(p. C9) . . . science itself is not conducted by polls, regardless of how often we are urged to heed a “scientific consensus” on climate. As the science-trained novelist Michael Crichton summarized in a famous 2003 lecture at Caltech: “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” Mr. Koonin says much the same in “Unsettled.”
. . .
As for “denying,” Mr. Koonin makes it clear, on the book’s first page, that “it’s true that the globe is warming, and that humans are exerting a warming influence upon it.”
The heart of the science debate, however, isn’t about whether the globe is warmer or whether humanity contributed. The important questions are about the magnitude of civilization’s contribution and the speed of changes; and, derivatively, about the urgency and scale of governmental response. Mr. Koonin thinks most readers will be surprised at what the data show. I dare say they will.
As Mr Koonin illustrates, tornado frequency and severity are also not trending up; nor are the number and severity of droughts. The extent of global fires has been trending significantly downward. The rate of sea-level rise has not accelerated. Global crop yields are rising, not falling. And while global atmospheric CO2 levels are obviously higher now than two centuries ago, they’re not at any record planetary high—they’re at a low that has only been seen once before in the past 500 million years.
. . .
Mr. Koonin’s science credentials are impeccable—unlike, say, those of one well-known Swedish teenager to whom the media affords great attention on climate matters. He has been a professor of physics at Caltech and served as the top scientist in Barack Obama’s Energy Department. The book is copiously referenced and relies on widely accepted government documents.
. . .
Never have so many spent so much public money on the basis of claims that are so unsettled.
For the full review, see:
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date April 25, 2021, and has the title “‘Unsettled’ Review: The ‘Consensus’ On Climate.”)
The book under review is:
Koonin, Steven E. Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, 2021.