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Keywords: Climate change, global warming, science, science policy

Title: Unstoppable Global Warming

Author: Dennis Avery and Fred Singer

Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield

ISBN: 0742551172

 

When David Miliband, who was then Britain's Environment Minister, said 'I think that the scientific debate has now closed on global warming, and the popular debate is closing as well,' he was merely reiterating a commonly held view. It has been repeated so often and by so many people, that to doubt it is now akin to doubting the truth of evolution or the force of gravity. And yet the reality is that far from debate closing down, the scientific debate is growing. The science of climate change is as volatile and as unsettled as the weather is.

At first glance 'Unstoppable Global Warming' sounds like the title of another alarmist episode from Al Gore, but it's followed by the punch line: 'Every 1.500 Years'. Whatever this is, it's not of the same ilk as Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'. In fact authors Dennis Avery and Fred Singer explicitly set out to demolish the myth of scientific consensus on all aspects of climate change.

They do this with some skill and passion, quoting extensively from a wide range of scientific sources, referring constantly to papers published in well-known peer-reviewed journals. They counter the hype, exaggeration and alarmism both of populist adherents of the 'man-made global warming theory', including Al Gore, but also some of the statements made by partisan scientists such as Michael Mann (who came up with the controversial 'hockey stick' graph that purported to show the evidence of man-made warming).

As should be clear from the subtitle of the book, the authors counter the theory that we are in the midst of man-made global warming with an alternative that suggests that the earth's climate is always in flux and that this is a natural cycle. They present evidence both in terms of our climate history, but also by pointing to evidence in favour of the cosmo-climatology theory presented by Henrik Svensmark and his co-workers (as detailed in the Chilling Stars).

Furthermore, Avery and Singer look at a range of claims made by proponents of the 'consensus' view, including sea-level rise, species extinction, increases in hurricane frequency and intensity and so on. Again quoting from the literature, the authors debunk the alarmist headlines and show that there is little scientific evidence to support many of these misconceptions.

In contrast to the Chilling Stars, this is a book that has a decidedly polemical tone. Given the propensity for the mass media to leap on to the most alarmist of climate change stories, and for politicians to seek to exploit the issue in order to gain some legitimacy, the polemical stance the authors have adopted is understandable. To dispute the myth of consensus is to invite censure and the accusation of being a 'climate change denier'.

Far from being over, the popular debate on climate change has barely started. Those who air dissenting views are not often heard above the constant din of those who believe in the 'consensus'. This book is an effective, well-written and ultimately convincing rebuttal of the 'consensus'. For those who have believe what the media tell them, this is bound to be sobering reader, and is to be recommended on those ground alone. In short, this is highly recommended.

Contents © London Book Review 2007. Published October 10 2007