A Review: The Sky's Not Falling! - Why It's OK to Chill about Global Warming A children's book by Holly Fretwell
By taking the "scare" out of the scare campaign being waged by Al Gore and the IPCC, this short but powerful book provides an outstanding introduction to climate change and global warming for both children and adults.
At 126 pages (including references) in soft cover, The Sky's Not Falling! is a quick read that will provide a good introduction to climate change and global warming for both children and adults. The book has six chapters: (1) Is Earth Really Getting Hotter?; (2) Global Temperatures Go Up and Down -- Naturally!; (3) What about Warmer Weather Is Wacky?; (4) Why Kyoto's a No-Go; (5) New Ideas to Rock Your World; and, (6) How to Become an "Enviropreneur." A brief section describes the book's content followed by the story of "Chicken Little" and how it relates to the Climate Change/Global Warming hysteria (Al Gore: Pay attention to this part!).
The content of the book is presented in basic terms that any child of an age capable of learning about Earth Science can comprehend. For this reason, it is also an excellent introduction to the topic for adults who've never really had an interest or education in the sciences and who may have to rely on news stories, headlines, and mainstream media sources for their information. Those who have experienced the hysterical fear-mongering on this topic by Al Gore will find this to be a refreshing change of pace. The book carefully guides the reader through the issue in a rational, easily understood approach to understanding why in recent years subject-matter expert scientists are increasingly becoming skeptical of the validity of the theory that humans are capable of significant impact on Earth's climate.
Each chapter has a number of "Fun Fact"s in page margins that help expand understanding of related subjects. For example, a "Fun Fact" in the first chapter discusses why computer models are not the ultimate authority when it comes to future climate change. It reads, "A computer will unquestionably use the data it's given. If a person programs into a computer that blue and yellow make orange and then tells the computer to paint an orange tiger, the computer will paint a green tiger. The computer doesn't know any better!" This relates to a discussion of the limitations of computer models that attempt to simulate climate to predict future climate. These facts help the reader understand the reasons why many question the strong reliance on computer simulations where the underlying science is poorly understood and, therefore, cannot possibly be adequately programmed into a simulation.
Illustrations, pictures and charts are all easily understood and help the reader understand the material being discussed. The content was developed with the help of subject-matter experts including highly-regarded atmospheric and climate scientists, Dr. Timothy Ball and Dr. Richard Lindzen.
Fretwell does an excellent job of presenting a complex subject in terms that anyone can understand. By putting current indications of climate change into proper perspective, the reader can understand why many people, including many top scientists, reject the theory that humans are causing catastrophic climate change in the form of global warming.
While the book is excellent, there were a few instances where a soft approach was taken to the point of failing to be entirely accurate. Possibly the author was deliberately trying to pull her punches. For example, in Chapter Two, "Global Temperatures Go Up And Down - Naturally!" there are two instances of "too soft" an approach. In the first (page 21) a discussion about ice core data from Antarctica concludes, "If the temperature changed before the carbon dioxide levels rose, carbon dioxide levels are probably not the cause of the temperature change." It would be perfectly accurate to replace "probably" with "certainly" since it requires a huge leap of imagination to believe that rising carbon dioxide in the present could explain past climate warming! On this point, Al Gore knowingly misrepresented the ice core data in his movie (An Inconvenient Truth) when he led viewers to believe that the history of atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature lead to the inescapable conclusion that temperature changes were brought about by changes in carbon dioxide. Before Gore's movie was filmed, scientists had already made a sufficiently detailed examination of the data to conclude that changes in carbon dioxide preceded temperature changes. Later in the same chapter (on page 23), Fretwell writes "the Earth warmed more slowly between 1940 and 1975" when, as is almost universally agreed, global temperatures during that time were actually dropping (leading in the late 1970s to scientists' predictions of a coming Ice Age). These are minor points in an otherwise outstanding presentation of the overall issue of human activity and climate change.
As a good introduction to the topic of climate change and whether human activity is causing significant global warming, The Sky's Not Falling! is highly recommended for both children and adults.
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Bob Webster is a descendent of Daniel Webster's father and early American patriot, Ebenezer Webster. Bob has always had a strong interest in history, our Constitution, U.S. politics and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican ("little r" republican) with objectivist and libertarian roots, he has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for every high school student so they can understand the dangers of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.