Book reviews of Climate Change Denial
Posted on 12 May 2011 by John Cook
There have been several reviews of Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. My co-author Haydn Washington and I quite like our book but thought you'd probably prefer some third party opinion. The first book review was posted by Bryan Walker from the New Zealand blog Hot Topic:
The book is compact and well referenced. It carries an eloquent foreword from Naomi Oreskes. It is lucid and compelling in its discussions. It adds a weighty voice to the summons to face the physical and ethical reality of climate change, to have done with denial and to set about the still achievable task of repair.
Read full review...
Yes, we were quite chuffed that Naomi Oreskes, recently awarded 4C Climate Communicator of the Year, graciously agreed to write the foreword to our book. The second review was Handbook in Denialism by Rasmus Benestad from Real Climate:
It would not surprise me if the denialists would deny the existence of the new book by Haydn Washington and John Cook (skepticalscience.com) ‘Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand‘. Somehow, I don’t think they will read it – but they are not target group of this book either. Anyway, denialism is, according to the book, a common human trait – we should all know somebody who deny one thing thing or another.
‘Climate Change Denial’ is a useful book and resource for those with an open mind – for instance journalists. It reads easy and provides a fairly concise picture of the situation many of climate scientists have to live with.
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Rasmus' review is very lengthy, pointing out all the things we failed to include in our book. But between Climate Change Denial and Rasmus' review, just about all bases are covered (we'll have to append his review to the second edition :-). Lastly, Robin from UK based Carbon Brief posted New book aims to reclaim scientific skepticism:
Perhaps the strongest part of the book deals with a categorization of the main climate sceptic/denier arguments - separating them into five types: conspiracy theories; fake experts; impossible expectations; misrepresentations and logical fallacies and cherry-picking.
The evidence behind nine of the main skeptic challenges to climate science are then examined - including that "climategate proves conspiracy" (=conspiracy), "climate models are unreliable" (=impossible expectations), "temperature measurements are unreliable" (=cherry-picking) or the reliable standby, "global warming stopped in 1998" (=the ultimate in cherry-picking).
This is Skeptical Science's bread and butter, and Cook and Hadyn's book makes clear the inconsistencies and flaws in these arguments very well. The explanations are accessible and make use of some great metaphors...
...the book has the virtue of thoughtful accessibility, and is an excellent primer for anyone getting interested in this area and looking for a good overview.
Read full review...
I'm loving Carbon Brief at the moment (not just because of the book review). They're the group that did research into Poptech's list of 900+ "skeptic" peer-reviewed papers and found 9 of the 10 most cited authors all had links to organisations funded by ExxonMobil. Digging deeper, they contacted some of the authors on the list who each complained that their climate studies have been misrepresented. Apparently, there is a third post in this series - looking forward to it! UPDATE: my mistake, part 3 has already been published, examining how 131 papers on the list come from the self-confessed politically motivated journal Energy & Environment.
Note for Aussies - an interview by Science Show host Robyn Williams with Haydn and I will air on ABC Radio on Saturday noon (for everyone else, there should be a podcast of the episode down the track). And for those in Sydney and Canberra, hope to meet you in our book launches on Sunday and Monday.