Last week I was on a sunny beach in Maine, walking barefoot over pointy rocks in the water. Today, I’m huddled in my freezing apartment trying to stay warm while rain floods the sidewalks outside. It’s been raining all week, and apparently it’s only getting worse. I’ll blame global warming, because that appears to be the common complaint every time somebody doesn’t like the weather.
The global warming debate has been a heated (I swear that pun was unavoidable) one for a while now as scientists, politicians, and everybody who has noticed a helluva lot of crappy weather try to figure out 1.) if the temperatures are rising at a dramatic clip, 2.) if people are causing it, and 3.) if we should worry about it. For those of us lacking degrees in meteorology, it can be a tough call but an interesting fight to watch. Each side has its well-reasoned points (for a decent overview, see this site), and each side also has its outspoken wackos. One of my faves is Michael Crichton, an author I used to absolutely love when I was eleven and he was putting out stuff like Sphere and Jurassic Park. Then he started with the crap, like Disclosure, Jurassic Park II: The Thinly Veiled Movie Script, and recently the “eco-thriller” State of Fear.
State of Fear rests on a simple and straightforward plot: environmentalists want to fool the world into believing that global warming exists when it really doesn’t, so they plan massive terrorist attacks designed to look like the result of fluctuating temperatures, like causing tsunamis. Don’t scoff — I know an environmentalist who did nearly that same exact thing last year in Thailand.
For a very funny review of State of Fear, check out Chris Mooney’s article for CSICOP in which he describes the book as “porn for global warming deniers.”
And, to hear Crichton talk about global warming to a house full of scientists and skeptics (!), sign up for The Environmental Wars, Skeptic’s conference at Cal Tech coming up in June. Crichton won’t be the only one there — also lecturing will be people on both sides of the issue who actually know what they’re talking about. But, Crichton is very likely to be the most entertaining as he appears to be holding on to some sort of bitter rage against skeptics. Plus, Chris Mooney will be there, and if you’re lucky, they may just get into a slap fight. How great would that be? Crichton is feisty, but I’m betting on Mooney for sheer power of snark.
Sign up now!