Ray Bradley did what every young scientist dreams of: made a major technical contribution to science that really mattered to the world. With colleagues Michael Mann and Malcolm Hughes, Bradley built the 'hockey stick,' the statistical analysis that showed that recent warming is outside the range of historic natural variability His reward for this was not the National Medal of Science, but harassment by members of the United States Congress. Bradley writes that he remains optimistic that a solution to global warming can be found, but given the story he tells in this book, it's hard to see why.
Global Warming and Political Intimidation: How Politicians Cracked Down on Scientists as the Earth Heated Upby Raymond S. Bradley
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Global warming is the number one environmental issue of our time, yet some prominent politicians have refused to accept scientific evidence of human responsibility and have opposed any legislation or international agreement that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. A few have gone even further and have tried to destroy the reputations of scientists researching climate change by deliberately undermining the credibility of their research. These politicians have sought to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the public and to weaken public and political support for the control of fossil fuel use. one scientist who was unwittingly ensnared in a web of political intimidation. In this powerful book, highly respected climate scientist Raymond Bradley provides the inside story from the front lines of the debate. In clear and direct language, he describes the tactics those in power have used to intimidate him and his colleagues part of a larger pattern of governmental suppression of scientific information, politics at the expense of empirically based discourse. Speaking from his experience, Bradley exposes the fault lines in the global warming debate, while providing a concise primer on climate change. The result is a cautionary tale of how politics and science can become fatally intertwined.
Ray Bradley is one of the scientific heroes of the fight to slow global warming -- and so, like many other researchers, he's taken endless lumps from the industry-funded pols trying desperately to delay action. His story is both fascinating and cautionary -- about not just our planetary climate, but our political one as well.
Bradley's book describes how scientists who attempt to understand global climate dynamics have been intimidated and harassed by the denial machine. Bradley is one of the authors of the famous 'hockey stick,' a graph in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that clearly shows the sudden uptick in global average temperatures beginning in the twentieth century. Because the graph is so clear and dramatic, it has been the subject of sustained and arcane attacks by the climate denial machine. Bradley's book provides an enlightening look at this controversy, which turned obscure technical details like principal component analysis and archived Gaspé tree ring data into the stuff of high drama.
Bradley details the chilling effect [political] investigations have had on the conduct of science and how politicians have become nonexpert reviewers of science.
[Raymond Bradley] tells the inside story of what he says it was like to be the target of intimidation in the last decade by powerful figures in politics and government who tried hard to suppress scientific findings on global warming in favor of their own political message.
Bradley's book is a valuable insight into the harrying that many climate scientists have had to endure over the past two decades. It lets us see what it is like to be on the receiving end of political intimidation and ranting deniers in the media and blogosphere...Bradley uses the word malevolent only once, and evil not at all, but both words came to my mind frequently.
Along with his sharp words for his climate detractors, Bradley also voices his sharp ideas and bright hopes that society still might 'at least try to find a path that limits the worst case scenarios.'
In about 360 pages, Bradley has written an essential guide to the issues and problems faced due to global warming in the United States and the world, issues that already have affected every person on earth.... This book is not directly a call to arms; however, any reader interested in the now unstoppable effects of global warming may be inspired to take some action beyond merely reading about it.
Bradley's book describes the shock of being yanked out of the scholarly realm and into the arena of partisan politics.
Bradley's book offers candid detail about subjective factors in scientific publications as well as congressional hearings. Recommended.
Tactics used by those in power to suppress scientific information make for pointed chapters that both expose the global worming issues and the underlying politics affecting information development.
Government officials used the political system to tie-up Bradley's research for several years and to belittle the consequences of global warming, dangers, the author carefully describes.
Bradley's argument also reaches beyond global warming, addressing fundamental concerns about scientific integrity and academic freedom. Can this ill-conceived politicization of science lead us to a strengthening of safeguards -- especially in the face of declining tenure rates and the associated loss of academic freedom protections? Will colleges and universities continue to uphold their commitment to support scholars who challenge powerful interests? Bradley's news on this front is encouraging.
Climatologist Raymond Bradley has come out fighting in his new short book Global Warming and Political Intimidation. It's a lively albeit sobering narrative which recounts his and others' experience of harassment, character assassination and unfounded accusation from the politicians who serve fossil fuel interests in the US Congress.... Bradley's book is a valuable insight into the harrying that many climate scientists have had to endure over the past two decades.
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At a time when scientists need to become better advocates for the integrity of science itself, it is heartening to read this clear-headed and compelling account from Raymond Bradley. Anyone interested in the politics and science of global warming should read this book.
Meet the Author
Raymond S. Bradley is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences and director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is author of Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, described by Quaternary Science Reviews as “an indispensable work of reference for scientists and students alike.”
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In 1998 Mike Mann, Ray Bradley & Malcolm Hughes published a research paper in the journal Nature in which they presented a reconstruction of global temperatures over the past 600 years. That work was followed a year later by another in Geophysical Research Letters in which they extended the temperature record to the past millennium. Both papers included graphs of temperature vs. time which reflected a very marked increase in global temperature over the past few decades, a temperature maximum well above that of the entire analyzed record and a trend that was decidedly upward. Those graphs of temperature vs. time henceforth came to be known as the "hockey stick" and were incorporated, along with many others, into the Third Assessment Report (2001) of the Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change. This simple, iconic graph quickly became the lightning rod which attracted the fulsome wrath of the community of climate-change deniers. The authors were dragged before congressional committees and subjected to all manner of threats and intimidation. While these attacks had no effect upon the convictions of climate scientists they did succeed in quashing public debate on climate change right up to the present day. This earlier book, Global Warming and Political Intimidation by the second author, Ray Bradley, of those original two "hockey stick" papers was soon followed in 2012 by one by the first author, Mike Mann, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Bradley's account of political action is a bit edgier and partisan than that of Mann and not anywhere near as complete or authoritative. One of the few events covered by Bradley that does not appear in Mann's work is the rather humorous account of plagiarism on the part of a congressional witness brought in by the climate-change opposition in an absurd attempt to discredit the "hockey stick". Like most books on the subject written by distinguished and serious scientists in the field, Global Warming fails to come to grips with the underlying fundamentals of the current American anti-science fad. Sure, the fossil-fuel industry had in the past and continues to bankroll the denial community. But even Exxon-Mobil is shrinking back from their contrarian positions. Yet, the denialists remain in control of the climate-change (non)-debate. There's a deeper story here that has not yet been adequately examined. The author's almost-exclusive and frequent use of lower-case earth instead of Earth when referring to the planet detracts from the impact of many of the points made. Brief notes, a very brief bibliography, a few illustrations and an index complete this little book. Richard R. Pardi Environmental Science William Paterson University