Yes – I have just finished reading this book (Kindle version) and would like to say a few words about it.
First, in the name of transparency, I disclose that I am named in the acknowledgments as one of the over 40 citizen auditors whom the book’s author, Donna Laframboise, had recruited to audit the references in various IPCC AR4 chapters in order to verify whether the sources were peer-reviewed scientific journals or other materials. (More on this later.)
Let me start with the conclusion: well worth a read!
It is worth reading regardless of your opinions about global warming and the role humanity does or does not play in it because, contrary to some book reviews, the book does not actually address the science itself. Let me say it again: this book is NOT an examination of the science, nor does it draw any scientific conclusions. Not one!
Rather, this book takes the claims the IPCC (and its members) make about the organization and how it functions and tests them for consistency and validity. As the sub-title of the book says, it is ‘An Expose of the IPCC’. It is a journalistic expose of the process (and its corruption) behind the IPCC repots: exactly the sort of thing that investigative journalist are trained to do.
This is a serious matter: regardless of where your opinions may fall on the science itself, the process through which the IPCC reports – the reports with perhaps the furthest and deepest financial and political implications of our generation – are generated must be transparent and worthy of our trust. It is perhaps even more the interest of the ACC believers that this process is ‘beyond reproach’ – that their Kool-Aid is not tainted, if you will.
What Donna Laframboise has revealed in ‘The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert: An Expose of the IPCC’ is an eye-opener to people who have trusted the IPCC simply because they were told to trust world’s leading scientists.
No, the book is not perfect. There is a number of things that I would have either eliminated or re-phrased or even things I think are important that were not included in the book. For example, she does go on about the Y2K bug in an attempt to parallel the hysteria and I get her aim – yet I think this and similar bits detract, not add to the book. At times, her wording is more colloquial than what appeals to my taste, but that is a minor pick – and what she says, regardless of the style she says it in, is valid.
As for omissions – perhaps the most important one is that while I was checking the references for several of the chapters in AR4 for the Citizen Audit, I noted that a number of the references were not to peer-reviewed journals, but to actual official government policy papers.
To me, this is a big deal.
Yes, she correctly pans the IPCC for using a WWF and Greenpeace pamphlets and ads and press releases as source material – these are clearl not peer-reviewed science, despite the often repeated mantra that the IPCC uses exclusively sources from peer-reviewed scientific publications. Citing these as peer-reviewed science is very problematic and Donna does a great job exposing this.
But that a number of actual government policy papers (from several different national governments as well as from the EU) are the source material on which the IPCC draws its conclusions is, in my never-humble-opinion, just as big (if not even bigger) deal. Precisely because, as she documents in her book, it is governments who nominate people for IPCC participation, inclusion of policy papers by those very same governments demonstrates very clearly the conflicts of interest of many of the people behind the IPCC.
OK – that was my pet peeve. I have to admit, in light of what the book does reveal and how meticulously it documents all of its assertions, it is just a minor niggle.
Perhaps the most praise-worthy aspect of ‘The Delinquent Teenager’ is how meticulously it is researched and documented. I have not seen a hard copy, but the Kindle version (and, I understand, the pdf version) are filled with links to relevant material and almost a quarter of the book is ‘footnotes’. Really. Everything written in this book has been researched and documented beyond anything I have seen – ever. For a fact junkie such as I am, this really makes the case – and proves it.
What did I learn from the book that I did not know before?
Two things jump to mind right away:
1. There were no conflict of interest guidelines or rules for the IPCC as late as 2010 – they were deemed unnecessary. This is problematic on its own. However, following a scathing review by IAC, such conflict of interest rules have been done up. Alas, they will not apply to any of the people currently working on the next IPCC report, because, as Rajendra Pachauri who heads the IPCC says, that would not be fair…
It would not ‘be fair’ to expect the IPCC ‘experts’ to adhere to conflict of interest rules?!?!?
2. Donna Laframboise strings together a sequence of events that we should be aware of and supports it with quotes from Rajendra Pachauri and others: the role of the IPCC never was to present an impartial report.
