Monday, February 24, 2020

Reviewing John Cook’s "Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change"

I was surprised to receive an email from John Cook the creator and driving force behind inviting me to review his new book “Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change.”  Having received the challenge, I couldn’t refuse.  An easy to read graphic book that at 164 pages frames important climate science and communication lessons within cartoons, artwork and concise sentences.

It reads to me as a light hearted, inoffensive, easy to comprehend look into the conundrum of conveying climate science facts to folks in a world that’s swimming in disinformation.

John Cook doesn’t shout or agitate instead preferring to explain the well understood science, while offering only fleeting glimpses into the past decades of full blown malicious dirty tricks that the contrarian campaigns against climate science understanding are guilty of.

The Cranky Uncle’s opening chapter is “How did Climate Change get so Controversial?” tells the story of a few corporate funded (Republican) political operatives who were able to completely distort how climate science was presented to the public.  

{Namely, out with constructive learning, and in with self-serving deception and propaganda based on fabricating unrealistic contrived doubt about the seriousness of climate science.  Denying physical reality for personal gain.  Creating “doubt” built on lies, conjecture, and slander was their product.  But I digress.}

The next chapter in "Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change" is “Denying Reality” where we learn about the trends being witnessed by global observations.  The chapter brings home the unavoidable reality of manmade global warming driven climate changes with a succinct examination of 10 favorite denier claims that explains what makes them lies, - but being polite enough not to call them lies, the way I do.  

The third chapter, “Denying Responsibility” begins with a statement that we and our society are indeed causing current global warming.  That statement is followed up with a Whodunnit that tracks down and follows the various scientific lines of evidence that lead inescapable to one conclusion.  

Further supporting background is offered through a brief review of scientific milestones in understanding our climate engine, along with visiting another 11 favorite contrarian talking points and why they are false.

Then comes, “Denying Consequences” which reviews yet another 10 contrarian propaganda hit jobs, (excuse me, “myths”) against the background of cascading consequences that result from radically increasing our planet’s Atmospheric Insulation medium.

“Denying the Science” tippy-toes around the malicious campaigns of expertly crafted and broadcast deceptions and the ruthless fraud that has stifled politicians and public understanding.  

Still it offers a valuable enough recounting of some historic highlights along this path of calculated mass deception we’ve been on.   Another 11 contrarian “myths” are exposed for the cheap shots that they are.  

{I should be clear, Dr. Cook goes no further than using the “denial’ word.  Peaceful mediation is what he’s all about - I’m the one who insists on a little militancy for truth and honesty and I will call the Republican campaigns of deliberate deception what they are, nothing less than calculated malicious fraud that add up to treason against our children and their future, along with our planet’s biosphere as a whole. 

You can be sure our children will know the truth, for they will be condemned to live out the cascading consequences of ignoring what all educated people knew as far back as 1960, by the 1970s at the latest.  

We have all had the information at hand about this Grand Geophysical Experiment* we are conducting (*As Gilbert Plass put it in the late 1950s when I was a baby.).  Ignoring it has been our personal choice.}

Back to today and John Cook’s “Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change,” it’s a gentle book, it reiterates what we’ve known for a long time and adds a few new insights.  It’s value is in being an organized compilation of arguments and evidence along with a simple over-arching narrative.

If you’re looking for a simple overview of the climate debate, you can’t go wrong with “Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change.”  An excellent addition to any high school, public, or general college library, and of course your own desk since it does make a quick reference guide to help you organize and recall the varied aspects that come into play once you really start thinking about how our global heat and moisture distribution engine operates and impacts our lives everyday.  Perhaps it can help you convey that important understanding to others.
(click on the image for clearer reading)

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