Book review : The New Climate War by Michael E Mann

Michael E Mann is a climate scientist who is famous for the hockey stick theory. He has been for a long time a target of attacks from conservatives and climate deniers. Very active on Twitter and providing very astute commentary on everything related to politics, climate science and many other topics,

I wanted to read his book to see what I could learn from it. Orignally published in 2020, I read the paperback version that was published in 2021, with mention to the pandemic and how it was uppending our lives.

I liked that book. The main caveat I have with it is that it offers very little insight or interest for readers outside of the US or Australia. Reading this in France, I was trying to find ways to make this relate to the reality experienced in my home country. I found some nuggets and tidbits that are applicable to what we are dealing with here :

Twitter can be a cesspool, especially since Elon Musk bought it and took over. We need systemics changes, and ending fossil fuels is the main one. This of course is not to the liking of Exxon, Total and other Big Oil companies. So to slow this vital transition down, they are pursuing various tactics, very well explained and exemplified by Professor Mann.

One of these is dividing and conquering. Green folks are being divided between the meat eaters and the vegans, the car owners and the cyclists, the folks using heat pumps vs the ones using wood stoves and so on. This is not useful at all for our energy transition.

I admit I quick read that book. Very useful as a social and political commentary, it felt short in quite a few ways. Unless I have missed it, energy efficiency and conservation are again scarcely mentioned as means to end the climate crises and reach carbon neutrality. It’s again all about renewables and EV. To me, this technosolutionism misses the mark as, again, we need to drastically change our societies. You may want to read this great review by Lloyd Atler on Treehugger for another view.

Image credits : Kutztown, PA, USA
by Shreyas Sane on Unsplash.

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