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Upcoming book: Climate Change Denial by Haydn Washington and John Cook

Posted on 4 April 2011 by John Cook

Climate Change Denial by Haydn Washington and John Cook
View a PDF of the front & back cover,
reviews & table of contents
In late 2009, I was approached by environmental scientist Haydn Washington who suggested collaborating on a book 'Climate Change Denial'. Haydn was interested in writing an in-depth examination of the social science behind denial - in particular, denial about climate change.

There are various types of climate denial. There's literal denial, where skeptics deny the evidence for man-made global warming. This is most obvious in the denial industry, often funded by fossil fuel companies that seek to confuse the public. But there's also denial within governments, who pretend they are taking action. And there's denial within most of us. We let denial prosper and we resist the science and delude ourselves. Our book looks at all of these, examines the climate science in brief, summarises the types of denial arguments, and considers how we can roll back denial.

'Climate Change Denial' is being published by UK based Earthscan. The book is due to be released on April 28 but can be pre-ordered now for a 20% discount. Follow the instructions below to order from NewSouth Books (for Australian readers) or Earthscan (for the rest of the world):

To order 'Climate Change Denial' with a 20% discount:

Australia - AUD$34.95 Rest of the World - £14.99, USD$24.95
Follow this special link to obtain a 20% discount at NewSouth Books

To order by phone, fax or mail, download this PDF
Go to the Earthscan website and enter the discount code AF20 in the voucher box to obtain a 20% discount.

Note: if you're from the USA, the Earthscan website will show US prices and local US shipping rates – you just need to choose region. Other countries will see UK pounds as the currency.

Praise for Climate Change Denial

Over the last few months, we sent the manuscript out to a number of scientists and environmentalists who've written some wonderful reviews of our book:

"This book is a must have for anyone trying to understand the climate change issue. Washington and Cook use impressive skill to peel back the lies and deceit associated with a well-oiled machine, used for selling tobacco and now selling manufactured doubt about climate change."
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

"Ignorance of science is one blockade to effective action on the human predicament. But corporate-financed disinformation campaigns, such as those claiming that climate disruption is a hoax, are equally important. This excellent book will help solve both those problems."
Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of Humanity on a Tightrope

"Climate Change Denial reveals the crossroads we face as a society: do we let denial and confusion continue to derail solutions, leaving us vulnerable to runaway climate change, or do we accept reality and forge a truly sustainable path for future generations?"
James Hoggan, author of Climate Cover-Up and president of DeSmogBlog

"This is a major contribution to the growing body of well-reasoned analyses of climate change denial. It’s a must read for anyone interested in understanding the tactics used by the “denial industry” to attack scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change."
Riley E. Dunlap, Regents Professor of Sociology, Oklahoma State University

"Climate change denial is the biggest single obstacle to achieving a sustainable future. This book provides all the evidence and arguments you need to counter the campaign of misinformation. Read it, study it and spread its message widely."
Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, School of Science, Griffith University and President of the Australian Conservation Foundation

"Washington and Cook shine a bright light on the charlatans, organizations, and funders behind the climate change denial industry. This clear and compelling book will make it easier for the general public to see through their tricks, and more likely that the world will move faster to take action on the most urgent environmental problem we have ever faced."
Peter Gleick, hydroclimatologist, Member US National Academy of Sciences, MacArthur Fellow, President, Pacific Institute

"Washington and Cook offer the best available guide to recognizing and combating climate change denial. Their book is compact, lucidly written, and based on recent research in climate science, psychology and sociology. Anyone concerned with reality-based policy in any area can profit from reading this excellent work."
Spencer Weart, author of The Discovery of Global Warming

"In engaging, easy-to-understand language, Climate Change Denial tells us all we need to know about global warming denial, explaining why, even though the scientific evidence is irrefutable, denial continues to prosper. We learn the arguments and techniques the deniers use and how easily they are refuted. Most important, the book shows us that if we and our elected leaders pull our heads out of the sand, there is still time to find a path to a sustainable, livable future."
James Lawrence Powell, author of 2084 and the forthcoming Inquisition of Climate Science

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Comments

Comments 1 to 47:

  1. "Obviously you've created this site just so you can make money from selling books!!! CONSPIRACY!!!!"

    Congrats on the book John, I hope it's a success.
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  2. Climate change is a fact.

    What is causing it is a bit of a grey area.
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  3. Congratulations John.
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  4. Danno beat me to it!

    "This is most obvious in the denial industry ......"

    Do you contemplate the existence of a warmist industry?????

    Congrats as well.
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  5. Denial is a fact.

