Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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.