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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor by Roy W. Spencer

Well-stated from this former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA.

Roy Spencer presents a well-stated and reasoned defense for the "deniers" of global warming, although he does not deny the globe is warming, he denies that we can definitively lay it at the feet of hydrocarbon emissions. The greatest strength of Climate Confusion is its readability - Spencer has a great sense of humor and lets it shine throughout - he reminds me of Dave Barry quite a bit.

Spencer cites the difficulty in creating computer-based climate models and the difficulty in understanding all of the relationships between the myriad of variables that come together to create the ill-understood phenomenon we call weather. For example, as has been oft-noted by Al Gore, carbon dioxide levels have risen in the last century. Spencer notes that we have no idea what that exactly means for the global climate. Will water vapor increase due to an increase in global temperatures? Will the system self-regulate, or have a cascade effect (which Spencer seriously doubts, as do I) as depicted in Art Bell's The Coming Global Superstorm?

Roy Spencer
In reality, we don't know and can't really know because we cannot run accurate climate models. We don't understand or even know all of the variables. What we do know is that temperatures fluctuate - they go up and they go down. There is no "perfect" average temperature for our planet.

Spencer's weakest chapter is actually a well-written treatise on basic economics. He looks at cost-benefit analysis and the concept of diminishing returns, but the chapter feels out of place and slows the pace of the book.

Spencer also addresses the Kyoto Treaty but this is done better in other similar works, specifically The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) by Chris Horner. Spencer also talks about the idea that modern environmentalism is more a faith than a science. Spencer does a good job but Iain Murray does a better job in his book The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About--Because They Helped Cause Them. If you read all three of them you should have a well-rounded summary of the main arguments.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on October 23, 2008.

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