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Global Warming and Political Intimidation

Global Warming and Political Intimidation: How Politicians Cracked Down on Scientists as the Earth Heated Up

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Global Warming and Political Intimidation
    Book Description:

    Global warming is the number one environmental issue of our time, yet some prominent politicians have refused to accept scientific evidence of human responsibility and have opposed any legislation or international agreement that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. A few have gone even further and have tried to destroy the reputations of scientists researching climate change by deliberately undermining the credibility of their research. These politicians have sought to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the public and to weaken public and political support for the control of fossil fuel use. one scientist who was unwittingly ensnared in a web of political intimidation. In this powerful book, highly respected climate scientist Raymond Bradley provides the inside story from the front lines of the debate. In clear and direct language, he describes the tactics those in power have used to intimidate him and his colleagues part of a larger pattern of governmental suppression of scientific information, politics at the expense of empirically based discourse. Speaking from his experience, Bradley exposes the fault lines in the global warming debate, while providing a concise primer on climate change. The result is a cautionary tale of how politics and science can become fatally intertwined.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-008-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-6)

    It is often said that global warming is the number one environmental issue of our time. Some experts go even further, arguing that it threatens civilization as we know it. As a working climatologist for over thirty-five years, I have seen an explosive growth in our understanding of global climate and the increasing role that human activity plays in controlling the earth’s climate system. By our extravagant use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), we are rapidly returning to the atmosphere carbon dioxide (CO2) that was extracted by plants millions of years ago. This has already affected the energy...

  6. 1 The Congressional Hearings The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    (pp. 7-21)

    The Russell Office Building on Capitol Hill is an imposing structure with long, high-ceilinged corridors that might remind you of a cathedral. Clusters of people scurry by, all in a hurry, all on important business no doubt. This is where many senators have their offices, each suite plush and patriotic, with flags and photographs of the senator shaking hands with the president or some other head of state, or meeting the troops. Walls are plastered with letters of thanks, honorary degrees from universities (thankful for past earmarks), letters of endorsement from influential organizations, and more photographs of people I suppose...

  7. 2 A Letter from Congress
    (pp. 22-29)

    The Pilgrim Trail from Le Puy en Velay in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain passes through some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe. My wife, Jane, and I had been walking along this route for the past few years, and in the summer of 2005 we went farther, finally crossing the Pyrenees, leaving the quiet villages and lush fields of southwestern France for the drier and more open landscape of northern Spain. I had initially been reluctant to go on this walk; I was too busy and not at all interested in retracing the steps of medieval...

  8. 3 The Hockey Stick Controversy
    (pp. 30-78)

    What had we done to enrage the House Energy Committee and its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations? What conclusions had we come to that had triggered their fury? In a nutshell, we had concluded that temperatures were warmer in the 1990s than at any time in the previous thousand years, and we suggested that this was due to human actions. No state secrets were revealed; no top secret memos were leaked; no covert operation was launched. We carried out our research, published it after a rigorous review process, and moved on to the next topic. But suddenly an icy hand...

  9. 4 The IPCC and the Nobel Prize
    (pp. 79-90)

    Looking back on the whole experience with Congressman Barton and his henchmen, and Senator Inhofe and his bizarre obsession with the hockey stick graph, I suspect that their main concern was not so much the story the graph told but rather the IPCC report. Because the graph was highlighted in the summary report of IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, and was then adopted by the media as an eye-catching image to represent the report’s findings, the idea of killing off the graph became synonymous with discrediting the entire IPCC. In addition, Barton and others knew full well that the next IPCC...

  10. 5 Global Warming A Primer
    (pp. 91-113)

    “It’s time for us to start talking about ‘climate change’ instead of global warming. ‘Climate change’ is less frightening than ‘global warming’; ‘global warming’ has catastrophic connotations attached to it; ‘climate change’ suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.” This was the advice given by the Luntz Research Company to Republican candidates running for election in 2003.¹

    Words matter. Politicians who are concerned about the fact that Americans are becoming more favorably inclined toward the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions avoid using the term “global warming.” It’s all just “climate change.” Everyone knows that climate changes naturally, so if...

  11. 6 Climate Futures Where Are We Heading?
    (pp. 114-131)

    Some things you just can’t keep to yourself—you have to share. So it is with the atmosphere; it blows around the world, and we all breathe it. Whatever we put into it gets passed on, whether the next person wants it or not. This has always been a problem in places such as western Europe, where small countries, closely juxtaposed, may receive pollutants from whatever power plant or industrial polluter happens to be upwind. Even in faraway Greenland, pollutants from the Industrial Revolution can be clearly detected in the otherwise pristine snows of the far North.

    Dealing with these...

  12. 7 The Doubt Merchants Suppression of Science and Character Assassination
    (pp. 132-156)

    Scientists, on the whole, are not alarmists. Scientific research is not aimed at finding results that set off warning bells. Scientists, in my experience, are a hardworking group of people who measure, observe, analyze, and report their findings in as clear a manner as they can. Careers depend on being objective, so that one’s own results can be compared without exaggeration or hyperbole with what others have found. Extreme views are generally treated with skepticism until further investigations can confirm those concerns. And if confirmation is not found, it leaves the alarmists with egg on their faces. Reputations are simply...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 157-160)
  14. Recommended Reading
    (pp. 161-162)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 163-167)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 168-169)