A solid work of environmental reportage from the front lines of cap-and-trade, the Kyoto Protocol, carbon sequestration and other weighty matters.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek deputy editor Pooley sympathizes with the initial doubts about climate change. “You didn’t have to be a conservative to be an armchair skeptic,” he writes. “[A]nyone would prefer it not to be real.” Against the reality of this change, chronicled by the most august scientific organizations, is a body of naysayers whom the author collectively dubs the “Denialosphere.” This loosely organized cabal of deniers, whose founding members “saw themselves as flinty truth tellers trying to stop the world from adopting solutions they hated in response to a problem they didn’t think existed,” an attitude that prevails to this day, rarely included a trained scientist. Most were insurance agents and public-relations executives, with an occasional civil engineer for leavening. Somehow this noisy crew inserted itself into the legislative process, happily aided and abetted during the disastrous years of the science-hating Bush administration. Against them stood—and stands—not just those scientists, but a rather motley crew of activists, such as a young dreadlocked leftie named Anthony Jones who became a standard-bearer of the green-jobs movement. Pooley’s account is light on hard science, but his focus is politics—and that politics is often impossibly bizarre, featuring remote policy wonks and deep corporate pockets, among them sleazy executives who once “fought the ban on workplace smoking” and are now trying to save the planet from the planet-savers.
A well-written Primary Colors for the environmentalist set.