Here is the sequence:
Let me emphasize this: the IPCC was created specifically to lend ‘scientific’ backing to the claim there is a problem only AFTER the UN had created the solution!
There is more in the book that I learned, but these two things are of such importance, it is difficult to believe any investigative
This is an important book – if you have not done so, please, read it!
I have never done a book review before. I don’t know how to go about it, so, please, indulge me.
Where to start…
Being the opinionated person I am, the best starting point seems to be the conclusion:
The book is brilliant. Everyone should go out and read it! NOW!!!
(Is that too direct?)
Political junkies in particular (and, I suspect a few of my readers do have at least a tiny interest in politics) will have fun with the quirky interpretation Mr. Green throws on some of the background events in the shadows of perhaps the most important cultural event of the second half of the 20th century – the start of the Cold War and descent of the Iron Curtain!
It is well written.
It is well researched.
There are no internal inconsistencies (at least, not that I noticed on a first read – and, that one’s a biggie for me!).
The characters seem very human, very real. They get inside your ‘monkeysphere’.
The writing style is particularly effective in making this historical novel ‘come alive’!
What am I talking about?
Imagine an established journalist and blogger (!) is contacted by a mysterious man, who has followed his the journalist’s work and now trusts him to tell ‘his story’ – his time is short and he does not wish to take it into the grave with him. Then, ‘mystery man’ sends our narrator a set of recordings in which he recounts his life (yes, a narration within a narration – it is symmetry, as the story contains mystery within mystery…).
His story starts in pre-WWII Belarus (White Russia: our protagonist is White Russian, just like Marko Ramius) and skillfully paints the atmosphere of fear and despair as Stalin’s ‘black crows’ terrorize the population. I have grown up behind the Iron Curtain, but in a much, much ‘milder’ time. Nothing as intense as what was happening in Belarus then. But, during the description of the ‘dreaded knock’ on the door (the secret police never rang the bell – they knocked) – I was transported back into my early childhood, where I feared ‘the knock’. I was too young to appreciate the full meaning of it, but, growing up a child of a dissident, I could taste the fear. OK – you may think me a wuss, but… now, safe for decades, I still have an unreasonably high level of adrenalin pumped into my veins whenever a neighbour (thinking it less disruptive) knocks on my door instead of ringing the bell. The description of this atmosphere is exactly right on – even if my experiences pale in comparison, the dread he describes is real.
Then, the Nazis invade. Our ‘mystery man’ gets stuck in a nightmare. His appearance (pale, blond and blue-eyed) and education mean the Nazis don’t target him for extermination and turn him into their slave, instead. As he witnesses the genocide – with horrible, unbelievable cruelty, he grew numb. But, he was the archetypal survivor – so he found a way to survive, and more.
Again, Mr. Green’s narrative captures the atmosphere so well, it is frightening. Without going into long-winded personal tangents, let me just say that the narrative of this part of the story is so gripping, his protagonist so believable (without crossing over that ‘manipulative’ line), I am completely ‘sold’ on the veracity of the story! Of course, the ‘journalist’s’ frequent footnotes (something he employs throughout the novel) which verify (or not) the facts, as presented in the narrative, is a mightily effective tool in making you identify with the ‘journalist’ narrator: hearing the story, checking the facts, slowly but surely becoming convinced that the recordings are ‘the real thing’.
The move from Belarus to the Canadian Embassy is a little abrupt – actually, it is perhaps the ‘weakest’ point in the story. But, the narrative style saves the day: our ‘journalist’ may doubt the narration here, but it is within the realms of what could be explained by ‘mystery man’s’ human weakness and potential ‘fibbing’ to hide something personal…
Once in Ottawa, the ‘real action’ takes place: espionage, Hoover, Mackenzie King, beautiful women, murder, flight… a ‘historical mystery’ interpreted in a new, radical way!
I dare not write more, for fear of giving it all away and spoiling the fun. Let me just say that, up to and including the epilogue, I am left baffled as to (and eager to figure out) how much of this IS true, and how much is fiction.
I think it’s time for me to follow up on some of the footnotes – and other things!
