Guest Post by Tony Brown (tonyb)
Sceptics hoping to counter the mounting hysteria and calls for dramatic action to combat the ‘Climate Emergency,’ may want to ensure they are properly informed on the issues, in contrast to those that boldly claim that ‘climate change is rubbish’ or that highly qualified scientists are idiots who don’t know what they are doing.
This is a shortlist of recent books to read that will help you to better understand your climate anxious friends and relatives, others are potential book presents to try to calm their more extreme concerns. I have read the books myself through the eyes of someone involved in writing articles on climate change for some 15 years, mostly from a historical perspective.
In recommending this selection it should be noted that I have provided details of physical books, not e-material (if available). Books allow one to dip in and out according to time availability, are useful reference material for a book shelf, and if intended as a gift has more presence than e- material. My apologies in advance, but I use the word ‘hysteria’ a lot.
Those wanting to understand why their young relatives and friends have such concerns about the climate that many believe will severely affect their adult lives, will find this first selection a good place to start, to help understand where their concerns are coming from.
“No one is Too Small to make a difference” Greta Thunberg. Softback. Penguin Books; ISBN 978-0-141-99174-0
Greta is the world’s most famous school truant to climate sceptics, but she provides the teenage rebelliousness-a climate strike every Friday- and the black and white certainties that young people appreciate.
She is highly influential, not only to her peers, but also to schoolteachers and to world leaders. British sceptics were highly embarrassed when senior British govt. figures fawned over her during a visit and she is said to be responsible for influencing the European Union’s zero emissions plan. Through her histrionics at the UN she also reached a much wider audience.
This book is as petulant and pouty as she comes over, and is an astonishingly slim book, which provides trite certainties such as ‘Our house is on fire,’ apocalyptic interpretations of climate events, and confident assertions such as ‘we need to focus every inch of our being on climate change ‘ and misrepresentation; ‘According to the IPCC report we are about eleven years away (from 2019) from being in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control.” Easy to see why teenagers are scared about their future with such hysteria.
Her failure to recognise there are two sides to every balance sheet is a fundamental flaw; for example in bashing the UK for its ‘mind blowing historical carbon debt’ she fails to acknowledge that as a result of that nation launching the industrial revolution, ordinary people live longer, healthier, happier, richer and more fulfilled lives, with more freedoms human rights and respect for the rule of law than in the entire history of humanity.
Sit down with a very hot cup of coffee and the coffee will probably still be warm by the time you have finished reading this trivial but iconic booklet, that will provide an invaluable insight into what is driving many of the young, to whom slogans seem to be replacing facts and personal analysis. Its greatest merit is its brevity, which means it is more accessible than some of the very wordy and tedious tomes published about climate.
“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells . Softback. Penguin ISBN 978-0-141-98887-0
For those wanting to understand why adult friends and relatives are experiencing severe cases of climate hysteria, this is the book. It is depressingly and relentlessly downbeat, apocalyptic, strident and accusatory. Those who weren’t alarmed before about the climate would be after reading this gloomy tome, if they take the things written at face value.
It is well referenced and sceptics will be familiar with many of the scenario and the players involved. It will provide an invaluable insight into the minds of those who believe we should mobilise against climate change in the same way as with World War 2, and why extreme activists believe the draconian govt actions taken against Covid 19 should be equally applied to the climate change that they believe to be an even worse disaster, unfolding now.
The book is enthusiastically endorsed by such as the Washington Post and the UK Sunday Times and a flavour of the hysteria surrounding it can be seen in two of the reviews; ‘If we don’t want our grandchildren to curse us we had better read this book’ Timothy Snyder.
‘This book may come to be regarded as the last truly great climate assessment ever made. Is there even time left to pen another? Clear, engaging and often dazzling.” The UK Daily Telegraph (normally a rather sober paper)
Full of nuggets of information –although some may query their accuracy-passionate, intellectual, philosophical and often densely written, it is not an easy book to read, as the authors style and tendency to mix subjects, means it does not always flow smoothly. So if some of your friends and relatives are already beyond extreme anxiety, but appear to be well informed, they may already be a reader of this well regarded author. Consequently, reading it yourself may help to better understand their fears, and judge how unfounded you believe them to be. That the ‘Climate Emergency” is already overwhelming us and will only get much worse is the overall message.
The Afterword to the paperback edition states; ‘The final pages of the manuscript of this book was written in early September of 2018 in a spirit of halfway optimism, which at the time I halfway believed.”
