Summary of The Madhouse Effect

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Rating

8 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Recommendation

The science is clear: The Earth is growing warmer due to excess CO2, which directly results from carbon-based fuel emissions. Climate change threatens the planet and its inhabitants, but some corporate actors and the politicians they support won’t accept the truth. They hire climate change-denying scientists to sow doubt, confusing the public and giving politicians an excuse to do nothing. Those who deny climate change’s reality despite overwhelming evidence cause what academician Michael E. Mann and cartoonist Tom Toles dub “the madhouse effect.” The barrage of propaganda against established scientific fact divides the public and delays needed policy solutions. Mann’s and Toles’s accurate overview came out before Donald Trump’s administration, which is changing the regulatory landscape in favor of deniers and allowing the release of more pollutants. Toles’s witty cartoons punctuate the chapters with levity on this sober subject. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this report to policy makers, environmentalists, those who want to know more and even climate deniers as an avenue for, perhaps, starting to see the bigger picture.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How climate change affects the Earth’s natural systems,
  • What arguments climate change deniers use to stall action and
  • How deniers who raise doubts in public discourse delay policy changes needed to address the impact of climate change.
 

About the Authors

Michael Mann teaches atmospheric science at Penn State University, where he directs the Earth Systems Science Center. He wrote The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Tom Toles is the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for The Washington Post.

 

Summary

The Science of Climate Change

The process of professional scientific inquiry using checks and balances evolved over centuries. Scientists build their reputations by discovering new things based on reproducible evidence that withstands their peers’ informed, rigorous scrutiny. Overcoming “good faith skepticism” requires evidence. The peer review process offers built-in rigor, including multiple layers of fact checking and questions and answers among science professionals. Still, those who claim skepticism about climate change can confuse the public, because translating highly technical information into public policy leaves room for spin. A contrary opinion is not true skepticism, and neither is blanket denial of fact-based scientific consensus. Interests other than scientific fact motivate this brand of skepticism. Industries under fiscal threat from energy-related regulation have an interest in maintaining the status quo and opposing climate change action. They pay their scientists to challenge what the majority of scientists (95% to 97%) now consider fact: Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, causing rising temperatures. By this mechanism, human enterprise has nearly doubled CO2 from its natural levels. A preponderance of evidence supports these conclusions.


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