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True State of the Planet Paperback – May 1, 1995
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Bailey, the noted (or notorious, to some ecologists) author of Eco-Scam! (1993), here enlists a dozen scientists to explain what is and isn't known about the changing environment. Contrary to this year's silver jubilee of Earth Day sloganeering, the atmosphere is cooling, not warming; world population is not outstripping food production or most material resources; however, the activists are correct about tropical deforestation and overfished oceans. The question is how to ameliorate problems. The prominent green organizations adhere to regulatory and prohibitionist principles; whereas this set of writers favor the private management of resources, believing that to be the path to green benefits and material wealth. Prescriptions aside, this info-rich work is crammed with tabular data about biodiversity, pesticides, and air quality and is supported by a guarded, footnoted text. As its views compete with those published by the Sierra Club and Worldwatch Institute, among others, libraries may want to include this book in their acquisition plans, which BKL's Earth Day feature [Ap 1 95] might guide. Gilbert Taylor
About the Author
Ronald Bailey is producer of the national weekly public television series Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg and author of Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse.
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One essayist notes, "(chloroflurocarbons) are very powerful greenhouse gases, and... they add significantly to the overall greenhouse effect. They destroy some ozone in the stratosphere, and because ozone also operates as a greenhouse gas, the destruction of ozone by the CFCs may ultimately minimize the total greenhouse contribution of the CFC molecules." (Pg. 87)
Another states, "Commercial logging is not a major cause of deforestation; expanding agriculture is... The developed countries ... appear to have largely completed forestland conversion to agriculture and have achieved relative land use stability. By contrast, the developing countries in the tropics are still in a land conversion mode." (Pg. 204)
Another essayist says, "Although the Clean Water Act and other legislation has greatly reduced the pollution of U.S. waters, significant amounts continue to be generated annually. A particlarly difficult question has been the huge number of extremely small pollution sources, from backyards to barnyards, that cumulatively contribute perhaps 50 percent of the total pollution in some areas." (Pg. 302)
An essayist admits, "There is no longer any real dispute over the fact that the major fishing fleets are simply too effective and too numerous." (Pg. 306) But the Epilogue to the book adds, "most conucopians would probably note the rapid expansion of private aquaculture and suggest that if, in fact, oceanic resources do disappear, the world will have already created adequate substitutes." (Pg. 381)
Although somewhat "dated" now, this book is nevertheless a comprehensive look at the environment from a critical conservative perspective, and will remain of interest to many readers.