Updated on 2022-11-01 by Adam Hardy
Even if you thought you knew how evil corporate power was, you need to read the New Climate War
Prof. Michael E. Mann is not just an eminent and distinguished American climatologist, he is a gifted communicator, appearing in the media in print and on camera around the world on a regular basis. He is also a warrior, the survivor of an extended, well-funded, vicious but ultimately failed attempt to ruin his career and demolish his academic work. As one of the main authors of the famous hockey stick chart which illustrated the shocking reality of global warming and changes in our planet’s average temperature, the big guns of the oil industry have targeted him over decades as part of their campaign to spread denial and disinformation about impact of fossil fuels on the climate.
The New Climate War lays out the strategy and tactics of big corporations from the beginning of the environmental movement to 2020 and the last year of the Trump administration. The immorality on display is shocking. To protect their businesses, corporate executives spend millions of dollars every year to influence public opinion and politicians so that the industry should be left untouched to carry on extracting fossil fuels.
The variety of ways in which they approached the challenge is impressive, so it is no surprise that the corporations have been very successful. Worse still, Mann’s forensic analysis of their anti-science, anti-climate, pro-CO2 campaign provides all the evidence needed to be sure that the war is far from over.
Even now with incontrovertible evidence of locked-in global environmental, social and economic damage from global warming, it seems there is nothing the top executives will not stoop to. Dishonesty, fabrication, manipulation, distortion and vindictiveness are just tools for the job. Worse still, their cause is aided and abetted by disparate anti-environment business interests, political ideologues, foreign powers and even misguided or hoodwinked environmentalists.
Mann makes the grim story engaging and absorbing, avoiding political ideology, sprinkling it with fascinating anecdotes from behind the scenes, commendably giving every personality in the narrative their fair dues, and rounding it off with a convincing set of reasons why there is everything still to play for and what individuals must do to achieve a meaningful victory. Needless to say, the New Climate War is a must-read.
Here’s a book to avoid, by Shellenberger, reviewed by the excellent science writer, Peter Gleick: