“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and Mother Nature has been scorned, misused, ignored, and insulted for the past 250 years. She is one ticked-off lady.
Because ours is a world getting hotter. Consider:
The 1980s was the hottest decade on record.
Until the 1990s surpassed it.
And then the 2000s came along and beat the 1990s.
2010s? Yup, you guessed it. It took the crown.
Now, our present decade of the 2020s is beating them all. By a lot.
It’s undeniable that global warming is occurring and we are responsible for it. And it is not good since global warming is causing rising sea levels, bigger storms, hotter temperatures, flooding, and drought. I could go on. All of which affect our well-being and that of our children and theirs, even more.
Still, we can emerge from global warming, maybe not unscathed, but mostly intact. To do so requires that we understand what global warming is, how we can defeat it, and the bridges that connect the two.
A Crisis Like No Other: Understanding and Defeating Global Warming provides this understanding. It consists of four parts. The first part covers the psychology of global warming denial, how to defend ourselves against it, and how to convince others of global warming’s grave harm. Part II describes what global warming is. The third part answers the question What makes us so sure? Finally, Part IV provides a road map to defeating it.
Part I. We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us—Pogo
Facts and evidence are not always what they seem. The reason? We all have built-in biases and unswerving beliefs that filter and sometimes distort the truth. For example, why is a ref’s whistle a travesty when called against our team but deserved punishment when called against our opponent? It’s simple. We see what we wish to see. So it is with global warming. Part I describes how we filter facts, driven chiefly by our subjective beliefs, which then push some of us to deny global warming despite the overwhelming evidence.
With that understanding in hand, part I goes on to discuss how to convince people to take action on global warming. It is surprisingly straightforward. We convince people of global warming’s harm not by overwhelming them with facts but rather by appealing to what they already believe and understand to be common sense. People will listen if our arguments are crafted to fit their beliefs.
But to convince others of global warming and to understand it ourselves, we must first see through the lies and half-truths that come at us every day. Part I concludes by describing how we are built to fall for lies and how to defend ourselves from it. Uncovering the truth is not difficult if we have the proper tools. Ten easy-to-learn and logical techniques are given, along with examples.
Part II. The What’s and How’s of Global Warming
With part I as our foundation, we can now open our minds to understand what global warming is. Part II starts by describing how greenhouse gases are created from burning fuels and how they skew our planet’s energy balance, leading to rising temperatures. The description is clear, accurate, and easy to understand. But global warming is not just about rising temperatures, as important as that is. It is also causing monster storms, droughts, floods, diseases, political instability, food shortages, mass extinctions, and increased violence––all of which are described in this book, with reasons given for each.
But to prioritize our actions, we need to know the source of the worst greenhouse gas generators. Mostly it’s carbon dioxide (CO2), but methane and some other bit actors play a role as well. The sources include industry, electric generating plants, and transportation. Oh, and cow burps.
Part III. Why We Believe Global Warming Is Real and Significant
Irrefutable evidence proves global warming is real and threatening. It’s the same as when a thermometer placed under your tongue shows you have a fever. There is no denying it. In the same way, with global warming there are myriad measurements, mathematical models, experts from around the world, and much more, all converging onto this one unambiguous truth.
But to believe the evidence, we must also have a sound understanding of how science works, including its triumphs and failures. Science deals exclusively with facts, data, and measurements that either confirm our view of reality or reject it as being untrue. This process is repeated until our understanding of reality matches the evidence and is therefore confirmed. Part III describes more, but evidence is science’s bedrock and North Star.
However, nothing in life can ever be certain, including science. Part III explains the limits of how accurately we can know anything. Two types of uncertainty are explained: (1) that which is due to our limited but growing knowledge and (2) that which will forever be out of our reach since we are incapable of measuring (and therefore truly understanding) some parts of it. Part III goes on to explain how scientific decisions are made despite these uncertainties.
Still not convinced about global warming? Then ask those who have the most to lose. This part concludes by showing the military’s grave concerns about global warming and its effect on their operations and bases. The military never kids around, and their anxiety about global warming should be ours as well. Similarly, the insurance and financial sectors are getting sweaty palms over what could happen to their insured and investments.
Part IV. The Final Verdict
The last part of this book explains how bad the climate crisis is and what we must do to solve it. For instance, there are tipping points lurking out of sight, ready to pounce––ocean acidification, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, thawing permafrost. But one tipping point that often gets overlooked is the ominous danger to our democracy. Global warming could lead to civil strife, creating opportunities for those wishing to sidestep our Constitution to acquire unlawful powers. We must stay alert to these dangers and add them to our incentives for fighting global warming.
Nevertheless, there is a clear path to solving our climate crisis. Three activities must be undertaken. The first is the technologies we need to deploy. The second is the decisions we must make in choosing our leaders and sidestepping the influencers who have fossil energy hidden agendas. And finally, it’s all about us––the personal actions we need to take.
A Crisis Like No Other starts with the psychology of denial, moves to understanding global warming and the science behind it, and wraps up with a road map on what we must do. That’s how we beat global warming.
Mother Nature would approve.
Robert De Saro
Energy Research Company
400 Leland Ave.
Plainfield, NJ 07062