    What is causing it is a bit of a greay area, but maybe if I read some books on it I might have a better idea....
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  6. Congrats John, I'm sure you had no shortage of material to write about...
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  7. Well done, John, and thanks for the discount offer!
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  8. A warmer Earth in any case will lead to less differences in climate, which means that there will be less, not more changes (once things have changed for better or for worse).
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  9. Many congratulations John. Sounds like a very interesting read.
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  10. I can't believe the "It's not us" and "It's not bad" memes both appeared in the first 10 comments!

    Back on topic - congrats on the book, that's a real achievement.

    Shame it's 40% more expensive here in Oz than the US price (but I've seen some books where the difference was over 150%, so 40% isn't too bad. :-)
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  11. Congratulations John! Now the question is, when will you be touring the UK so I can get you to sign the book? Cornwall is beautiful :)
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  12. Congratulations to the Authors.

    One small recommendation:
    Given what 10 Bern noted, along with the discount, may I suggest you include a months worth of some general purpose SSRIs? This would enable inhabitance of the deniosphere to read the book, increasing your potential readership by at least 1%.
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  13. "Do you contemplate the existence of a warmist industry"

    So, tell us HR, who is *really* going to benefit from this supposed "Warmist" industry? After all, we *know* what the fossil fuel industry has to lose if climate change mitigation takes place, but I don't see a lot of scientists getting rich from predicting climate change. Once more, HR, you seem to be full of denialist clap-trap. Try to do better next time please.
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  14. "A warmer Earth in any case will lead to less differences in climate, which means that there will be less, not more changes (once things have changed for better or for worse)."

    Lets *assume* for 5 seconds you're correct-though you're probably not. What impact do you think a lack of variability in climate is going to have on our crops? Once again I see the Denialist crowd speak without actually thinking.
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  15. 2 Meikol.

    Ok, so you agree that Climate Change is a fact. Why then are you and all those like you so intent on thwarting action to counter it?

    You might be in some doubt as to the origin of an asteroid headed for the earth, but would you really thwart action until we could be absolutely certain of its origin? No, of course not. But there again, there would no vested interests in having an asteroid hit the earth. The same cannot be said of Climate Change. Get your calculator out and try entering '2' then hit '+' and then another '2'. The answer will probably surprise you.

    As for the book, I hope it is the success it deserves to be.
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  16. 'Grats on your book, John. Now I'll have to see if my wife will let me buy a copy. ;)
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  17. Marcus @ 13:

    "Once more, HR, you seem to be full of denialist clap-trap. Try to do better next time please."

    Might I suggest, "More light, less heat" or "lighten up" [puns intended].

    Meanwhile, heartfelt congratulations John on what has clearly been a labour of love.
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  18. PS: I just bought the book.
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  19. The table of contents looks really interesting. Ordered and looking forward to checking it out.
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  20. Congratulations on the book John, very exciting. I'm sure that it will inform many people and offer valuable insights. I have added it to my B'day wish list for the family :)

    I'll send this URL along to some interested parties (including 'skeptics') who might consider buying it.
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  21. Thanks John,
    you've already made my Hero List - I look forward to reading it, to see how many more notches up the list you climb.

    I sure it will be an excellent time saving resource.

    I ordered it, do you have any idea how long before delivery can be expected? Oh and thanks for the 20% discount.
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  22. Oh and love the cover art,
    years ago I was playing with a bumper sticker design featuring this same Official Bird of the Republican Party, with a few select words regarding denial and willful ignorance.
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  23. Anyone interested in this topic of denial might also find Thank You for Smoking worth reading. It's quite a description of tobacco company tactics in denying their product health effects. The movie isn't bad either!
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  24. I was able to get a bit of a preview of the book, and I can confirm, it's quite good. Congrats John and Haydn, well done!
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  25. Another book detailing denialism in the case of lead hazards and chemical prollution: Deceit and Denial, The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, by Markowitz and Rosner.

    I am thinking of ordering a copy of your forthcoming book for my local library.
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  26. Just a side note, another demonstration of why many Australians buy their books from overseas instead of locally. Why should a book cost $10 more in Australia than anywhere else in the world?
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  27. Probably due to shipping costs. Qz is far away from cities where books are printed.
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  28. Marcus at 13

    Boats, planes, freight trucks and trains, heavy machinery used in agriculture, construction, forestry and minning, emergency and military vehicles, cars and light trucks with spirit and muscle (i.e., V-8's) personal rec vehicles (e.g., ATV's) and so forth will always use hydrocarbons fuels because these fuels have high energy density.

    The fossil fuel industry will be unaffected by any so-called climate change mitigation. They will pass any costs to the consummer.

    BTW tell me how to smelt economically iron ore without the use of coke.

    Or mine diamonds and gold without the use of mega gobs of diesel.
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  29. @28 pierce

    Say you have a serious illness and the doctor says there are 2 medicins available: one makes your hair fall out, temporarily causes stomac pains and is incredibly expensive. The other medicin is cheap and has no side effects – only it doesn’t work, it has no effect on your disease.

