Kevin Grandia of DeSmogBlog in Canada, kindly sent me a copy of the new publication “Climate Cover-Up” for review last week, which plopped through my letterbox, postal strike notwithstanding, on Tuesday.
It took me until yesterday evening to read the whole of James Hoggan’s book in snatches on the train and Tube, and it contained information about Climate Change denial that made my hair curl.
Everyone should read this book.
It is very Canada-centric with a mostly North American focus, yet it is highly relevant Europe-side. I recognised trends and traits in many of the strands of public commentary and policy tracks as similar, almost inherited, in the United Kingdom.
The writing is a well-researched investigation into the continuing fabrication of the defence of Climate Change “scepticism”, which amounts to a long narrative of invention, first of outright denial of the science of Global Warming, then of foot-dragging delay being urged on all Governments.
The Preface begins :-
“This is a story of betrayal, a story of selfishnes, greed and irresponsibility on an epic scale. In its darkest chapters, it’s a story of deceit, of poisoning public judgment – of an anti-democratic attack on our political structures and a strategic undermining of the journalistic watchdogs who keep our social institutions honest. It is ultimately a story that drove me and those closest to me to outrage and activism. And although it is not my purpose to make you angry, I hope that you may, through the coming pages, come to understand the sense of indignation and injustice that brought me to write this book. I didn’t go looking for this trouble. I don’t think of myself as an activist, and I don’t fit the stereotypical description of an environmentalist. I have a decent wardrobe that doesn’t include a single hair shirt…”
This book documents the hyperactivity of the Coal, Oil and Gas companies in perturbing and warping public opinion towards Climate Change science, by proxy. It names and shames the architects of some very dodgy denial spin. It catalogues the Media’s ridiculous and dishonest fence-sitting. It unpacks controversies that turn out to have been infected with high doses of spin.
If you feel, somewhere in the back of your mind, that the Media are not being totally honest with you about Climate Change reporting, or that “clean coal” sounds like a hamfisted attempt to make nice with the global political process on halting global warming, or if you feel confused by what appear to be unresolved arguments about certain aspects of the public discussion on Carbon Dioxide emissions, then this book will help you to realise what’s truly going on beneath.
Journalists and Media organisations do not have the scientific skills in-house to realise the difference between wilful misrepresentation of the facts and what is really going on. Should they be blamed ? Yes, I think they should.
Governments don’t want to get their hands dirty by wading in to the mire of the public controversies and countering myths with clear statements. Or rather, they cower before the weight of Climate Change denial pressure rather than start an effective public information campaign to help people understand what is really happening.
And some Governments, including the Canadian Government, appear to be reinforcing the popular calls for delay on Climate Change policy, for example by refusing to adopt even the small measures called for by their Kyoto Protocol promises.
Many Governments, and even the global United Nations Climate Change process, have been taken in by Carbon Capture and Storage (or sequestration), which is shown in this book to be a deliberate ruse to allow Big Coal to carry on burning.
“Climate Cover-Up” is written by a public relations supremo, well aware of the legal challenges he will face by publishing this book, and well-prepared to mount with strong, well-evidenced counter-defence.
He tears down a number of self-publicising individuals by investigation into their methods and manner of attack. He traces the deliberate campaigns to change the mind of the people and the politicians, away from common sense and into a land of fiction. He writes usefully about the propaganda tricks used to mollify and pacify and confuse people.
James Hoggan takes some of the Climate Change denier arguments and shreds them, using evidence, facts and history. If you are a policymaker, you should read this book to make sure you have heard these denialisms and think about what your response could be. Forewarned is forearmed. You know the drill.
Hoggan’s summary is that there is no confusion in Climate Change science, and no relevant dissent, only a few outspoken outliers who are funded by the Fossil Fuel industry, and a few public commentators, sometimes even genuine scientists, who have their own unique, dubious agendas.
James Hoggan wants us to trust that our academic institutions are giving us the right information. He suggests we vote against politicians who try methods of delay and ineffective appeasement. He asks us to value the Earth, and to get beyond the fallacies being peddled to us by industry-backed false prophets and self-interested pundits.
Definitely one for the Christmas list.
“Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming” (Paperback)
by James Hoggan (Author), Richard Littlemore (Author)