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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Deniers

The Deniers
The Deniers (Richard Vigilante Books 2008) by Lawrence Solomon is a very good book.  I doubt that I would agree with Mr. Solomon on any political topic, but this is an amazingly even handed, fair book.  The blurb on the dustcover of the book describes Lawrence Solomon as “a world renowned environmentalist, author, and activist [who] has been at the forefront of movements to stop nuclear power expansion and to save the world’s rainforests.”  He is active in Energy Probe, a group that not only opposes the development of nuclear power, but also opposes all hydro-electric plant development.  This is how Mr. Solomon describes Energy Probe.

            “Energy Probe had long been concerned about the global warming issue.  We are
            primarily advocates of conservation and renewal energy as alternatives to fossil
            fuels, large hydro dams, and nuclear power.  We are also a peace group concerned
            with stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.  In the late
            1980’s, we also were among the very first organizations in Canada to sound the
            alarm on global warming.  And both Energy Probe and Probe International
            developed proposals for minimizing the threat of global warming.”

Mr. Solomon is, by profession, a columnist with National Post (Toronto) and author of half a dozen books.  But, in my mind, what sets Mr. Solomon apart from the pack is his unswerving commitment to fairness and objectivity in writing on this topic.

In this book Mr. Solomon addresses the issue as to whether those who take issue with all or part of the Global Warming debate are “kooks or crooks.”  Are they as Al Gore says of them…

            “Fifteen percent of the people believe the moon landing was staged on some movie
            lot and a somewhat smaller number still believe the earth is flat.  They all get
            together on a Saturday night and party with the global warming deniers.”
Moreover, Mr. Solomon directly addresses the issue as to whether Global Warming is, as Al Gore and the minions on the left say “settled science.” 

As Mr. Solomon accurately points out, “The very term ‘deniers’ is a deliberate reference to the ‘Holocaust deniers’ who defend the Nazi regime by claiming that Jews and their allies faked the Holocaust to slander Hitler.”  It is, in other words, a very heavy handed, mean, and slanderous description if the description is untrue.

The book consists primarily of the outcome of interviews with “deniers,” i.e. those who do not believe all of or any of the explanation of global warming is true, or at least that man has caused global warming.  It is a fascinating read.  And, as Mr. Solomon warns early on, many of these “deniers” disagree with each other.

Here is a partial listing and partial bios of the folks discussed in this book…

    *  Dr. Edward Wegman.  In 1978 became the head of the Mathematical Sciences Division of
        Naval Research, coined the phrase computational statistics.  He was the original program
        director of the basic research program in Ultra High Speed Computing at the Strategic
        Defense Initiate’s Innovative Science and Technology Office and is a member of the Board of
        The American Statistical Association, a past president of the International Association of
        Statistical Computing, and a past chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical
        Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences

    * Dr. Richard Tol.  Dr. Tol is the Michael Otto Professor of Sustainability and Global Change
       and director of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Hamburg University,
       principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije University, and adjunct
       professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change at
       Carnegie Mellon University.

    * Dr. Christopher Landsea.  He is a research meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanographic and
       Atmospheric Administration, he was chair of the American Meteorological Society’s
       Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones and a recipient of the American
       Meteorological Society’s Banner I. Miller Award.

    * Dr. Duncan Wingham.  In 1996 he was appointed chair of the Department of Space and
       Climate Physics, University College, London and made head of the Department of Earth
       Sciences in 2005.  He is a member of the National Environmental Research Council’s
       (NERC) Science and Technology Board and Earth Observation Experts Group.  He serves
       as principal scientist of the European Space Agency CryoSat Satellite Mission.

    * Dr. Richard Lindzen.  A past professor at the University of Chicago and Harvard, he is the
       Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT, a member of the National Academy of
       Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a
       member of the National Research Council Board on the Atmospheric Sciences and Climate.

    * Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu.  Founding director of the International Arctic Research Center of the
       University of Alaska Fairbanks and has published more than 550 professional journal articles
       and authored or co-authored ten books.  Twice named one of the “1,000 Most Cited
       Scientists” and honored by the Royal Astronomical Society of London, the Japan Academy
       of Sciences, and the American Geophysical Union.

    * Dr. David Bromwich.  Head of the Polar Meteorology Group of the Byrd Polar Research
       Center and professor in the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the Department of Geography
       of Ohio State University.  He is president of the International Commission on Polar
       Meteorology, the chair of the Polar DAAC Advisory Group, a member of the Arctic climate
       System Study Working Group on Reanalysis, and a past member of the National Academy
       of Sciences.

    * Dr. Eigil Friis-Christensen.  Director of the Danish National Space Center.  Member of the
       Space Research Advisory Committee of the Swedish National Board from 1998 to 2006. 
       He is author or co-author of some 100 peer reviewed articles and has presented more than
       50 invited papers at international conferences.

    * Dr. Henrik Svensmark.  Director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish
       National Space Center.  Has held post-doctoral positions in physics at the University of
       California Berkeley.  Recipient of the Knud Hojgaard Anniversary Research Prize.

    * Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov. The head of the space research laboratory of the Russian
       Academy of Sciences’ Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station’s
       Astrometria project.

    * Dr. William Gray.  Heads the University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, which publishes
       yearly forecasts for tropical storms, named storms, typhoons, hurricanes, and intense

    I think you get the idea.  These are some of the most respected scientists in the entire world.  But they are just a small representation of the more than 100 world renowned scientists that Mr. Solomon has met or talked with.  Each one of them takes issue with some aspect of the idea of man caused global warming and each one of them has world class scientific credentials.

Did their arguments sway Mr. Solomon?  They did not.  He says in his book…

            “Have my deniers convinced me that global warming is all a hoax?  They have not,
            despite my admiration for the courage and integrity that so many of them display,
            and despite their impeccable credentials, I might add, that are often far more
            impressive than those of some of the gurus propounding climate-change

In regard to global warming, Mr. Solomon concludes…

            “It is one environmental concern among many, whose science is far from settled.”
And my last word is, be sure and read this book.  It provides an even handed, fair analysis of the theory of man caused global warming.  It’s well written, well documented and the science explanations are understandable to a layman of which I am certainly one.  Anyone with an open and fair mind will enjoy reading this book.  It will challenge you to think.  And, at least once in a while, that’s a good thing.

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