Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ray Bradley's New Book

I just finished reading Ray Bradley’s new book Global Warming and Political Intimidation: How Politicians Cracked Down on Scientists as the Earth Heated Up. It’s really good – I recommend it. I’m left with the impression that he’s pretty fed up and can’t, or won’t, or doesn’t need to, hold in his frustration anymore. He’s direct and honest, but still polite (he’s British, after all).

He goes through the Hockey Stick War, the case for anthropogenic global warming, and his thoughts on the intimidation of scientists coming from politicians, certain media, and numerous bloggers. Bradley is particularly direct about his thoughts on Joe Barton and James Inhofe, and his book is, notably, dedicated to Republican representative Sherwood Boehlert.

Some of the highlights:

  • He essentially calls John Christy a flat earther: “John is one of a handful of scientists who have become known as ‘climate skeptics’ or ‘contrarians,’ who are often invited to hearing such as this one to provide some sort of ‘balance.’ I wonder if, when the Space Science Committee meets to discuss the latest shuttle mission, they also invite someone from the Flat Earth Society to ensure they are getting both sides of the story.”
  • He introduces the term “lapdog bloggers.” I like it.
  • Regarding attaining an atmospheric level of 350 ppm CO2, Bradley notes that “If we continue to increase CO2 levels to, say, 450 parts per million (a virtual certainty, given that by the beginning of this century we were at 390 ppm) and then suddenly decided to stop all fossil fuel consumption—instantly, overnight—carbon dioxide levels would gradually decline, but they would not drop below about 350 ppm for the next one thousand years! (Emphasis his.) I wonder if the people at are aware of this.
  • He follows this with a point you don’t see often enough: “To put this another way, we can’t just keep ‘testing the waters’—adding more and more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere until things ‘start to go wrong’ with the global climate, and only then put the brakes on. At that point, even completely eliminating fossil fuel use overnight will bring only a very, very slow decline in the atmospheric concentration, and will do little to rectify the immediate climate problem.”
  • I was unaware of this: American scientists who agreed to participate in writing the CCSP report (published in in 2008) were required to be fingerprinted. This report (Climate Change Science Program) was requested by the Bush Administration after they didn’t like the conclusions of the IPCC 3AR or the report by the National Research Council they also didn’t like, as a way to continue stalling action on the problem. (And it worked.) Bradley says that the fingerprinting (which is required of all US government employees) was a way to the scientists temporary government employees so the report would be considered a government document so that any editing or redactions by the Bush Administration would be hidden or justifiable.
  • He notes this from Marc Morano, said on a radio interview on April 22, 2010: “It is so nice to have the light of day and stench of corruption coming from people like Michael Mann and Rajendra Pachauri and Phil Jones and the upper echelon of UN scientists. We should be rejoicing that their entire careers are getting pissed on at the moment and justifiably so.” Later Morano said, “I seriously believe we should kick them while they’re down. They deserve to be publicly flogged.” I believe the day will come where Morano admits that he regrets that.
  • Bradley uses the term “scientific prostitutes” for those scientists who “perform” on the behalf of “energy companies and right-wing foundations” on topics like smoking, acid rain, and global warming.
  • In 2010 the South Dakota House of Representatives
    passed a resolution urging that public schools teach about the "astrology dynamics" that can "effect" [sic] world weather phenomena. Only in America. (An amended version, less comical but no less outrageous, later passed the SD Senate.)

Bradley's book is definitely not the kind you usually see from scientists. That makes it well worth reading.

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