Two wonderfully researched “must” reads for a better understanding of the debate over climate change are Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan (Greystone Books 2009) and The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth by Eric Pooley (Hyperion 2010). Told from different perspectives, these books explain the global debate about climate change and identify the important players on all sides of the issue. James Hoggan sets a provocative tone for his book from his opening metaphor:
We are standing at the edge of a cliff. Behind us is a considerable crowd, 6.7 billion people and counting, and below is a beckoning pool. Some people say that you can jump into that pool without risk. They say that humans have been doing so for ages without any problems. But others say that waves have been eating away at the foot of the cliff, causing big rocks to fall into the water. They say that the risk of jumping grows more frightening by the day. Whom do you trust?
That’s a tricky question because here, on the climate change cliff, some of the lifeguards are just not that qualified, some have forgotten entirely whose interests they are supposed to protect, and some seem quite willing to sacrifice the odd swimmer (or the whole swim team) if they think there is a good profit to be made in the process. That’s what this book is about: lousy lifeguards – people whose lack of training, conflicts of interest, or general disregard have put us all at risk of storming off the cliff like so many apocryphal lemmings.
What is exciting about Eric Pooley and James Hoggan’s work is that they bring the reader up-to-date concerning an ongoing struggle that requires sound scientific thinking and the best leadership that our country can provide. Everyone recognizes that climate change poses an enormous problem for our future, but there has been to date a disturbing lack of political willpower to address it.