The ‘heroic’ climate book offering some hope for our future
The book review below is not only uncritical. It is positively laudatory. The one thing the review gets right is that the book is heroic -- heroic in ignoring the facts.
Author Gergis is one of the many on the Green/Left who see only what they want to see but Gergis is in fact an extreme case of that. Her research has in fact produced a vivid proof that there is NO long-term global warming. But she sees in it proof of warming.
Judge for yourself. She showed that the temperature was just nine hundredths of one degree warmer in the 20th century than it was in the 13th century. Some warming!
Below is the temperature graph underlying her "research". Going back centuries sure is pesky.
Gergis is the practitioner of a religion, not a scientist. Sadly, she has authored over 100 "scientific" publications on climate. She is a lead author on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on the Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, no less. That says a lot about the Warmist fantasy. Anything will do as evidence for it
The problem with climate change is the hot air. A belief, once widespread, was that rational discussion, awareness-raising and political debate were levers that could be pulled to correct an errant course. Today, heave though we might, these levers seem only to vent steam.
Here, Humanity’s Moment: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope by Joëlle Gergis has a special role to play. Gergis is one of hundreds of scientists contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assessment reports, the gold standard of international scientific collaboration and rigour by which we discover just how much trouble we’re in.
Part of this book describes the report’s creation, an exhaustive and exhausting process of write, review and rewrite, which takes years to compile, the latest running at nearly 3000 pages. It is then flung into the centrifuge of the modern news cycle. Little but a few headlines survive intact. Humanity’s Moment is Gergis’ opportunity to translate the science in a controlled environment, outside the clickbait and pop-ups.
She does so with precision, fidelity and restraint. Our present predicament is harrowing enough. Yet floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Europe are but a taste of the likely future despite the trumpeting of net-zero target figures.
Humanity’s Moment is in three parts: the head, the heart and the whole. The heart is needed because science is simply not enough to fully grasp the loss, both actual and potential. It must be felt. The author intercuts exposition with personal accounts, often at the edge of despair. “We are witnessing the great unravelling; the beginning of the end of things,” she writes in her journal.
Through such entries, email correspondence with other scientists and the author’s bittersweet immersion in landscapes she knows are vanishing such as the Great Barrier Reef or Gondwana rainforest, we understand the price of again spelling out the case on the page. As an act of defiance, it is heroic.
Gergis states that the IPCC’s sixth assessment report released last year will be the last chance that scientists have to make a difference. In the time it takes to produce another, we’ll be too far gone. From here on, it’s politics, and we know how that goes.
Very bravely, she resists such easy cynicism, in which the apocalypse is simply another meme. I had to limit myself to a chapter a night but felt hopelessness long afterward. It’s also not an easy book to discuss with friends, especially those with children.
But in all darkness, there is light, as the opening chapter of the third part states. Here the concept of the tipping point that runs throughout Humanity’s Moment is applied to repair. When change happens, it is unexpected and accelerating. In the whole: social movements, art, technological progress and the teal revolution could be reaching a point at which politicians and businesses with vested interests in the status quo have no option but change.
Many climate books take on this structure but few have a final “hope” section that is believable. Most smack of compromise to an anxious publisher, a counterbalance to the grim forerunners. Yet Gergis has deployed a compelling metaphor, not least of all because things are improving. Denialism has lost mainstream credibility while fossil fuel companies are increasingly resorting to greenwashing, a definite retreat from attacking the science.
The chapter Life Imitating Art, on the growing cultural dimension of the climate movement, is particularly important. It represents the outflanking of vested interests to a place they struggle to follow – culture. A fossil fuel company can create an Instagram account where a guy in a hardhat stands before a seedling but for all its PR budget, it cannot create true art.
Still the BLM and LGBTQI+ movements that Gergis points to as examples of rapid change have never been achieved against the clock or on the global scale required by climate action. The holdouts are the same authoritarian states such as China and Russia needed for success on climate. It is those that reject “Western values” and resist global action the instant it is expedient to do so. Change will require a powerful diplomatic, not just social, justice dimension.
Another issue only glanced at is social media, another blocker. Now the sole news source for almost 50 per cent of people and lacking necessary bandwidth and nuance to convey the challenge, it’s the echo chamber filtering out challenging beliefs that truly allows misinformation to fester. Traditional media has had little choice but to mirror the dynamics of their ersatz distributors. All this justifies the need for a book. Hence Humanity’s Moment.
I have been told by those in the know that books on climate change, even those with high-profile authors, simply do not sell. I’m sure Humanity’s Moment sparked intense conversations before commissioning. Credit, then, to a publisher that has opted for urgency and gravity over entertainment and, of course, to an author who refuses to mollycoddle but instead provides genuine hope.