Quick Book Review: Climate Confusion by Dr. Roy Spencer

The full title is: “Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor,” and the title does a solid job of summing-up the central theme of the book in under 200 pages.

First, a brief bio of Dr. Spencer from Wikipedia: “Roy W. Spencer is a principal research scientist for University of Alabama in Huntsville. In the past, he served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Spencer is a recipient of NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.”

I’d seen this title mentioned in a few places over the last several months and was fortunate enough to find it at the library. Two things jumped out at me that made the decision to read it easy. First it is endorsed by Dr. Walter Williams, second, it is not endorsed by Paul Ehrlich. ;-)

I was glad to see a few other names mentioned in the book: Julian Simon, Frederic Bastiat, John Stossel, and Thomas Sowell.

A notable part of the book is devoted to exposing the fact that so-called ‘deniers’ appear to be in the more scientific position in the debate than those that are already convinced that global warming is caused by human activity (and claim to know what the solution is). Further, global warming ‘deniers’ don’t deny that some global warming has occurred, but they are not yet convinced that it is caused in large part by humans. Spencer also delves into the rather unpleasant world of scientific grants. Many if not most of the global warming research programs in the U.S. are paid for in one way or another by federal grant money; there is a definite motivation to ‘find’ evidence of human-caused global warming. Some critics claim that those that question global warming are influenced by money, it sounds like the reverse is much more true. Govt. money clearly taints the scientific process. “With very few exceptions, we climate scientists are funded by the federal government.”

A good quote: “The EPA deserves special mention when it comes to the politics of climate change. I remind you that government agencies have two central goals. The first is to forever perpetuate their own existence. Once these agencies are created it seems they can never be destroyed. … The second goal of a government agency is to spend as much of your money as they can get their hands on.”

I was glad to see that Dr. Spencer pulls no punches in his criticism of the people that got DDT banned in so many places years ago. They have literally caused the deaths of tens of millions of people, including many children. Make note of the one-page epilogue.

Another good quote that lends credence to my ‘cretin or crook‘ theme ;-) : “I have come to the conclusion that politicians who advocate such ‘solutions’ are either incapable of critical thought, or have underlying political or financial motives. It almost seems like they want to pander to public sentiment, spread socialism, or destroy our modern way of life. Maybe all three.”

A few items of note:
1. Spencer points out that the computer models used make MANY assumptions that at times approach ridiculousness.
2. There is a culture of ‘inbreeding’ (for lack of a better word) in the scientific community. The same crowd reviews each others’ papers/reports and and it becomes rather tautological. There is a lot of peer pressure to conform.
3. There is a chapter on economics that is brief but a rock-solid basis for the layman. It’s like a mini version of Hazlitt’s Economics In One Lesson.

4. Science is supposed to be about facts, the scientists demanding policy ‘A’ or policy ‘B’ have arguably over-stepped their bounds, often (usually) ignorant of the need to weigh costs and benefits of proposed policies.
5. Remember the acid-rain scare of the 1980s? I distinctly remember being told that industry was single-handedly destroying the Adirondack Mountain areas that I loved. It turns out that the story has completely fallen off the radar screen. Acid-rain was a largely natural phenomenon
6. See the DDT mention above.

7. A brief commentary on the buzzword ‘sustainability.’
8. Why the heck are we missing out on nuclear power? It seems to be the closes thing we have to free energy.
9. The earth’s climate appears to be at least partially self-regulating.
10. The value and accuracy of data gleaned from very old ice core and tree ring samples are called into question.

The first part of the book brings the reader up to speed on the basics of the issues and the controversy, and does a solid job, imho. Dr. Roy Spencer explains exactly what a greenhouse gas is and what percentage of the atmosphere is made up of carbon-dioxide. The middle section of the book is a bit more technical but still quite readable, though dry at times

One point that can not be overstated is the fact that many of the assumptions made by global warming zealots is the large number of assumptions they make in their analyses. These are usually translated into their computer models. Putting the algorithm into a computer doesn’t make it any more correct, it just allows it to run faster.

FindĀ Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor at Amazon.

This is a fantastic book for anyone even remotely interested in the topic and/or doesn’t want to fall prey to charlatans. Grab it, well-worth the brief time to read.

Misc.:
Climate Confusion at Amazon
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Dr. Roy Spencer
Global Warming and Nature’s Thermostat
Climate Confusion, by Roy Spencer
Roy Spencer on John McCain and Climate Change
Global Warming Hysteria Has Arrived