Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Big, Sane, Optimistic, Blockbuster of a Book!

Professor Ian Plimer's Heaven+Earth: Global Warming - the Missing Science lobbed like a grenade into the climate change debate last week, and, boy, did it create a storm!

I've been absorbed in this 500 page, deeply academic, heavily footnoted monster for five days, and what a real, visceral pleasure it has been.

This book will undoubtedly become a classic. Plimer is an Australian geologist, well known and highly regarded internationally. He shot to fame in the 80's and 90's for taking on and, virtually single-handedly, demolishing the obscene Christian fundamentalists who wanted to replace the teaching of evolution in US schools with creationism and, later, 'Intelligent Design'.

He is on a similar crusade in this book, bringing a huge amount of scientific knowledge and expertise to the deeply flawed science underpinning the global warming disaster scenarios contained in the UN's IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) reports released over the last decade.

You may think, as I certainly did, that Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth encapsulated it all, that it was a powerful, persuasive film, and that the IPCC reports, particularly the fourth and final summary one released in 2007, and the Stern and Garnault reports since then, were all based on what has become known as 'the accepted science'. Well, Plimer blows that whole illusion away. It is an incredibly comprehensive, wholesale demolition of what he regards as politically inspired, consensus driven, pseudo science.

I normally don't read science. I failed both Physics and Chemistry in year 12. I'm an Arts wanker. But I was absolutely sucked in by this book. It's tough going - you have to concentrate and take it slowly, but as you read, the overwhelming logic of it grips you and you become hooked. It's virtually unputdownable!

In my mind the greatest virtue of all is sanity. This book has it in abundance. Sanity leads to optimism, like night follows day. And optimism is what we all need in these dark days.

Buy this book and read it, as best you can. You won't regret it, I promise you. It could well be one of those books that changes your life.


Steve Carey said...

You've inspired me. I'll buy it today.

Steve Carey said...

The book is impressive (and heavy) and I am working my way into it.

In fairness, though, you might have mentioned that the guy has an absolute tin ear for prose. It reads like it's been translated, it's that bad. Clunky springs to mind. I'm finding that very offputting - perhaps that's the arts wanker in me!

Peter Donoughue said...

That's what I thought at first Steve, but give it time. It will grow on you!