I just received my copy of the paperback edition of cartoonist John Spooner's and geologist Bob Carter's new book, Taxing Air. The Kindle edition may be bought from amazon.com here (icon on the left side); go to TaxingAir.COM for the book's web page and options to buy it for $30.
The book immediately impressed me by the colorful illustrations on pretty much every page. They're playful, witty, full of colors and life, and they also quickly convey some key ideas.
Perhaps because it seems easier to read a 280-page book whose significant portion is filled with similar pictures, I couldn't resist and immediately started to read the book. Let me say in advance that about one-half of the pictures are jokes, often with alarmists' and (mostly Australian) politicians' faces; the other half are graphs and diagrams that explain serious scientific concepts and the cold hard data.
Now some facts. The book wasn't written "just" by Carter and Spooner. There are four other co-authors, economist Martin Feil and three others, who are co-responsible for the full content of the book. The authorship of individual sections isn't specifically mentioned but the preface explains what the other co-authors may have contributed.
At the very beginning, there is a page "Did you know that?" with some trivia that everyone should know – not only in Australia – except that it's normal for many people who are loud in the climate change debate to be ignorant about these basics of the interdisciplinary discipline.
Some pages with a praise follow, and so does the table of contents. The preface by the authors occupies two pages.
The first substantial chapter-like passage is the Introduction – answering the question how a cartoonist got his idea. We're told that Spooner would also believe various things we used to be told. But a turning point was Martin Durkin's The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary six years ago. Spooner understood that the hysterical reaction by the alarmists – that played a key role in the introduction of words such as "deniers" to the debate – had to have a reason. Spooner understood that the scientific consensus was being referred to by the activists exactly because the actual scientific evidence didn't work and doesn't work for them. He spends some time by analyzing how bad it is to use labels and libels such as "deniers", analyzes ClimateGate, and other important events, with some special emphasis on what it meant for the material inspiring a cartoonist such as Spooner.
After this point, you may be looking forward to 12 nicely written chapters about (the wording below is mine):
- Basics of the weather and the climate (changes at all possible time scales, what drives them, who studies and understands them etc.)
- Inner structure of the alarmist movement (sky-is-falling quotes since the 19th century, history of the IPCC, movies, tricks and abuse of language and science by the advocates etc., is consensus science and does it exist, what scientists agree about)
- Historical weather and climate data (methods to reconstruct the past, proxies, and drivers of variation – Milankovitch cycles, ocean cycles, and others; temperature trends, cyclone energy non-trends, and so on)
- The greenhouse effect (the energy budget, lots of flows, greenhouse gases also cool, decelerating log dependence on concentration, misinterpretations in the media, temperature changes before CO2 on seasonal through geological timescales, estimates of sensitivity, six falsifications of the dominant-CO2 hypothesis, recent relative CO2 starvation, methane ozone as small players)
- Computer models (brief history, what they're based upon, deterministic vs empirical-statistical, haven't been validated against independent datasets so projections aren't real predictions, systematically overestimated warming rates, some graphs of GCMs and better and milder Scafetta's model, predicted human fingerprints aren't unique and are often absent in the measured data)
- Ocean's role in the climate (details on sea level rise measurements, global just for 20 years, no worrying trends, local vs global level, local is important for coastal planning, level affected by geoid, tectonics, sediments, ancient Roman port is 2 miles inland today, big capacity of oceans, exchange with the atmosphere matters, currents that survive, El Niño starts by less mixing in surface ocean, acidification won't occur – oceans won't ever be acidic)
- Other climate drivers (geothermal fluxes negligible, 10,000 times below Sun, except for near volcanoes, volcano ashes' temporary effect, a nice summary of Svensmark cosmic rays, Soon and others solar influences, why the small irradiance variations don't exclude the concept; ocean cycles from ENSO, Indian Ocean Dipole, and Pacific Decadal Oscillation, with maps, diagrams, and discussion of impact on weather, global and Australian)
- Specific climate questions in Australia (the continent's extreme temperature, changing climate with continental drift, why Australia is drier than others, cyclones in Northern Australia went down, no disturbing trend in water storage and flows in the Murray-Darling basin, in number or strength of floods, in temperatures; good water management requires a good understanding of the natural conditions before people got in charge, Great Barrier Reef is doing fine, something got better, something worse, everything consistent with multidecadal oscillations, global warming would probably bring a decrease of the dangerous weather events via Lindzen's argument)
- Economics of carbon dioxide taxation (a definition of economics, interactions between politics, economics, science; carbon tax is useless and inefficient, convoluted, hard-to-define, unsustainable, creating inconsistencies and special interests; carbon trading adds gaming, corruption, and big price swings; no benefits; Australians will pay up to $100 billion before 2020 and already now $1,000 per person and year; Australia is not following but leading the world in this insanity)
- Influence of such policies on the climate (percentage of CO2 emissions from Australia ambiguous and hard to quantify due to errors and different schemes what to count, cooling for those hundreds of billions between microkelvins and 0.015 deg C, the latter if Australia stops carbon in its economy completely, it will be hard to repeal the tax because it has grown through the economy as a tumor, but it's still cheaper and more ethical to do so)
- What alternative energy doesn't do ("dirty energy" is an emotional label because electrons are clean; coal and nuclear energy are cheap and OK for environment; wind, solar, biofuel, tidal etc. energy are expensive, killing birds, need backup power plants to beat interruption, backup plants burn less efficiently than full-fledged plant, detailed numbers on costs, prices, output, what form of energy they use etc.; fortunately, Australia and NZ won't need nuclear so their irrational anti-nuclear sentiment won't hurt)
- Risk management in general (instead of feel-good campaigns, precautionary principle, and other emotional manipulative things, nations need evidence-based, scientific cost-benefit analysis; it's right to be prepared for real natural hazards that have mostly nothing to do with CO2; in Australia, it's almost only climatic ones such as drought, bushfires, floods – no earthquakes and volcanoes in the middle of a plate; coming cooling is also possible, due to the silent Sun etc., and would be worse than warming; how you can help: get educated about the real facts, inform folks around you)
I haven't read the whole book yet but what I have already read is enough to recommend you the book wholeheartedly. See a review in the Australian [free copy] to see another man's reasons to love the book. This blog entry may be updated later.