Below is a blog that originally appeared on wset.com in 2011.
I follow the anthropogenic climate change issue closely, although I don’t talk about it too much in the blogosphere.
However, about a year ago, I became aware of the work of Roger Pielke Jr. He is a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado. He is one of the few atmospheric scientists I have ever heard of who also has real Washington experience in science policy. He has a tremendous blog on the “climate wars”.
Shortly after I discovered his blog, he published a book entitled, The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming. At first glance, I figured it was another one of those books that either told you the whole blessed science was a hoax, or that we would all die by the year 2050.
It is neither. Not even close. After a recommendation from a well respected colleague, I picked it up.
Despite its title, I suspect Pielke is not telling us how to fix the problem. He is wise enough to understand there is still much uncertainty about this topic and there are no easy solutions. My guess is that he is referring to the fix that we are in right now, regarding the state of the science, and the political climate in which the science is conducted.
He does a superb job illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of the science, and he is very honest and forthright about how politics plays into this topic. It is one of the most refreshing and honest books I have read about anthropogenic climate change.
There is plenty in this book that will anger those individuals who inhabit the poles of this topic. And that is probably why I like it so much. No one has all the answers. Pielke makes this abundantly clear.
In a television world full of spin, I was almost giddy to see his levelheaded conclusions. The science is sound, but like most sciences, it needs refining. Many politicians and some scientists are abusing the science to advance their causes. Big energy innovations are needed. Geoengineering is a really bad idea. Best new term you will learn in this book: Iron Law of Climate Policy.
Everyone has to find his/her own way on this topic, but there is a lot of noise out there. Hot blogs and cable news only contribute to the noise. Pielke’s book provides real signal that rises above the cacophony.
I generally don’t recommend books, but this is one that every meteorologist who speaks publicly on the issue should be familiar with. Very few people are qualified to write this book, but Pielke is one of them.