If only Global Warming clearly meant what it spells out, we could at least agree to disagree about the same issue. If it still meant, as it did initially, the slow and steady warming of the globe as a direct result of man’s interference with nature, perhaps we could be legitimately concerned, albeit a tad bit warmer in winters. With the advent of even colder winters in recent years, that theory was not going to hold water, therefore nowadays Global Warming conveniently refers to extreme patterns of any weather whatsoever. Limitations to fears of strictly warmer climate was, for obvious reasons, too simplistic. This theory, and note that it is no more than a simple theory, completely ignores the fact that these minuscule, microscopic variations in weather are perfectly normal patterns from Mother Nature if observed over sufficiently long periods of time.
Therefore, I conclude that there is nothing unnatural, much less alarming, about our weather patterns and everything unnatural about the fabrication of Global Warming phenomena and the intention by politicized science and media to cause mass panic to justify a lousy agenda for reasons that would least benefit our planet.
It is quite possible for those who are skeptical of Global Warming to be called upon as those who do not care about the environment – how that non-existent relationship is drawn fascinates me. Nonetheless, it would still be wise to explicitly state the obvious: Global Warming has absolutely nothing to do with being mindful of taking care of our planet, eliminating waste, keeping our environment clean, using natural sources of energy when and if possible, and preserving our beautiful forests, lakes, waterfalls, parks, wildlife, cities and way of living. The two are distinct and often intentionally mixed so as one can serve as the purpose of the other.
How does not believing in a popular belief that is yet to be scientifically proven, except for projections which are not a proof but a simulation of computers into a future with no historical reference, make you a wasteful careless society rat who is out to destroy the planet? It may certainly be that many who do not believe in the theory may not care about the earth either, and that would be what we call just a coincidence. Care about the planet, I do deeply. As for Global Warming, I am with Crichton on this one.
Michael Crichton produced quite possibly his most controversial writing in “State of Fear“. He provokes even the most passive reader into taking a position with the premise of Global Warning which is presented in the book as the core agenda of politicized science and a sensationalist media that appeals to all but your rationale. While he has a fairly entertaining thriller encapsulating the main theme, a large portion of his statistics and data are factual and accurate, taken directly from sources below:
- Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
- Climate Research Unit (UK)
- Carbon Dioxide Information & Analysis Center (CDIAC)
There is massive confusion on fictional and factual parts of the book. Crichton clearly opens his novel by a clear disclaimer: “This is a work of fiction…….However, references to real people, institutions, and organizations that are documented in the footnotes are accurate. Footnotes are real.”
“State of Fear” is a chilling novel about eco-terrorism and politicized science. The plot is thrilling, exciting, heavy – it may be slow yet steady in initially engaging the reader. The information overload as Crichton builds reader’s knowledge and sufficient background is the heavy and dry reading that sets the stage:
Are carbon dioxide levels rising, and if so, by how much?
Has the temperature really been increasing significantly in the last hundreds of years in major places on earth?
Are our icebergs melting or is that a prediction into hundreds of years out?
Some read the book for the thriller plot, and some for the information; for me, I crave Crichton’s writing, and the selections in the Las Vegas bookstore were small! The plot engaged me at first, with information and data piquing my curiosity further. The characters are less developed than I would have liked; they are more participants than drivers of this story; the plot is the central focus.
Kenner, the James-Bond-like hero, calm, collected, knowledgeable and fearless, is the main protagonist. Along with his silent, equally smart assistant, Sanjong, the duo makes for interesting dialogues with the lesser informed crowd. The test of how much Peter Evans, the lawyer and a believer of Global Warming, really knows versus how much he has been fed as “facts” articulates one of Crichton’s key points: People believe what they have been fed via media, and that becomes what they know as fact, as the truth. When Ted argues with Kenner that a lot of people believe in Global Warming, his response is pungently true: “Yes indeed, lots of people think so. But scientific studies do not bear them out. That’s why we do science, Ted, to see if our opinions can be verified in the real world, or whether we are just having fantasies.”
The plot unfolds in excruciating detail, and puts to test my vocabulary in context of scientific and political jargon. Yet I did not put the book down because I know Crichton to be well worth my while. The slow journey to rewarding passages and sweet spots is Crichton’s way of proving himself as the accomplished writer that he is, because rewarding you shall find him even through the thick scientific dialogues and the highly complex discussions of meteorology and climatology.
Perhaps it may make sense to read Appendix I: “Why Politicized Science is so dangerous”, before reading the book. If there is one section that you have time for, it should be this. This is why Crichton takes such a stance on the matter, and I have chosen not to comment on the Appendix even as I found it to be the most enlightening closing to a great book.
Reading is the best pastime for an active mind! If you like to see the other book reviews, check the index of In Print.
Along the same lines, Crichton leaves us with an Author’s Message. Here he shares from his findings that there is a natural earth warming trend that has happened since 1850, but it is not extreme, and absolutely no one knows whether it is man made or not. Those who blame it on mankind have an agenda, irrelevant to real science or for that matter to our environment; they have simply ulterior motives and Global Warming serves as the best avenue to pursue that agenda these days. He said it best: “I suspect the people of 2100 will be much richer than we are, consume more energy, have a smaller global population, and enjoy more wilderness than we have today. I don’t think we have to worry about them”
On pg. 465, he reminds us of the astronomically insufficient human knowledge of our own beloved Mother Nature. We cannot begin to estimate the number of species in this world in the first place, and therefore, it being impossible to accurately estimate any fair extinction rate. “How would you know how badly you were robbed if you don’t know how much money you had in the first place”
On pg. 466, he writes on Kilimanjaro melting. “….Actually, Kilimanjaro has been rapidly melting since the 1800s – long before global warming….Because of deforestation, Ted. The rain forest at the base of the mountain has been cut down, so the air blowing upward is no longer moist….”. How important it is to truly understand the cause-and-effect so that we do not accidentally or intentionally, blame one effect for one cause and create mythical relationships that have no merit. It just so happens that Crichton is particularly up on his knowledge of Kilimanjaro. In his fabulous biography “Travels“, he visits and climbs to Kilimanjaro summit at a time when it was still in the condition to do so.
Humor is an ever present element in all of Crichton’s work and one such treat in State of Fear is on pg. 525, on the effect of Kyoto Treaty to reduce warming by 0.04 degrees Celsius in the year 2100. Four hundredths of a degree by the time most of us are in our graves!
“Her intentions are good” Sarah says of the wealthy woman who supports fund raisers for Global Warming. “And her information is bad”, Kenner said. “A prescription for disaster….Caring is irrelevant. Desire to do good is irrelevant. All that counts is knowledge and results.” Perhaps once we have the facts, we can be clear on what to care about. Perhaps asking for knowledge and supporting facts rather than blindly following any well-intentioned effort to “save” the planet would do more for our beloved planet.