Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines

I have been following the climate change "controversy" for some time now. I've known for many years that the science behind it is sound and solid. However, the amount of vicious and coordinated attacks on the whole concept surprised me, even though I still remember attacks on the research into the ozone hole in the 80s.

As in the 80s, I could not understand why anyone with vested interests in our future (and by "interests" I mean our children, who will reap the "rewards" of our stupidity) would deny the facts and research with such viciousness.

So, I was happy when one of the most famous scientists involved in the climate research, Dr. Michael E. Mann, wrote a book, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines", detailing the last 20 years of his struggle with the climate change denial industry.  
I wanted to see the details of this fight. I wanted to understand the possible reasons behind the people responsible for the attacks not only on science and research itself, but on individuals who dedicated their lives in pursuit of truths that benefit the entire human kind.

This book gave me not only a glimpse into the people who would not stop at anything to get their agenda ahead, no matter how disconnected from reality it was, like Senator James Inhofe, or Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. It also showed me how personal those attacks were and how they affected people whose only fault was being scientists.

However, the greatest benefit of this book is its amazing explanation of science and research behind our current understanding of the anthropomorphic global warming. Dr. Mann explains details with eloquence that makes those, sometimes difficult concepts, easy to grasp. Climate science is hard. It requires a firm understanding of many other disciplines. It requires statistical methods that are so far away from our daily routines, that their comprehension (and basic comprehension at best) needs an excellent teacher, who can bring them down to a level of a lay person.

I have to say, Dr. Mann does the job perfectly!

It's almost comical that I finished this book on the same day that July of 2012 was announced to be the hottest month on record in the US.

That's just one more reason to read Dr. Mann's book, especially if you are still sitting on a fence, not sure about the science of global warming. If you keep your political mind away, this book will change your mind.