Sometimes, I have a terrible feeling that the social engineers are attempting to create a Canada which is very much like the good soldier Svejk’s Austro-Hungaria!
Well, perhaps they are not trying, but they sure are succeeding!
Why do I think this?
The novel ‘The Good Soldier Svejk’ by Jaroslav Hasek, widely regarded as the earliest example of modernist writing, is said to be perhaps the first ‘anti-war’ novel ever. Yet, it describes no combat, no killing, no military training….
I don’t think it is an anti-war novel at all. I think, like his contemporary Kafka’s ‘The Castle’, it is anti-bureaucracy novel! It uses humour to explain the ridiculesness of existing in a over-bureaucritized, regulations-trump-common-sense system where humans are merely an afterthought!
And, like it or not, that is what Canada is slowly but surely becoming!
All right, let’s keep the ‘big cases’ tackled by the ‘Human Rights Commissions’ aside for a while, and look at some of the other examples of where ‘bureaucratization’ has replaced normal scoial discourse:
This one, I witnessed with my own eyes, or I might have had a hard time believing it..
A man, obviously ill, produced an invalid publich health insurance card at a medical clinic. The nice lady behind the counter refused his offer to pay to see a doctor: ‘As a resident of Ontario, you are entitled to free health care. So, you are not allowed to pay money to see a doctor. Just go down to the government office, get the problems with your card straightened out, and we’ll be glad to put your name down on the waiting list.’
And while I am on healthcare, how about this one…
A elderly gentleman (in his 70’s or 80’s) came to a specialist’s office for his appointment. Being forgetful, he could not find his ‘card’…but did not want to loose the appointment, as he had waited 3 months to get in. The receptionist went into a bit of a panic… Paying was out of question, that would be illegal. Seeing the patient without having the card first – well, they could face big penalties when they got audited (not if, but when – most doctors are audited 2-3 times each year to make sure they adhere to all the government regulations, like appointment length per patient).
After talking to the doctor, she came up with a unique solution: the doctor would see him, no card, no charge, but during his lunch. And it would not be recorded on the official medical chart, so the doctor could not get into trouble with the government.
How insane is that!?!?!
When doctors are afraid of seeing patients because of sanctions by the government, we have Svejk-like bureaucritization of our society!
And don’t let me get started on education, where a kindergarten teacher is not allowed to comfort a child that fell, because it might infringe cultural practices…
The laws tell us what kind of signs we are – and are not allowed – to put up to promote our businesses.
How can one expect humane treatment, when the bureaucratic process becomes more important than people?
But all this is only a tiny, tiny part of the whole machine!
Yes, a bureaucratic machine is the universal result of an overbloated government which continuously attempts to expand its existence by regulating more and more aspects of its citizens’ lives. And, as a rule, bureaucrats tend to be very, very humourless…
Of course, this is where the Human Rights Commissions come in: their role is to keep the machine going by eradicating all semblance of independent thought. After all, independent thought might lead to independent action – and we only want machine government regulated actions around here!
Is it surprising, then, that humour just might be made illegal in Canada?
This guy, Guy Earle, is being dragged through the legal system, because his jokes were ‘hate speech’….here is his account of that saga: (Note – may contain offensive humour/language.)
It seems insane, but the HRCs DO have the right to forbit this man from ever telling a joke again!
Since their rulings are recorded with a real court, they are binding – and were this comedian to breech it, he could indeed be jailed. There is a fundraised for him this coming Saturday, in Toronto.
Now, I do recall some countries – under some regimes – where people could be jailed for telling jokes. Coincidentally, they all valued bureaucracies over people. Namely, Nazi Germany, Communist Soviet Union and its satellites, and so on.
Oh, and let’s not forget, the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire of the good soldier Svejk!
This President is one smart cookie!
Yesterday, he delivered a speech in Washington, in which he said:
“It is interesting that you came up with the name Josef Alois Schumpeter (to intentionally use the Czech pronunciation). I don’t expect all of you to know that this great economist was born in 1883 on the territory of my country – the Czech Republic – in the small Moravian town of Třešť, belonging at that time to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. He was part of an important group of Austrian Moravians which includes names such as Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Karl Kautsky, Ernst Mach, Robert Musil, and many others.”
