THE HEAT IS ON by Ross Gelbspan


The High Stakes Battle Over Earth's Threatened Climate
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 Old-fashioned muckraking against ``big oil and big coal'' meets new scientific theories on global warming. Forest fires rage through Mongolia and Texas. Killer heat waves fell hundreds in Calcutta and Chicago. Floods consume Nepal and Oman. Deserts form in Greece and Spain. These and countless other alarming recent incidents form the backdrop for Gelbspan's impassioned, if perhaps too alarmist, book. Gelbspan, a veteran reporter with such papers as the Washington Post and the Boston Globe and a Pulitzer Prize winner, wants the reader to know about these harbingers of disaster; he opens with a dire scenario about the melting of the Antarctic ice cap after the greenhouse effect heats up the planet's surface enough to alter normal weather cycles. ``The truth underlying the increasingly apparent changes in global climate has largely been kept out of public view,'' Gelbspan argues. Why? Precisely, he continues, because the multitrillion-dollar oil and gas industries have conspired to keep that truth hidden. He goes on to examine the energy industries' financing of reports that deny the disappearance of the ozone layer and other manifestations of human-caused climatic change, charging that the science in those reports is tainted by big money. Gelbspan's own command of science sometimes seems a little fuzzy, and the reader is left to judge just how evil the energy companies' acting out of clear self-interest really is, but it all adds up to an interesting polemic. And Gelbspan gives a good account of alternative-energy programs, which he urges be given greater funding priority; with the proper tax incentives, he maintains, ``climate-friendly energy technologies could instantly become competitive with fossil fuels.'' Is the sky falling? After reading this book, you might be inclined to think so.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-201-13295-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997


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