Collection Spotlight: “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism” by Christopher C. Horner

Reviewed by Sam Reese, Circulation Graduate Assistant

Unless you’ve been living in an area that doesn’t get very good TV reception, you know that former Vice-President Al Gore recently won a Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless efforts to save the earth from its selfish inhabitants, i.e. humans. For a small fee he will jet over and explain why you should wholeheartedly embrace his ideas and feel “profound joy and gratitude that we are the generation about which 1000 years from now orchestras and poets and singers will celebrate by saying: they were the ones that found within themselves to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future.”1

According to Gore, global warming is not only a scientific fact, but that there is also a consensus in the scientific community that it is entirely the fault of…well, you guessed it.

Book coverBut is Al Gore right? Are we the cause of a warming planet? Will this warmer planet lead to catastrophic events, such as hurricanes the likes of which will make Katrina look like a fun day at the water park? Is there even a scientific consensus? Not according to Christopher C. Horner, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and expert on global warming legislation and regulation, as well as the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. In this book, Horner takes to task Al Gore’s view of the world, bringing common sense and rational discourse to a field which thrives on sensationalism and predictions of imminent doom (On May 18, 2008, Prince Charles issued a warning that the world has but eighteen months left to stop imminent climate change disaster). For instance, Horner shows that there is sufficient reason to doubt the supposed “alarming rise in temperature” of the Earth’s surface from the 1980’s through the early 2000’s. His primary argument is that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, many weather stations in Siberia did not report temperature readings during the 1990s, thus skewing world temperature averages.

Horner does not deny that the Earth is warming up, but he does question how rapidly it is warming, how much human beings have contributed to this rise, and if warming is really a bad thing. After all, according to Horner there have been previous periods when the Earth was warmer during which the world as a whole became more prosperous. Horner also argues that the idea that carbon is a bad thing is ridiculous. If carbon is a major building block of life, and if trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, does it not follow that carbon is an important part of the circle of life on earth? These questions and more are answered by Horner in this book.

Is Horner right? Well, you’ll have to read him and do some research to determine that for yourself. But, it is nice to read another perspective on the so-called threat of global warming. After all, every good scholar knows that there are at least two sides to any issue, and it is only when one is armed with the viewpoints of each side that a rational decision can be made. Otherwise, we are left with sensationalism that gets rewarded with prestige. And that, above everything else, should be an abomination to all who consider themselves rational, thinking beings.

1. Speech to TED Conference (March 2008).

Sam Reese is a graduate assistant at the Library circulation desk. He is currently writing his master’s thesis in the School of Divinity. When not working, Mr. Reese practices holding his breath to reduce his carbon footprint.

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