Climate of Uncertainty
by William Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Climate of Uncertainty / 978-0-9767291-6-7
When author William Stewart suggested that I read and review "Climate of Uncertainty", I was initially uncertain. Although I am not a climate change scientist, I am personally convinced that global climate change is a fact, and that human behavior is at least partially responsible for this global climate change... as well as for fixing it. Rather cynically, I was afraid that the "balanced" view promised by the title would be the sort of "balance" that gives as much weight to opinions as it does to facts.
My fears were unfounded, though, for "Climate of Uncertainty" provides that rare balanced viewpoint that describes the facts lucidly while still outlining clearly the remaining areas of uncertainty and what we do and don't know yet. Stewart has succinctly pulled together a comprehensive and compelling "big picture" viewpoint of global climate change, the many possible and probable causes of global climate change, the number of ways that humanity may be affected by projected climate change, and the number of potential corrections we can institute in order to preserve the careful balance in which we live.
Unlike "Climate Cover-Up", which I felt would not be a good overture to a skeptical reader, "Climate of Uncertainty" cannot help but please the most skeptical of readers - within the carefully assembled facts, intelligent analysis, and engaging writing style, there is always a very respectful dialogue maintained with the reader. Stewart neither criticizes nor attacks any of the opposing viewpoints or proponents in his book; he is always careful to explain the opposition view fairly and without cheap straw-manning before providing the evidence and letting the facts speak clearly for themselves.
I think the best way to represent this book, to anyone wondering whether or not this is the right book for them to read, would be to quote a passage that particularly caught my eye as exemplifying the respectful tone, and "big picture" clarity that Stewart so skillfully employs. Explaining why the year 2008 was characterized as "the coldest year of the century" and as a "failure" for global warming theory, Stewart explains:
"In point of fact, 2008 was the coldest year of the twenty-first century, but fair disclosure would have required an acknowledgment that 2008 was also the eight-warmest year in recorded history - warmer than all but two years in the twentieth century. Full disclosure would have also required a revelation that 2008 temperatures were reduced by a strong La Nina. In other words, a year in which global temperatures were substantially cooled by prevailing ENSO conditions turned out to be one of the ten hottest in the last century and a half. Thus, these headlines, and hundreds of others like them, are most graciously characterized as incomplete."
In the end, all my fears that this book might be more dominated by opinion than science were laid to rest and, indeed, I am tempted to label this the most comprehensive and clear recent climate change book I've read. I deeply enjoyed the reading, and I recommend this book both to climate change advocates and skeptics alike.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through the author.
~ Ana Mardoll
View all my reviews