NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 17, 2009

Many people will buy "Why We Disagree About Climate Change," the new book by British socialist Mike Hulme, based on the promise that it examines the ideas and motives of both sides in the global warming debate.  But that's not what this book is about, says Joseph Bast, President of the Heartland Institute.

In fact, the real purpose isn't revealed until far into it.  "The idea of climate change," Hulme writes, "should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape.  We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us."

In other words, socialists like Hulme can frame the global warming issue to achieve unrelated goals such as sustainable development, income redistribution, population control, social justice and many other items on the liberal/socialist wish list.  But this notion is jarring for an American reader, says Bast:

  • Opinion polls show two-thirds of us do not believe global warming is manmade.
  • More than 30,000 American scientists have signed a petition saying there is no convincing scientific evidence that human activity will cause catastrophic global warming.
  • The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has produced an 880-page rebuttal of the latest IPCC report containing more than 4,000 references to peer-reviewed science.

The debate taking place about global warming in America is not the one described by Hulme as being between those who favor "cap and trade" and those who favor even more radical changes; it's about how much of the warming of the late 20th century was natural and how much was manmade.

This -- the real public policy debate -- is entirely missing from Hulme's book, says Bast.

Source: Joseph Bast, "Ask Not If the Science of Global Warming is True…" Heartland Institute, September 2009; based upon: Mike Hulme, "Why We Disagree About Climate Change," Cambridge University Press, 2009.


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