Myths of global warming skilfully debunked
HENRY KELLYreviews The Real Global Warming DisasterBy Christopher Booker Continuum, 368pp, €20.50
THE QUESTION asked in Christopher Booker’s meticulously researched, provocative and challenging book is this: is the obsession with “climate change” turning out to be the most costly scientific blunder in history?
Booker is an old-fashioned journalist but one prepared, even enthusiastically eager, to use the latest tools available to writers, top of the list being the internet. He can reach and challenge international climate conference documents, US Congress reports, world newspapers, and papers by eminent scientists arguing both sides of the global warming/ climate-change debate.
And make no mistake: there are two sides to the current debate, which is being given added attention in advance of next month’s conference in Copenhagen where 20,000 delegates from around the world will meet to try to come to some form of agreement on carbon emissions and the extent of the role mankind may be playing in the warming of the planet. Work out what their air miles will have added to those emissions.
In advance of Copenhagen, the daftest things have been said by those who, you might think, ought to know better. British prime minister Gordon Brown has said we have “50 days to save the planet”; an organisation called the Alliance of Religion and Conservation has weighed in with some nostrums about global warming being a religious issue; and one global warmist has suggested that to save the planet we should all give up eating meat because cows emit methane that heats up the atmosphere.
This particular daftness has been knocked for six by Prof Ian Crute, chief scientist at the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board at Stonleigh Park in Warwickshire. He says giving up meat would make only a marginal difference to greenhouse gas emissions, saying 60 per cent of British farmland and large tracts worldwide are best suited to grass.
Booker is not the type of journalist rolled out on every second radio and television programme, although he has one prominent outlet: his weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph.
His views are too challenging to the conventional wisdom that we’re on the edge of being burned in our beds or drowned by melting ice sheets. I cannot remember the last time I heard or saw him on, say, the BBC. That, of course, is because the BBC has taken the global warming line, to the extent that in a recent Todayinterview, the presenter allowed Al Gore to get away with the nonsense that “the science is certain”. It is most certainly not, as time and again Booker demonstrates in this book.
He tackles other “facts”. The warmists tell us polar bears are in danger. They are using what I have seen called the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of drawing improper conclusions because one is blinded by taking pity on some creature or other.
As Booker points out, from the 1980s onwards, polar bear populations have been rising: of 13 main polar bear groups in eastern Canada, 11 were growing and only two declining.
When Gore told a conference in 2005 that science had evidence of “drowning polar bears”, he was referring to one incident in which four bears drowned following a violent Alaskan storm, nothing to do with warming.
Buy this book and read it carefully. It needs your attention. Read it, because it will make you stop and think and wonder and question where our politicians are leading us.
Henry Kelly is a journalist and broadcaster. He is a former Northern Editor of The Irish Times