Conversations, Reading Guides, VOLUME 12

The Science of Climate Change [A Reading List ]

Climate change is one of the most pressing threats to humanity and to the life of creation. Although it has been disputed by politicians, the scientific community unequivocally stands behind the grim view that science lays out for us. 

 
As one of the hottest heat waves in recent memory has just swept over the United States,  we offer this list of essential books on understanding the science of climate change and the disputes that it has spawned…

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

Naomi Oreskes /
Erik Conway

Now a powerful documentary from the acclaimed director of Food Inc.Merchants of Doubt was one of the most talked-about climate change books of recent years, for reasons easy to understand: It tells the controversial story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the science of global warming is “not settled” have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole.

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3 Comments

  1. As a climate change skeptic, it would be helpful to see author bios – or something that provides a better sense of the credentials of the person writing the book

  2. Walt, a good and reasonable suggestion. Thanks!
    Reality is that I likely might not have the time to update the post in this way.
    (Guess it’s easy enough for folks to drop an author’s name into Google?)

  3. Failed Climate Disaster Predictions
    sea level rise https://www.salon.com/control/2001/10/23/weather
    ice-free arctic http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7139797.stm
    not ice-free https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/arctic-sea-ice/

    The arctic ice trend from 1980, just after all the “New Ice Age” predictions (Time magazine, Newsweek, etc.) is down. But there has been a rebound from the 2012 low. Regardless of the trends, the prediction for ice-free by 2013 was off by millions of square kilometers or over a million square miles. In other words: epic fail.

    As for the issue of “settled science” and the idea that there is a overwhelming consensus of approaching disaster: the way we know that scientific theories are valid is that they make predictions that come true. Accurate predictions are the “gold standard” of science. Climate science has a long history of failed predictions, which strongly suggests that the science is not settled. (Actually “settled science” and “scientific consensus” are oxymorons, as has been demonstrated numerous times in the last 100 years.)