“Reading his Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, which was published in England in the 1940s along with books such as Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, one comes across a slightly different story, which is his evolutionary theory of the demise of capitalism based on its very success. His main argument – as I remember it – was that innovations would become a matter of routine, progress would be mechanized, problems would be “simply solved” by means of reason and science, entrepreneurship would be replaced by mere calculation, individual motivation would subside, collectivistic mentality would prevail and the growing importance of teamwork in modern large corporations would lead to the gradual obsoleteness and at the end disappearance of the crucial player (or perhaps mover) of capitalism – of the entrepreneur. That was his vision of the end of capitalism. He regretted it, but did not see it as the end of history, progress and development.”
“The first problem this theory has is its connection with the reality because the world has not followed Schumpeter’s predictions.”
The complete text is on Mr. Klaus’ blog.
This, to me, is a telling analysis: this economist looks at the theory, evaluates its internal consistencies (or lack thereof) – and then COMPARES THE THEORY TO REAL-LIFE OUTCOMES !!!!
Not only did he do EXACTLY THIS with the IPCC-type AGW/ACC ‘theories’ (and I do use the term ‘theories’ loosely) in his book ‘Blue Planet in Green Shackles – What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?’, he also points out the necessary consequence of actions currently being implemented to ‘mitigate’ AGW/ACC: establishment of world government.
So, why would anyone think there are any dangers in establishing this ‘world government’? Mr. Klaus warns that we just might me passing world government into the hands of arrogant elitists who are convinced that ‘they know better than the rest of us’…. He asserts that some of the same people who are advocating establishing world authorities to regulate carbon emission – with the power of enforcment (that is, world government) – that were also advocating this 30 years ago in the name of world socialism. Just listen to Glenn Beck’s second interview with him:
Kind of makes you pause and think, does it not?
This is the mystery of the disappearing planet….as in – where in the world can one purchase a copy of the English-language version of ‘Blue Planet in Green Shackles – What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?’
The English translation of this book by Czech Republic’s President, Vaclav Klaus, was released this week in Washington, D.C. – as I have learned from ‘The Reference Frame’, and wrote about earlier. I must admit, I was rather exited! Finally, I could get my hands on it and read what all this excitement is about.
Yet, I could not find how to get my hands on it! Judging from some of the responses I got, I am not alone…
My Mom always used to say: “If ever you are in doubt, ask a physicist!’ (Well, she said something like that – I think…) So, I did – and Mr. Motl from ‘The Reference Frame’ was kind enough to send me this reply:
Dear Xanthippa, the book is now printed in 17,000 copies only so it will disappear rapidly.
has its ISBN codes:
* ISBN: 1889865095
* ISBN-13: 9781889865096
* Format: Paperback, 100pp
* Pub. Date: May 2008
Thank you, Mr. Motl!
Finally, here is a head of state who has actual scientific credentials! O.K., he’s not a physicist like Mr. Motl, but, Vaclav Klaus is pretty close: he may have been a mere economist (though a respected professor thereof), but he did spend most of his life at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Once politics no longer shackled his career (oh, I love how I worked that ‘shackled’ word in…sorry, it does not take much to amuse me…), he worked at Prognostics at the Academy of Science…. meaning, his professional expertise is in looking at scientific theories, understanding their implication, and then evaluating their long-term economic impact.
This means that President Klaus, more than any other world leader today, is eminently qualified to assess the IPCC report, both in what it says and in what the ‘remedial measures’ currently being implemented will have. I, for one, am very curious to read what he has to say. I wish that the World’s leaders would be, too!
Here is a link to Mr. Klaus’ speaking notes for the Washington D.C. release of his book:
“The whole process is already in the hands of those who are not interested in rational ideas and arguments.”
