Tuesday, December 2, 2008

By Christopher C. Horner
Regnery, $27.95, 407 pages

Christopher C. Horner has deconstructed global-warming alarmism before, but in “Red Hot Lies,” he focuses on how the global-warming industry, with huge money and power on the line, defends itself and perpetuates its beliefs.

The senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute shows readers scientists, bureaucrats, journal editors and government agency administrators acting more like con men and mob enforcers than objective seekers of truth.

In the current global-warming lobby, Mr. Horner points out that leftists who want ever bigger government with hypertaxation and microregulation of every aspect of our lives find common cause with large companies that stand to make a bundle if alternative energy forms are mandated and/or one of the carbon-fuel-rationing schemes is adopted.

(With billions in government research grants, there’s more money in alarmism than on the skeptical side, worth remembering when a skeptic is accused of being in the pocket of “Big Oil” - no alarmist is ever accused of being in the pocket of Big Research Grants.) These two groups are enabled by a compliant press that relishes sensational scare stories and by politicians ever eager for ways to show their virtue and ways to appear to be saving their constituents.

In his first book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)” (Regnery, 2007) Mr. Horner parsed the fanciful claims of the global warmers. He built the case, infrequently encountered by the public, that the warming our planet has undergone over the past century is almost certainly nothing outside of the normal temperature variations the Earth has been undergoing since there’s been an Earth. Man’s activities may have played a part in this small temperature increase, but almost certainly a trifling part compared to variations in solar activity.

There remain plenty of honest scientists who go to work every day with no other objective than to look for the truth, wherever it leads. But the saddest casualties of the sorry global-warming story are the many scientists who have been corrupted by the oceans of grant money they and their universities are awash in and that will remain available only if the heat is kept up (so to speak) on the global-warming threat to mankind.

Mr. Horner shows how these folks will do just about anything to keep this gravy train going. This includes playing with the data to keep the horrendous story of global catastrophe before the public. It also includes denying jobs, publications and promotions as well as sullying the reputations of “heretics” who dare to question the warming-catastrophe orthodoxy. Alarmists have succeeded in characterizing disagreement with them as either, in Mr. Horner’s words, “daft or venal.”

Readers will see how ruthlessly Big Environment plays the political game in Washington. Mr. Horner shows these folks are not the philanthropic, self-sacrificing lovers of trees and birds they paint themselves to be, a picture the media allows them to perpetuate.

Mr. Horner tells this ugly story in detail and with wit and verve. How Americans deal with the global-warming hustle and with the industry that has built up to promote and defend it may determine the future of self-government. No free society would ever agree to the restrictions the alarmists are whooping up as a cure for global warming. “Red Hot Lies” is ammunition for the fight that’s sure to come.

Larry Thornberry is a writer living in Tampa.

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