If this is halfway optimism Iwould hate to hear the author’s definition of pessimism. This is a thoroughly depressing book, full of dire interpretations of events and with little regards to history. If your friends and relatives follow this influential author, or those of a similar nature loudly proclaiming a climate apocalypse, it should be no surprise if they demand that you repent your views, as urgent action is clearly needed to fix things, in their opinion. Your more rational attitude to the climate will no doubt enrage and baffles them and may have fractured relationships. This book is recommended only because it gives such a good insight into the philosophical mind-set of this type of author and those who read their words approvingly.
After all that gloom, it is a pleasure to turn to 2 books that won’t envelope you in misery and dismay at man’s wickedness and apparent desire to destroy the planet by next Wednesday.
‘Apocalypse Never’ by Michael Shellenberger Hardback. Harper Publications ISBN978-0-06-300
I am not aware of having read any of his material before and was drawn to it as, like Michael Moore, I had heard that he had belatedly realised that in order to keep our lights on and civilisation functioning, we needed to turn to nuclear power.
I found myself nodding at many pages of this large and well referenced book, although most sceptics won’t agree with the basic premise that man’s excessive CO2 is the root cause of our climate ‘problems’. Many of the ‘facts’ and scenarios are already set out in Wells book, but Shellenberger refreshingly interprets them in an entirely different, more realistic and positive manner.
He recognises that pristine forest is cleared, not because locals enjoy burning trees, but that they need farmland to support their family. That using wood and dung for cooking by natives in parts of Africa is not to deliberately use the most inefficient and polluting fuel they can find, but because that is what is available. That villagers killing wild life around the periphery of African wildlife parks, is not to find tasty and exotic food, but because the creatures are destroying their crops.
Coal he recognises as the boon it has been for centuries, and that the faster undeveloped nations can industrialise, the quicker they will move away from it, have smaller families and place less pressure on the environment. He is also highly ambivalent about the role of such organisations as Greenpeace.
A review by Kerry Emanuel sums it up;
‘In this engaging and well researched treatise, Michael Shellenbergr exposes the environmentalist movements hypocrisy in painting climate change in apocalyptic terms, while steadfastly working against nuclear power, the one green energy source whose implementation could feasibly avoid the worst climate risks. ‘
This is an enjoyable and level headed book worth reading in its own right to understand the issues, arguments and the authors solutions, and one to give as a present to those who need to calm down and realise the situation is nowhere near as bad as they believe .
“False Alarm” by Bjorn Lomborg. Hardback Hachette books ISBN 978 1-5416-4746-1
The books sub heading; “How Climate Change Panic costs us Trillions, hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet’ sums up the books themes, as Lomborg sets out to demonstrate these assertions with numerous references.
Lomborg remains a Luke warmer, but one who recognises the costs and difficulty of achieving what ardent environmentalists demand. A review by Jordan Peterson neatly sums up the book, its contents and its aims;
‘Bjorn Lomborg’s new book offers a data-driven human centred antidote to the oft apocalyptic discussion characterising the effect of human activity on the global climate. Careful, compelling and above all sensible and pragmatic .”
Lomborg sets out his stall early in the book:
‘Climate change is real, it is caused predominately by carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels and we should tackle it intelligently. But to do that we need to stop exaggerating, stop arguing that it is now or never, and stop thinking climate is the only thing that matters.’
Sceptics who believe man has little culpability in the matter can meet with climate anxious friends and relatives on this halfway ground more usefully than the ‘Now or never, close the world down immediately’ scenarios often evinced by media, radical scientists and the hard core activists attitudes summed up by Wells book.
Whilst devout sceptics might not agree with the basic message of either Shellenberger or Lomborg, at least these authors views are not apocalyptic and provide useful material to reassure the climate alarmed groups that the end of the world in not nigh. In that respect, encouraging the spread of these more moderate views will ensure that at least the world won’t be upended and civilisation reversed to save us from ourselves. Very readable.
The Denial “ by Ross Clark Softback. Lume Books; ISBN 978-1-83901-210-5
I have long believed that fictional satire has a useful place in highlighting such world events as the ‘Climate Emergency’ and its attendant alarmism, irrationality and disturbing solutions based on increasingly authoritarian demands.
As with Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ this unassuming book exposes these shrill traits in a chilling manner. Any long term sceptic will recognise the scenarios that unfold, as authorities and increasingly confident activists take ever more drastic action against climate realists. In this case, epitomised by a public spirited but naive retired meteorologist called Bryan Geavis. He at one time, worked in a junior capacity for an oil firm by advising on weather conditions as they affected the safety of employees working on oil rigs. Any mention of Oil has of course become a red rag to a raging out of control bull.