“The real debate should be about costs and benefits of alternative human actions, about how to rationally deal with the unknown future, about what kind and size of solidarity with much wealthier future generations is justified, about the size of externalities and their eventual appropriate “internalization”, about how much to trust the impersonal functioning of the markets in solving any human problem, including global warming and how much to distrust the very visible hand of very human politicians and their bureaucrats. Some of these questions are touched upon in my book. “
I, for one, am very curious to read what he has to say. Excuse me, I have to go talk to my local bookstore now…. in the meantime, here is Glenn Beck’s interview with Mr. Klaus on the topic of Global Warming activism:
Finally, there is a release date for the much-awaited English version of Czech President’s Vaclav Klaus’ book,
‘BLUE PLANET IN GREEN SHACKLES
What is endangered: Climate of Freedom?’
President Klaus will be presenting it on May 27th, 2008 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C..
Thanks to Lubos Motl from ‘The Reference Frame’ for the tip!
During a debate, someone raised the topic of ‘Harry Potter’ and how ‘unfinished’ and ‘unsatisfactory’ the last book really was. One person said that during the series, J. K. Rowling seemed to change the fundamental roles of some of the characters. It started me thinking…perhaps it may not have started out as such, but, by the end, WHAT was the ‘Harry Potter’ story really about?
Let’s look at it.
We have a young boy, living in an average British suburb, average British house, yet still disenfranchised from all about him. Without knowing why, he feels different, he does not fit in. As he grows, he learns he is a part of this very special group of people who live within the British culture, but are different, separate from the mainstream population in so many ways!
This ‘special’ group of people could, at first look, pass for Brits – but were decidedly different. They believed in different things, behaved differently, dressed differently, yet kept their ‘differentness’ secret from the mainstream. With their own rules (though their ‘Minister’ did have a ‘quazi-legal’ status with the ‘Muggle’ Prime Minister) and laws, their own separate legal system administered justice among them.
Most of the Brits are not even aware of their separate existence: and many of the members of this ‘special sub-culture’ live integrated, among regular people. Yet others live isolated, in whole communities devoted to ‘their kind’ – and it is only in these isolated communities that members of this special ‘sub-culture’ openly practiced their ‘differentness’.
Those who spent their whole lives in these communities often fail to understand even the basic principles or social customs of the greater British society surrounding them. Not only do they think, act, and dress differently…they can not even be bothered to learn about the rest of the society that surrounded them, even as they consider them as ‘less evolved’ or ‘less special’ than themselves. They euphemistically refer to ‘regular people’ by the patronizing term ‘muggles’, or by the downright derisive ‘dirty mud people’….
And though they may be self-isolated from the cultural mainstream – having their own beliefs and their own schools where they sent their children – they do keep in close contact with other people of their own kind, who live scattered in secret or isolated communities in other parts of the world….all of them taking care to go unnoticed by their host society.
Hmmm, any thoughts yet?
It gets better.
Within this secretive sub-culture, there was a struggle: those who were kindly pre-disposed towards the lowly ‘muggles’, those who wanted to ‘get along while being allowed to keep their separate sub-culture’, were battling against a militant group from within. Led by a mythical, powerful, but hard-to-define and often absent leader, this ‘evil’ sub-sect was downright hostile toward the host culture, killing ‘muggles’ without regard, just to prove their superiority, and murdering any member of their sub-culture who opposed them too loudly….
But that was not all….not only was this sub-sect hostile and militant, it sought to gain total and complete control over the whole of the ‘magical world’ sub-culture. Nobody knew any longer whom to trust, who was on whose side, who was secretly controlled….and the subtle blackmail and mind-control by the ‘evil side’ could escalate to open intimidation! The ‘moderates’ kept trying to identify and battle the ‘militants’, only to be infiltrated and betrayed, time after time….
Is this still sounding like the story of a boy who wakes up and realizes he is ‘magical’?
Or does the change of attitudes Ms. Rowling’s book take as the story progresses pass comment on a completely different matter altogether? A matter we all need to pay attention to, before Voldemort (who, by the way, changes his name from the one he’s born with, when he enters this special ‘sub-culture’) gains complete control over ‘the special community’ and subjugates ‘muggles’ in all the world?
Hmmmm, change a few of the labels, and you might not be looking at a fairy-tale at all!