    What good does it do to discuss “second level arguments” in this case ? If you have 2 alternatives that actually work, you can look at further advantages/disadvantages of the 2 options, and decide for the best option. If there is only one real solution, you go for that solution, and accept all the disadvantages connected to it.

    The arguments you give are second level arguments. We can start discussing them from the moment you present an alternative approach that actually works. Climate change mitigation is going to be painful (although this strongly depends on the policies our governments will implement, and on the resourcefulness of our science and technology), but it is the only medicin around.
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  30. Ann, to extend your conceit even further there are two other 'possible' alternatives... either live with the disease while treating the symptoms (i.e. allow global warming to happen and attempt to mitigate the impacts) or hope that a theoretical new cure may eventually become viable (i.e. geo-engineering).

    That said, mitigation would cost vastly more/be vastly less effective than prevention and any geo-engineering effort would be going in blind with a radical and untested new field of science that might well do more harm than good.

    Also, h pierce... remove the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity and we could continue all other current fossil fuel uses (including automobiles) without raising atmospheric CO2 levels any further. Of course, we'd then run out of gasoline in short order... so we might as well convert the cars over too. Which leaves us lots of coal, petroleum, and natural gas for all the other things (such as those you note) that they are critical for... which we would no longer be able to do if we burned them all up for energy generation. Ergo, it seems fairly clear that even without global warming we have reached the point where we >must< convert away from using fossil fuels for nearly all forms of energy generation.
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  31. CDB at 30

    There is no shortage of fossil fuels until ca 2100.

    FYI there is an estimated 10-15 trillion barrels of unconventual oil such as heavy crude oil, eztra heavy crude oil, oil shale and tar sand.

    Shell R and D has several pilot projects in north western Colorado that uses in-situ resistive heating to recover oil from oil shale formations. When these process are perfected oil will flow like water from these formations.

    Google SASOL to learn about S Africa's coal-to-liquid hydrocarbon processes.
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  32. hpierce#31: "an estimated 10-15 trillion barrels of unconventual oil"

    Sure would be nice to see a source for those spectacular numbers, especially in terms of recoverable oil, rather than oil in place.

    Here's one that puts recoverable volume a wee bit smaller:
    Of the 35 billion barrels of heavy oil estimated to be technically recoverable in North America,

    But that's off topic. The 100 percent renewables thread might be a more appropriate to argue about oil; we have a self-appointed expert in fossil fuels who lives there.
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  33. h pierce @ 31: Ah, SASOL... a quick google reveals that that one plant, by itself, accounts for 60% of all of South Africa's CO2 emissions. Technically possible, yes. Desirable? Hardly.

    Now, this is firmly off-topic, but in response to your comment at #28 about iron smelting, here's a quote from the Zero Carbon Australia report (page 19, right column):

    The Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) process, coupled with Electric Arc Furnace steel smelting, provides an alternative to this. DRI is already used to produce a significant quantity of the world’s smelted iron, and is inherently more efficient. Syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen), sourced from waste-to-energy or biomass, can be used as a reducing agent in place of coal.

    Oh, and BTW: many books are printed in Singapore & other S.E. Asian countries, so we're actually closer to the printing presses than the US or Europe... I know of one example, though, where a book is printed in Australia, but I can get it airmailed from the UK for less than half the price it's sold here.
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  34. I orderred my copy of the book yesterday. Now I can hardly wait for it to arrive.
    A big thankyou to Haydn and John.

    As a former Aurtralian book retailer I can tell you that the cost of books here is the result of a series of bad taxation decisions that have never been rectified. (I could explain further but that would be both political and off topic).
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  35. "Boats, planes, freight trucks and trains, heavy machinery used in agriculture, construction, forestry and minning, emergency and military vehicles, cars and light trucks with spirit and muscle (i.e., V-8's) personal rec vehicles (e.g., ATV's) and so forth will always use hydrocarbons fuels because these fuels have high energy density."

    Ah, I see the science of Bio-fuels has completely escaped you Pierce-which is what comes of getting all your info from the Oil Industry. Scientists have managed to manufacture bio-synthetic versions of pretty much every type of fossil fuel-from regular diesel to aviation fuel. As to smelting iron ore-an arc furnace is *much* more efficient than coke smelting-using 1/3rd less energy than coke smelting.
    So, Pierce, it seems you need to go back & do your homework before you further embarrass yourself.
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  36. Marcus at 35

    So, Pierce, it seems you need to go back & do your homework before you further embarrass yourself.

    Not possible. I am organic chemist and quite well aware of this info you guys mention here most of which is pie-in-the sky nonsense!

    I stand by "Fossil Fuels are Forever"!

