adds a brief chapter describing the basic mechanisms of global warming and the current state of climate research.Read more ›
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