by Joseph Romm, Climate Progress, October 8, 2009
I don’t review many books because:
- It’s too time-consuming.
- I’m not sure how many of my readers (or anyone else) really devote time to reading non-fiction books on climate.
- There haven’t been many good books out there to review, books with useful, well-written information you can’t really get on the web.
I think everyone who follows the climate issue needs to understand the whole gory history of the most immoral and, so far, most successful, disinformation campaign in US history — the effort, largely funded by conservatives and fossil fuel companies, to deny climate science and delay the urgent action needed to preserve the health and well-being of countless future generations:
Starting in the early 1990s, three large American industry groups set to work on strategies to cast doubt on the science of climate change. Even though the oil industry’s own scientists had declared, as early as 1995, that human-induced climate change was undeniable, the American Petroleum Institute, the Western Fuels Association (a coal-fired electrical industry consortium) and a Philip Morris-sponsored anti-science group called TASSC all drafted and promoted campaigns of climate change disinformation.
The success of those plans is self-evident. A Yale/George Mason University poll taken late in 2008 showed that — 20 years after President George H.W. Bush promised to beat the greenhouse effect with the “White House effect” — a clear majority of Americans still say they either doubt the science of climate change or they just don’t know. Climate Cover-Up explains why they don’t know. Tracking the global warming denial movement from its inception, public relations advisor James Hoggan (working with journalist Richard Littlemore), reveals the details of those early plans and then tracks their execution, naming names and exposing tactics in what has become a full-blown attack on the integrity of the public conversation.
Leveraging four years of original research conducted through Hoggan’s website, DeSmogBlog.com, Hoggan and Littlemore documented the participation of lapsed scientists and ExxonMobil-funded think tanks. Then they analyzed and explained how mainstream media stood by — or in some cases colluded — while deniers turned a clear issue of science (and an issue for public safety) into a partisan argument that no one could win.
While I follow the issue very closely, I still learned a lot from this book, especially the fascinating Chapter 11 on “using courts and cash to silence critics of climate confusion.” I didn’t know the whole story of how uber-denier Fred Singer managed to get Roger Revelle (one of Al Gore’s teachers, who famously alerted Gore to the climate threat) to co-author a piece of nonsense. I didn’t know the story of the lawsuit that resulted when Revelle’s graduate student tried to speak up about “what he saw as Singer’s blatant manipulation — his outright bullying of — of Revelle” who “was in his eighty-second and it would turn out last year,” who “had already suffered a serious heart attack and was in failing health — unable according to his students and staff to pay attention for more than 15 or 20 minutes.” And if you want some more details on that, you can go here and here. But while some of the details are on the web, sometimes you just need to curl up with the whole well-told story.This book will open your eyes, it will raise your ire and, most especially, it will inspire you to take back the truth — to end the Climate Cover-up.
This is a must-read book.
Link to Climate Progress blog: http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/08/the-invention-of-lying-global-warming-denial/