As a modest and un-forecasted storm overwhelms London due to the flood defences not being closed, the UK govt and people look for a scapegoat, and it is our unassuming central character who becomes the villain. The book pinpoints the hypocrisy of celebrity ‘climate influencers’ allowed to fly where they want to observe and report to their social media bubbles just how dire things are, through to the disturbing audited personal carbon rations, bans on meat, dairy and imported food and many goods-except for the elite. It becomes inevitable that this growing insanity will result in a climate court run by brainwashed children and overseen by a govt increasingly scared at what they have unleashed.
Even the most innocuous weather event is viewed as man’s fault and when the govt agrees to publicise the daily count of those ‘killed’ by the climate we should not be surprised when it includes a flock of geese drowned on local marshes, ‘exhausted’ after battling climate change induced storms, and drowning in marshlands more flooded than ‘normal.’ In response, the govt on the back foot of outraged and hysterical public opinion at this ecocide, rename the “Department for the Climate Apocalypse” to the “Department for Climate Armageddon.”
Inconvenient facts on past storms and weather events, and the use of previously authenticated historic temperatures are disregarded, and it is a criminal act to reference them or to deny the reality of climate change.
People killed by climate change in the official records now include a cyclist thrown off his bicycle by a pothole, allegedly caused by unusual levels of rain and frost; a woman allergic to bee stings who had been stung by one considered to be unusually active for the time of year.
Highly recommended. Why not give a copy to alarmist friends and relatives in the hope they will be able to see, through satire, the way we are heading, the absurdity of the claims made of our dire effect on the climate, the mounting hysteria, the irrational actions, the witch-hunts and the economic collapse that faces us as we try to eliminate the last vestige of CO2 emissions?
That renewables failed to step into the power gap caused by the wholesale closure of other forms of British energy generation should also come as a warning to those convinced renewables will be our saviour.
If they tell you that Bryan Geavis got what he deserved, then it is time to find new friends and relatives
Chilling, perceptive, often funny and entertaining, it is surely a shape of things to come if the climate madness continues.
Books on renewables. When compiling this review I was aware of the lack of a good book setting out the arguments in favour of, and the counter arguments to, the use of renewables and the desire to rapidly phase out fossil fuel as a means of generating power.
I like the idea of ‘free’ energy from the sun, wind, and water as a means to replace fossil fuels, but recognise their dependency on the vagaries of the weather gods and shortcomings over storage, reliability, costs, back up, availability of raw materials, environmental damage, extravagant use of space etc. However govts all over the world are promoting them as the means to fulfil the much desired ‘zero net emissions of CO2.’
Why? What calculations of the suitability of renewables as our 24/7 base power are the govt buying into, encouraged by environmental pressure groups? Do Governments know something about renewables that sceptics have missed, who mostly believe that renewables are inadequate as a means of base power to keep lights on 24/7 and in promoting them politicians will unwittingly dismantle civilisation whilst chasing Unicorns?
Nuclear seems to be low on the list of possible sources of ‘renewable’ energy -indeed is actively disliked by many environmental groups and governments-which has prompted recent interventions by such as Michael Shellenberger and Zion Lights, former spokesperson for anti-nuclear power group Extinction rebellion who resigned and is a co-founder of ‘Nuclear for net zero.’
Does anyone know of such a book to review? Preferably one similar in size to Greta’s slim handbook that will succinctly set out facts and figures and the plus and negative points, without having to plough through pages of philosophical debate, personal opinion and irrelevant material etc?
Clearly more facts and figures are needed before either ‘side’ of the fossil fuel versus renewables debate can persuade the other of the merit of their energy policy.
Climate Publications-The means to an end?
Reading numerous climate related books over the last few weeks to produce this Christmas reading short list, reveals the highly philosophical and theoretical nature of many of the authors in the climate alarmist field and the political and socially aware ‘Climate Justice’ views they hold.
The books explained the mind-set of influential and often extreme climate activists who have captured the ears of govt, the cheque books and public posturing of many corporations, and the outpourings of the ‘liberal’ media. Their position readily explains why those who are unaware of climate history or can demonstrate an inability to put events into a broader context, believe the current situation to be unique, and consequently view ‘catastrophic’ climate change with such fear.
But all will apparently be well once we wholeheartedly embrace the renewable energy revolution.