Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years 2007 by Fred Singer is possibly the best selling global warming skeptic book. It’s a pity it’s largely so silly. The book pushes a theory that every 1500 years or so global temperatures shoot up due every 1500 plus or minus 500 years. The fact that the ‘cycle’ has such a huge variance is a pretty good indicator that the whole thing is dubious.
The book is four parts, the first looking at the 1500 year cycle, the second on climate predication, the third on baseless fears about global warming and the fourth on the response to global warming.
The pity about the book is that it presents some information well but also includes obvious errors. The chapters on temperature and precipitation reconstruction are really interesting. This is where the global warming proponents suddenly become skeptics. Here the ‘consensus’ as much as there is one, is on the side of the skeptics. The IPCC 1990 report had a medieval warm period. Until the recent statistical reconstructions of Mann, Briffa, Jones and a few others the view was that there was considerable, varied evidence for this. There is a myriad of data from all over the world that shows that the climate was considerably different, possibly by 2 degrees, around 1000 AD. The chapter in the book dealing with these studies has an appreciation for how clever many of the measurements were and presents their general conclusion well.
The parts of the book that deal with the connection between the sun and temperature are also interesting. There remarkable correlation between sunspots and Little Ice Age and other evidence that shows that the sun plays an important role in the earth’s climate are also shown. The parts on the likely results of global warming are also good. The weak claims about species extinction, rising storms and more droughts are examined well.
But the books enormous claim is what brings the book down. The way to show the weaknesses of a contentious prediction is not to introduce an even less well supported claim. Temperature does appear to change, the sun does appear to have something to do with it as does C02. We don’t have great information beyond that. Global warming is proceeding at a fairly leisurely rate of 0.16 C since the 1970s. This is cause for some concern, but not for the exclamations of End of Times that the Environmental movement has made it out to be. If the book left things at that, as the far better Climate of Extremes does, it would be a much better book. As it stands, this book has a some interesting parts but on the whole is not a good read nor a solid book.
(Thanks to the assistance of Star the cat for helping write this review, who enjoyed my warm lap while it was written).