- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (December 26, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006117212X
- ISBN-13: 978-0061172120
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,786,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do First Edition Edition
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Physicist Romm, a veteran of the Department of Energy and founder and director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, presents a clear and effective primer on climate science. But the most salient aspects of this provocative expose involve Romm's documentation of what he calls the Bush administration's irresponsible and backward energy policies, the censorship of legitimate and urgent information pertaining to global warming, and the threats rising temperatures pose to "the health and well-being of this nation and the world." Romm explains that we already possess the technologies and know-how we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; what we lack is the will to act. As Romm analyzes the "miscoverage" of global-warming realities in the press, especially the facts pertaining to dire changes already affecting plants, animals, and humans, he laments the perversity and folly of politicizing a global crisis. We must recognize, Romm asserts, that "ideology trumps rationality" all too often in public discourse, preventing us from doing what needs to be done to avert still preventable catastrophes. Donna Seaman
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“Urgent, reasoned, and informative ... America had better listen up--this may be our last chance to stop global warming.” (James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies)
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One of his insightful sections titled "Voluntary Warming" indicates the direct, no-nonsense approach taken in this book: "It is hard to imagine that people will use low-carbon technologies on the vast scale needed until they see a financial return for cutting carbon, and that will not happen until spewing out carbon has a significant financial cost. But for carbon to have a cost, the government must either tax carbon dioxide emissions or create a market that establishes a price for emitting carbon dioxide".
If you read just one book on the subject, I recommend this one, for reasons that are numerous, and have been well-elaborated in the other 5-star reviews.
A document for the layman(for scientific reasons) and the scientist for political insight. Excellent overview
In the face of convincing data, why would the same people that rely on scientific technology for air travel, cell phones, and other conveniences of everyday life, deny the validity of science when it comes to conclusions they don't like? Joseph Romm answers this question on page 107. "Ideology trumps rationality. Most conservatives cannot abide the solution to global warming - strong governmental regulations and a government-led effort to accelerate clean-energy technologies into the market." To libertarians and to some conservatives, the villain is not global warming, it is fear of government.
Unfortunately, history shows that corporations don't clean up their act voluntarily - they only do so when forced. As a matter of fact, corporations in the US conform to a set of legislated rules that is overtly sociopathic. If they DON'T act strictly with self interest and profit in mind, they can be successfully sued by stock-holders ("The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power," by Bakan). The job of their PR departments is to present them as responsible environmental citizens when they're not.
So what techniques do naysayers use to combat this longtime concensus among scientists and growing concensus in the general public? They use the same techniques used in political campaigns - programs carefully thought out by think tanks that try to make both sides of an issue appear to be what they are not. More than 2/3 of this book is dedicated to the political fights over global warming.
At the risk of losing half my readers, these are the same techniques Intelligent Design advocates use against the theory of evolution, and for analogous reasons. You don't see any groups clamoring for alternate views about atomic structure in high school physics classes - but introductory physics is not perceived as a threat to a cherished belief system. In both cases, a strongly held ideology prevents unbiased assessment of the data. In both cases (Evolution and Global Warming), the theory can be reduced to basics and easily understood. In both cases, the learning curve is steep for an in-depth understanding of the subject matter, leaving plenty of room for convincing spin to the casual observer (most of us).
In closing, may I paraphrase from memory an observation that Robert Wright (author of "The Moral Animal") made: "Humans have an exquisite array of moral equipment, a relentless tendency to misuse this equipment, and are tragically unaware of this misuse." The naysayers honestly believe they're doing the right thing - at least some of them.
The scientific method may not be perfect, but it has proven over and over to be the closest we're going to come to the truth, and it's self-correcting. History shows that the findings of science are eventually accepted. I hope governments believe and act on the concept of global warming sooner rather than later. The earth doesn't care. Ninety-nine percent of the species that have ever existed are now extinct and earth isn't going anywhere for several billion years no matter what we do to it. Nor is life likely to be wiped out - just species that evolve too slowly to make appropriate adjustments to climate change, including most of the big mammals. I hope it's not our turn.
Beyond all the above, the reviewers quoted on the back cover, say it so well, including the comments, "Joe Romm knows what he is talking about"! "If you buy only one book about global warming, make it Hell and High Water". And lastly, "Finally, a book that puts it ALL together".