    Wouldn't you really like to have a bright red Ford Mustang Conv. with a big honkin' 5 L V-8?

    Go which watch "Mighty Ships" on the History Channel.
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  37. pierce#36: Still off-topic. Fossil fuels are, by definition, not forever. How will that 5L V8 do with $5 a gallon gas? Sure make a good-looking lawn ornament.

    Once again, the 100% renewables thread, with its self-proclaimed resident expert on the end of the fossil fuel era, is a better place for these comments.
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  38. "Wouldn't you really like to have a bright red Ford Mustang Conv. with a big honkin' 5 L V-8?"

    Sounds like "skepticism" driven by wishful thinking. Its not what we would like, but we can have.

    I have yet to see anything from you which shows "pie in the sky nonsense". That is unsubstantiated assertion at best.
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  39. "Not possible. I am organic chemist and quite well aware of this info you guys mention"

    Ah, that explains it-no doubt you *work* for the Oil Industry, & so your mantra is nothing more than wishful thinking. The fact is that several research facilities-including MIT-have done successful pilot trials for the production of bio-fuels, from algal biomass, that is cost competitive with regular oil. That equation is only going to get better as oil prices continue to increase.

    "Wouldn't you really like to have a bright red Ford Mustang Conv. with a big honkin' 5 L V-8?"

    Personally, I'd rather have a vehicle that gets me reliably & cheaply from point A to point B-which is why I use Mass Transit on a regular basis. Still, I've always been of the view that people who use gas-guzzling muscle cars are just.....ahem, compensating for something ;-).
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  40. I wonder if this is the same harold pierce jnr, (see the comment here) who thinks that GHE has been falsified by the temperature data in Death Valley (speaking of pie-in-the-sky nonsense).
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  41. @ scaddenp

    A safe assumption. h pierce also has posted here at SkS under the name Harol Pierce Jr (probably because another user had Harold Pierce Jr).

    The Yooper
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  42. h pierce - Replacement fuels are "pie in the sky"? An interesting statement, but I think the facts contradict it.

    For example: I've been following Swift Enterprises progress in that regard. They are working on a biomass fuel to replace 100LL gasoline for small, prop driven planes in the US and around the world. The fuel appears fully functional as a replacement, economical to produce (competitive pricing), without added leading (required by the 15-60 year old engine designs in many private planes). It's currently undergoing testing towards certification as a legal replacement.

    It does, apparently, smell like old sweat socks, but that's the only drawback I've heard of yet.

    This is a good place for such developments - start in a limited market with higher prices (since 100LL is a tiny fraction of production), bootstrap up from there. And Swift isn't the only company in the business.
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  43. Which authoritarian body conveys the title of "scientist" and decides whom may or may not speak with authority regarding the concept called man made climate change?

    Would the word of a big shot at the IPCC count for more than some mere amateur who dares to disagree with him?

    I would really like to get this clarified
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  44. Bruce Frykman - Scientist refers to someone who has invested time and effort in education and study on a particular subject, with the intent to extend the knowledge in that field. Please see your favorite dictionary.


    I'm sorry I cannot find the exact quote at the moment, but:

    There are lots of bright people in the world. If you, as a bright person digging into a field of study, conclude that everyone else who has studied the subject for >100 years is wrong, you may be correct. But it's far more likely that you've simply missed something...

    The same holds for the commentators (and I would include many on the various blogs) - the commentators not working in the field may be correct in asserting that the experts are wrong, but again... they may very well be incorrect, and those who listen to the experts are right after all.

    I'm reminded of one of the posters John posted from the Brisbane rally:

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  45. Well scientist to me who someone who investigates nature via the scientific method. For an amateur to get some notice would require publishing some peer-reviewed research. However, that said, I would trust someone with deep education and practice in climate science over an amateur, but hey, if your disagreement is based on sound, consistent science and backed by data, then go ahead and publish. I'd read it.
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  46. Just to let you know - my copy of "Climate Change Denial" arrived in the post today. Having skimmed it, it looks a really good read, and Earthscan have done their usual good job on the production ...
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  47. h pierce @ 28

    It appears to have escaped your attention that trains have been hauled by electric locomotives for many decades already, including some of the heaviest freight trains, if not the heaviest such as on the Sishen-Saldanha line that transports iron ore with a 50 kV system.

    Bern @ 33

    Producing synthetic fuels from coal as SASOL does in South Africa is certainly more carbon-intensive than conventional oil, but the figure of 60% of South African emissions isn't credible. As essentially all of SASOL's production is consumed in South Africa it would mean that producing the synthetic fuel would produce more carbon dioxide than burning it. It would also be more than all of the emissions of South Africa's electricity generation and heavy industries, which are overwhelmingly coal-powered.
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