I normally do not do “recommended” reading, but will do so in this case with a large caveat: If you are interested in climate change, and if you can handle some technical detail and are proficient at interpretation of graphs, AND if you think critically AND want a one-stop place for a narrative that is well written and succinct, while at the same time maintaining a high level of skepticism, then give this book a chance.
I cite the following as an example:
The Missing Null Hypothesis
Although IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports are voluminous and their arguments impressively persistent, it is legitimate to ask whether that makes them good science. In order to conduct an investigation, scientists must first formulate a falsifiable hypothesis to test. The hypothesis implicit in all IPCC writings, though rarely explicitly stated, is that dangerous global warming is resulting, or will result, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions.
In considering any such hypothesis, an alternative and the null hypothesis must be entertained, which is the simplest hypothesis consistent with the known facts. Regarding global warming, the null hypothesis is that currently observed changes in global climate indices in the physical environment are the result of natural variability. To invalidate this null hypothesis requires, at a minimum, direct evidence of human causation of specified changes that lie outside usual, natural variability. Unless and until such evidence is adduced, the null hypothesis is assumed to be correct.
In contradiction of the scientific method, IPCC assumes its implicit hypothesis is correct and that it’s only duty is to collect evidence and make plausible arguments in the hypothesis’s favor. One probable reason for this behavior is that the United Nations protocol under which IPCC operates defines climate change as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere in which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” (United Nations, 1994, Article 1.2). Not surprisingly, directing attention to only be effects of human greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in IPCC failing to provide a thorough analysis of climate change. (Pages 55-56)
In fact, IPCC’s work can be characterized as sloppy and uninformed. For example, IPCC will cite evidence to favor its hypothesis and then characterize that evidence as having low confidence, medium confidence, or high confidence. Such terms are non-quantifiable and non-reproducible. They leave a vague judgment meant to satisfy media pundits, school teachers, and anyone else incapable of working within the scientific method. In other words, it is propaganda. True science would cite confidence intervals based on statistical analysis. IPCC does not, will not, or cannot do that.
I titled this post a book ” … that misses the point.” I do not imagine that I am necessarily right about that, and so restate the matter: This is a book that is on-point and that maintains a level of decorum in order to avoid characterizing the work of IPCC and climate alarmists as dishonest and misleading. I once watched Craig Idso, one of the authors of this book, in a debate (which by audience poll he won). He had to maintain decorum, and abide by the rules, speaking only in turn. He was out of time, and could speak no more, and his opponent then stood and uttered a boldfaced lie about something or another. I don’t remember the details, but do recall Idso sitting, fists clenched, face tight, enduring the slings and arrows so often encountered in climate debate, that of lying liars. I would not have maintained decorum. I might have lost my cool, and lost the debate.
But let’s get down to reality, the quality of the public mind, that of teachers at all levels, and of the news media and government officials.
- The “mind” of the American public is a vast wasteland of mindless entertainment, sports, with only an upper quartile or quintile actually watching news, and that not mattering, as news is controlled propaganda. Very few read books and fewer are capable of reading and interpreting long tracts and skeptically analyzing them.
- I’ve suffered teachers at all levels through a BS degree, and indeed remember a few good ones. I’ve forgotten most. We probably all know on some level that most lower-level teachers are not too bright anyway, having attained perhaps a Masters in Education, one of the most useless and easily attained degrees around. Beyond qualifications, teachers are peer-reviewed and reviewed by administrators, sometimes parents, and must toe a line. Even if bright enough to see through the Climate Change hoax, they cannot give voice to doubts without losing job or having to be retrained. It is easier just to go along with it all than be in a constant state of tension … living a lie.
- The news media, as often stated here, is wall-to-wall propaganda. All news outlets deliver the same message, but package it differently to appeal to different audiences. NPR and PBS followers, for instance, are sure they are getting better news than followers of Fox News, and visa versa. Each group collectively imagines itself smarter than the other.
- Government officials, those visible anyway, are of low quality. They too will toe the line. Even if they speak up and speak truthfully, there will be a price.
So my judgment is that this is a very good book, a valuable resource to have on hand, and that the authors are wiser than me. They know to keep it civil and at the same time to be forceful in their writing. With the exception of Marita Noon, who says in her Foreword that the global warming movement is “the most extensive and expensive public relations campaign in the history of the world***, her use of the words “public relations” instead of “propaganda” somewhat mutes her message. But it has to be so. That’s why I was not asked to be part of the book … you know … as if.
***I do beg to differ, and I think the Cold War trumps global warming by a large margin in terms of extent and expense.