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Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Environment | 1 comment

Book Review – Climate Myths

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy

We are seeing the impact of global climate change almost daily.  There is of course the drought in the Midwest of the United States as well as part of the Russia, two the the largest grain producing regions in the World.   The East Coast of the United States was hit by Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012 and then a nor’easter in February of 2013 resulting in millions of dollars in damage.  The Phoenix, AZ area may be on it’s way to becoming one of the first climate change ghost towns.  As summer ends in Australia it was the warmest on record with 123 records broken in 90 days.  That’s just a few of them.  In spite of this the energy industry has been successful at creating doubt and blocking legislation by creating a series of myths about climate change.  Dr John J. Berger successfully destroys those myths in Climate Myths: The Campaign Against Climate Science.

Chapter one deals with the disinformation campaign  of the oil, coal and other large industries in the U.S. to give talking points to climate change deniers.

For decades, the oil and coal industries and some of their largest industrial customers have conducted a sophisticated and wildly successful multimillion dollar campaign based in the U.S. to convince the American public that climate change is not a serious threat.  The impetus for the campaign has been to protect industry profits by blocking any action designed to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and other global heating gases produced in burning fossil fuels.

This has always amazed me.  Are these executives so concerned about profits today that they will risk their children and grand children’s future.  There is really on one explanation – they are sociopaths.

This disinformation has come from various right wing think tanks and trade groups that produce papers that appear to be based on science but unlike the “real” papers produced by scientists are never peer reviewed.  Chapter two introduces us to the activities of these organizations.

The rest of the book is a look at eleven myths of the climate change deniers and explains why they are disinformation.

Myth One

The scientific foundation for concerns about climate change is uncertain and unproven.  The evidence is contradictory and inconclusive.

Myth Two

Even if humans added substantially to the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration carbon dioxide is not a powerful enough gas to cause global warming.  Other gases such as nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and even water vapor are far more powerful.  

Myth Three

Human burning of fossil fuels is not the source of observed increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration above naturally occurring levels.  Increases are caused by natural processes, such as the outgassing of the Earth’s mantel.

Myth Four

Climate varies naturally.  We are in a natural warming cycle that has little or nothing to do with human influence.  There have been warm periods in the past, such as the Medieval Warm Period, that prove the world heats and cools naturally, unaffected by greenhouse gas emissions from human industrial activity.  Indeed, periods of warming may actually be caused by natural fluctuations in cosmic rays or solar radiation.  

Dr Berger dismantles these four myths and the seven others.  The trick here is that there is a little real science in mosh of these myths giving them the appearance of real science.  The problem isn’t what they say so much as what they don’t tell you – what they leave out.

I don’t have any faith that anything is going to be done to mitigate climate change in time.  We are already past the point of no return.  I’m 67 years old and will not be impacted but the children and grandchildren of the executives responsible for this disinformation will be.

This is a quick easy read that will make it possible for you to refute the talking points of the change deniers and I recommend it.

Dr Berger’s website


I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Cross posted at Middle Earth Journal