ENVIRO-MYTHS VS. REALITY
December 15, 2004
Michael Crichton's new book, "State of Fear," centers on a group of fictional environmentalists who propagate exaggerated claims about the effects of global warming.
The book mirrors the claims of real-life environmental activists, says Ronald Bailey, Reason magazine's science correspondent, who reviews "State of Fear" for the Wall Street Journal. Crichton, however, dispelled such myths, and many others, in a speech at the Commonwealth Club last year, says Bailey. According to Crichton:
- Greenland's ice cap will not likely melt anytime soon given that average temperatures in the area have declined by about 2.2 degrees Celsius since 1987.
- As for temperatures in most of Antarctica, they have been falling for nearly 50 years, and ice there has been accumulating rather than melting.
- The World Conservation Union estimates that since 1600, only 258 animal species, 368 insect species, and 384 vascular plant species have become extinct -- a far cry from the thousands annually estimated by eco-activists.
- Furthermore, the ban on the pesticide DDT, a move often praised by environmentalists, is estimated to be responsible for about 50 million unnecessary deaths from malaria worldwide.
Crichton's novel features global warming as a key issue, but real evidence suggests that by the end of this century, the planet may warm to 0.8 degrees Celsius, which is hardly a cause for alarm. Yet the environmental lobby spends about $1.95 billion per year to influence Washington, says Bailey.
Besides entertainment, "State of Fear" provides informative truths amid the scaremongering that dominates environmental issues, says Bailey.
Source: Ronald Bailey, "A Chilling Tale," Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2004; and Michael Crichton, "State of Fear," HarperCollins, December 7, 2004.
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