Gregory Whitestone. Inconvenient Facts. Silver Crown Productions, 2017. Print.
A few years ago I reviewed a book by Rud Istvan which challenged popular thinking about the so-called population bomb. Istvan also wrote a book called The Arts of Truth about global warming which I have read but have not reviewed, though it is a pretty thorough book that I would recommend to the technically minded. Inconvenient Facts also challenges the received academic tradition concerning global warming. It is presented in such a way that most people will be able to grasp it even without a technical background.
Since calls twenty-five years ago that because of the fall of the Soviet Union, communists and socialists would have to use the environmental movement if they wanted to maintain power, this reviewer has been skeptical of environmental claims that call for more government regulation. Inconvenient Facts builds up that skepticism to an even greater degree.
The author does a very effective job of presenting information from real science, not uncertain predictions. Some are even humorous. For example, polar bears are actually healthier in the Chukchi Sea of Siberia than Alaska’s Beaufort Sea because there is less sea ice there. The waters are warmer so there are more creatures for them to eat. Studies have shown that the polar bear population has increased. (Istvan also wrote about polar bears in his collection of essays Blowing Smoke).
He points out that earth’s air needs a certain amount of carbon dioxide, the so-called greenhouse gas some people worry about. At one point in earth’s history, the proportion was so low that many green plants died. That was dangerous for life. The more carbon dioxide in the air historically, the better crops grow and the better the animals that eat the plants live. Carbon dioxide is necessary for photosynthesis and producing oxygen.
As many people have noticed, the media used to use the term “global warming.” (The media worried about “global cooling” in the seventies.) In the last ten years the term is the very vague “climate change.” Well, we know that the climate is always changing. Wrightstone shows that the world has gone through several warm and cold periods in recorded history. For example, in Roman times citrus fruits grew up to around what today is the England-Scotland border. By the late Middle Ages after the so-called Little Ice Age began, the Vikings abandoned their Greenland settlements and Iceland’s population halved. The warm eras were far more productive and innovative. During the cooler eras, mankind’s main concern was survival.
Even recent predictions have gone unfulfilled. The United Nations said in 2005 that low-lying islands would be flooded by 2010. The population of many of these places has actually increased. You get the idea.
All told, Wrightstone lists 60 “inconvenient facts” that refute the climate doomsayers. Each one is backed by scientific or historical data. There are a detailed bibliography and very effective charts, graphs, and pictures to make the data clear.
Her is one simple one that really should be obvious to anyone. We see pictures of sea ice from the Arctic or Antarctic breaking apart and newscasters warning us about this causing the sea level to rise. Sea ice is ice formed from the sea. When it melts, it simply changes its material state. Ice floats, so when it melts it becomes denser and the sea level does not change. You can observe ice melt in a glass of water, and the water level never changes. It is the same thing at sea.
Wrightstone also notes that very little of the atmosphere is actually made up of carbon dioxide. The more abundant gas that does cause more of a greenhouse effect is water vapor. And the water vapor in the atmosphere is not a bad thing. The more water vapor, the more water and the more rain. This also helps crops, moisten soils, and reduces drought and wild fires.
Inconvenient Facts is written simply enough that most people can understand it. I would especially encourage people to give it to elementary school teachers. From my experience it has been elementary schools that have been most exposed to climate change propaganda in films and news items. At the very least we need a balance. And we certainly do not need the government to tell us what foods to eat or what cars to drive.