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John Marburger, Vice President for Research, Stony Brook University and former Science Advisor to President George W. Bush
“Roger Pielke, Jr.’s voice in the global warming debate is one of rare common sense. While many authors link anthropogenic climate change with energy technology, Pielke, Jr. goes farther and emphasizes the role of development economics and deep seated social behaviors that cannot easily be addressed. You may not agree with his ‘oblique, pragmatic’ proposal for ‘accelerating decarbonization’ of society, but you will be hard-pressed to find a better analysis of the thorniest aspects of the climate challenge.”
Neal Lane, Malcolm Gillis University Professor and Senior Fellow in Science and Technology at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University; former Science Advisor to President William J. Clinton
"The present climate policy stalemate cries out for a new approach in dealing with a challenge that is unprecedented in scope and complexity. This book offers scientists, policy makers and the general public a critical perspective and thoughtful suggestions for a way forward. It should be read by anyone who cares about the future of the planet and its people.”
D. James Baker, William J. Clinton Foundation and former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
“Pielke’s thoughtful analysis of how climate science has interacted with policy - often not productively - provides new and engaging insights. Moreover, his conclusion about the importance of decarbonization and disaggregating climate policy gives the climate debate a new dimension. By weaving his personal story into the development of these issues, he presents a compelling narrative that deserves a wide readership.”
Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT
“Roger Pielke, Jr., cuts through passions and politics to propose a clear and sober way forward in addressing one of the critical issues of our time.”
“A bright and provocative book…the arguments for an energy-innovation approach to climate change seem currently to be gaining ground… For those who want to understand them, this [book] is a very good place to start.”
“This year’s must-read global warming book.”
“Pielke’s proposals look increasingly likely to garner some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. …The Climate Fix is a clear-eyed analysis of how climate science became politicized and of the magnitude of the technological and economic issues that addressing the uncertainties of any future warming will entail.”
“This year’s must-read global-warming book [is] The Climate Fix.”
1 Dinner Table Climate Science for Commonsense Climate Policy 1
2 What We Know for Sure, but Just Ain't So 35
3 Decarbonization of the Global Economy 61
4 Decarbonization Policies Around the World 81
5 Technological Fixes and Backstops 117
6 How Climate Policy Went Off Course and the First Steps Back in the Right Direction 143
7 Disasters, Death, and Destruction 161
8 The Politicization of Climate Science 191
9 Obliquity, Innovation, and a Pragmatic Future for Climate Policy 217
Posted October 13, 2011
A better subtitle for this book might have been "How Climate Scientists Can't Keep Their Mouths Shut." very little evidence in this text on climate change policy for any kind of "cover up" within the climate change science community.
The basic theme of The Climate Fix is that climate change policy actions should avoid the issue of a cause of that change and focus on global adaptation to change. Along the way, Pilke claims, such a policy would automatically lead to some decarbonization (doing fine on its own without government interference) of the world economy thereby mitigating some of the buildup in greenhouse gases. What greenhouse gases remain in the future, the world can deal with by sequestration technologies.
Pielke does a decent job of dealing with a number of climate change topics on the boundary between science and policy that are not necessarily treated in detail in other books:
. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are not the only potential forcing agent in climate change. Dealing with them alone while excluding other human factors in climate change may leave the world no better or even worse off.
. There is plenty enough political will when it comes to addressing climate change.
. Waiting around for certainty in climate change science theory is pointless and unnecessary - major global political actions have been taken for other global challenges without even as much support as climate change has garnered.
. The "iron law" of climate change - economics trump environment every time - dictates that any action taken to address climate change will fail unless it improves the global economy. A corollary to that claim is that economic progress is inexorably linked to increased energy use - any attempt to address climate change must go hand in hand with the improved and innovative technologies of non-fossil-fuel energy production.
The author devotes two chapters to quantitatively debunking plans for achieving national CO2 emission goals, cap and trade (he favors a carbon tax) and geo-engineering. However, when his analysis turns to GHG technology fixes, he gives short shrift to all but CO2-absorption technologies, while failing to provide any quantitative reasons why. In a similar vein, Pielke overstates his claim that ambiguity surrounding the very definition of climate change (GHG-induced vs anything) is the primary cause of the stalemate over international agreements on climate-change policy.
The Climate Fix reserves it most stringent (and often uncomfortably personal) barbs for what is claimed to be the IPCC's malfeasance with respect to the a climate-change-extreme-weather link. This tempest in a teapot ignores the IPCC's hedging on this issue - the theoretical/modeling foundation for expecting such a trend is sound, the hard data remain a bit fuzzy yet some signals seem to be emerging.
Pielke calls for what would be essentially a "Hail Mary" offence on climate change ignoring the claimed bias against adaptation in the current climate-change community and advocating economic development centered on innovative, carbon-free or -neutral innovation. Again, however, he fails to apply the same quantitative analyses to these adaptive strategies (in fact, he doesn't even define what they might be) that was applied to, for example, geo-engineering.
Richard R. Pardi, Environmental Science, William Paterson University
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