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

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

ISBN13: 9780231152549
ISBN10: 023115254x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In its 2001 report on global climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations prominently featured the Hockey Stick, a chart showing global temperature data over the past one thousand years. The Hockey Stick demonstrated that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The inescapable conclusion was that worldwide human activity since the industrial age had raised CO2 levels, trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming the planet.

The Hockey Stick became a central icon in the climate wars, and well-funded science deniers immediately attacked the chart and the scientists responsible for it. Yet the controversy has had little to do with the depicted temperature rise and much more with the perceived threat the graph posed to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect our environment and planet. Michael E. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the real story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He introduces key figures in the oil and energy industries, and the media front groups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, bare-knuckled ways to cast doubt on the science. Mann concludes with an account of the Climategate scandal, the 2009 hacking of climate scientists' emails. Throughout, Mann reveals the role of science deniers, abetted by an uninformed media, in once again diverting attention away from one of the central scientific and policy issues of our time.

Review:

"In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside. As a member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), Mann helped compile 1,000 years of temperature data that when graphed, illustrates the extreme rise in degrees at the end of the 20th century. The persuasiveness of the 'hockey stick,' as it was dubbed, made Mann an instant political target. In the 2009 hacking scandal known as 'Climategate,' emails discussing the mathematical models he used to create the figure were said to prove an international conspiracy to dupe the public. That controversy, Mann writes, is only the latest attempt by deniers to discredit scientists one by one; for decades, powerful interests have spent untold millions to tarnish legitimate research and the reputation of scholars who have dedicated their lives to understanding our world. Although the book sometimes slides into overly technical language, Mann balances the statistical analysis with charming personal anecdotes from his life and work. Careful descriptions of the methods and models behind climate change science bear out that assertion, proving that the only way to counter dangerous lies is to expose the truth, however inconvenient it might be." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

mrkhrdr, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by mrkhrdr)
My best read in 2012. I would give it a 5 bullet rating if it were a dispassionate even-handed discussion of the global warming controversy. It isn't. It's a careful, and I believe accurate account of the author's struggles in the fight up to now. Michael Mann is one of the principal researchers putting forward the "hockey stick" model for the history of global temperatures over the past 6 centuries (probably a further reach than that by now), and as a result one of the primary targets of a smear campaign that used him to discredit all research that verifies the claim that our planet's atmosphere, oceans, and ice caps are warming in response to the increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Any rebuttal of his claims will have to account for his amassed citations - scientific documents , and the reports of scientific experts and political analysts - that support his story. In my judgement, casting doubt on his account will prove to be a daunting task, one that deniers of climate change have been unable to complete so far.
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Robert Baillie, February 19, 2012 (view all comments by Robert Baillie)
The "hockey stick" in the title refers to the famous graph of estimated temperatures over the last 1000 years. This graph resembles a hockey stick: it is fairly level for most of that period, then turns up sharply at the end. This graph shows that the recent period the warmest in the last 1000 years. The graph has been independently confirmed by other scientists.

This book by climatologist Michael Mann describes some of the scientific evidence that humans are changing the climate. But mostly, this book is about how the scientific process works, and about the attacks on the scientific process by politicians and others who refuse to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are changing the climate.

This book also refutes, in great detail, arguments made by climate change deniers. If you want to see the documentation, there are over 100 pages of footnotes, most of which are every bit as interesting as the main text.

Mann says that, for science to make progress, scientists must be skeptics. But he makes a distinction between skeptics and deniers. Skeptics examine all evidence and reject theories that are inconsistent with the data. Deniers reject theories that are inconsistent with their beliefs. That's a big difference.

If you want to know the flaws in arguments that are put forth by climate change deniers, this book is for you.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780231152549
Author:
Mann, Michael E.
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Subject:
Physics-Meteorology
Publication Date:
20120331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Science
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Climate Change and Global Warming
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines New Hardcover
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Product details pages Columbia University Press - English 9780231152549 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside. As a member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), Mann helped compile 1,000 years of temperature data that when graphed, illustrates the extreme rise in degrees at the end of the 20th century. The persuasiveness of the 'hockey stick,' as it was dubbed, made Mann an instant political target. In the 2009 hacking scandal known as 'Climategate,' emails discussing the mathematical models he used to create the figure were said to prove an international conspiracy to dupe the public. That controversy, Mann writes, is only the latest attempt by deniers to discredit scientists one by one; for decades, powerful interests have spent untold millions to tarnish legitimate research and the reputation of scholars who have dedicated their lives to understanding our world. Although the book sometimes slides into overly technical language, Mann balances the statistical analysis with charming personal anecdotes from his life and work. Careful descriptions of the methods and models behind climate change science bear out that assertion, proving that the only way to counter dangerous lies is to expose the truth, however inconvenient it might be." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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