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The Inquisition of Climate Science Hardcover – August 30, 2011
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"Powell consistently brings the sharp insight of a knowledgeable insider melded with the skepticism of a critical outsider to the most important issues in science. In his latest book--his best yet--he shows us the path to understanding climate change."--Peter D. Ward , The University of Washington
"James Lawrence Powell's must-read book is a welcome addition to the growing literature debunking fossil fuel-funded, anti-science disinformation. As Powell makes clear, it is time for scientists to stand up and be counted."--Joseph Romm, editor of Climate Progress and senior fellow at American Progress
This book is a winner, written in an easy, logical style with thorough and fascinating discussions of major deniers.(Orrin Pilkey, Duke University, coauthor of The Rising Sea 7/9/2011)
With the evidence for global warming so strong, why, Powell asks, does half the American public doubt it? His answer is a history of the campaign of denial, the most comprehensive and up-to-date history available. It is well written and well worth reading: this is the most important issue facing our generation.(Spencer Weart, author of The Discovery of Global Warming )
This courageous and well-researched book exposes how ideologues and money combined to attack sound climate science.(Richard Somerville, University of California, San Diego, author of The Forgiving Air: Understanding Environmental Change, second edition )
… this is a highly authoritative and accessible book that should be read by everyone who has any doubts about the reality of climate change.(Irish Times )
The first book to comprehensively take on the Inquisition-like tactics of contemporary climate science deniers.
Top Customer Reviews
Powell does a wonderful job with the person politics, but a few points need to be amplified. First, he mentions, but rather downplays, the fact that big oil--specifically, ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, and a couple of smaller firms--are running the show. They provide essentially all the money and most of the verbiage. Worldwide, just to show that it isn't "capitalism" or "the right wing" here, the Chinese government and their huge energy-extracting, energy-wasting economic machine is the other big source of denial and political opposition to change. Second, a very scary phenomenon is the way that political extremists (and NOT so much the big oil companies in this case) have linked climate change denial with the longer-standing anti-science agendas in the United States: anti-evolution and racism. This is creating a witch's-brew environment in which people can seriously talk about shutting down the National Science Foundation, the US Dept of Education, and even public education in general. At least the Chinese are smarter than that; they know that the competition for global power in the 21st century will be won by the best educated, not the most gullible.Read more ›
He examines the tactics--mainly knee-jerk denialism and repetition ad nauseam of long-discredited arguments that only aid in obfuscation which engenders doubt. And at the same time, they spew a relentless barrage of ad hominem attacks. Then he identifies the perps and the reasons for their success in swaying (read: misleading) public policy (so far!)
The result of their machinations is the tragedy that an issue that literally determines the fate of our hospitable Earth is relegated to time-wasting, mindless (and seemingly endless) political debate.
However, in this book Powell gives us more than ample ammunition with which to fight back. There is a wealth of information presented in an easy-to-read style with plenty of references to back up every point. I knew the basics of this issue but nowhere nearly enough of the details; this book helps a lot to fill in the gaps.
One thing I was surprised to learn is that among the reputable scientists working in climatology is a fairly even mix along the political spectrum. I would assume that those Republican members have been mostly silent due to not wanting to jeopardize their careers for not towing the party line.
That's why a book like this is so important; if enough fair-minded, free-thinking people can be exposed to the truth, we can overcome the merchants of doubt and, hopefully, get positive movement towards mitigating ('adapting' is the denialist buzz-word when all else fails since accountability is completely off of the table) the crisis before it's too late.
The movement has the characteristics of Lysenkoism, referring to a Soviet biologist under Stalin who subverted science for political reasons in the field of genetics. The modus operandi of both seems quite similar. Note what some prominent deniers have said:
* That the "global warming scare" is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes, and decision making.
* That global warming is a political agenda designed to bring down our system of industrialization, development, and capitalism, in other words, to destroy the Western way of life.
Powell shows us that it is actually a political movement at heart. Denying climate science promotes its political goals. Interestingly, these goals are advocated by the movement's funders, which are a who's who list of fossil fuel industry and conservative, antiregulatory, libertarian philosophy advocates. Should we be worried about this?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very thorough analysis of the situation. Really shows the denial of climate change is biased toward industry and ultraconservative politics and not supported by science.Published on May 16, 2014 by judy ritter
Don't waste your money buying this book. This book is pure nonsense, it's nothing more than political propaganda !!!! Read morePublished on March 8, 2014 by GAC
The Inquisition was about imprisoning and torturing those deemed to be heretics, which is exactly what the climate hoaxers want to do.
Let's face it. Read more
Anyone can go to his website where he claims the vast majority of peer reviewed articles on man made global warming conclude it is a fact and review the articles themselves. Read morePublished on October 27, 2013 by George T. Garcia
This author is completely out of his element when he objects to an 'Inquisition' on climate science, since science can only exist in an environment open to all enquiry, even an... Read morePublished on June 24, 2013 by Stickler
If you are looking into learning more about climate change this is the book to read Powell has a few books out on climate change that are easy to understand and read. Read morePublished on April 3, 2013 by Steph
The book is mainly a political diatribe from cover to cover. There is useful information interspersed in it, but the actual details that are essential to support conclusions and... Read morePublished on March 25, 2013 by JH
The majority of people on earth would not claim they are qualified to carry out neurosurgery. It therefore beggars belief that completely unqualified people, or those with... Read morePublished on March 24, 2013 by P. M. Rego