Review of new skeptical book: Bob Carter, John Spooner: Taxing Air

Bob Carter, John Spooner: Taxing Air

Previous related article: Bob Carter’s job not renewed

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 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
Inner structure of the alarmist move
Historical weather and climate data
The greenhouse effect
Computer models
Ocean’s role in the climate
Other climate drivers
Specific climate questions in Australia
Economics of carbon dioxide taxation
Influence of such policies on the climate
What alternative energy doesn’t do
Risk management in general
At the end, you find a glossary, acronyms, index, and – for you not to be distracted in the bulk of the text – the list of figures and their sources, recommended literature, and the information about the authors.

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.