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The State of Fear

The time is ripe to change the climate of fear | Camilla Cavendish - Times Online

We can create green-collar jobs, cut fuel bills and boost small businesses if we reject science fiction and accept real science

The death of Michael Crichton deprives us of a hugely entertaining and elegant writer, who infuriated people who should have loved him by becoming a prominent nay-sayer of global warming. Crichton's 2004 bestselling novel, State of Fear, portrayed climate change as a hoax. ..It is a testament to the power of his plot - and his copious footnotes - that many people read this as science, not science fiction.

..the author appeared before a Senate committee to argue that global warming science was mixed at best. He also believed that second-hand cigarette smoke was not a health hazard and that DDT should not have been banned. He railed eloquently against environmentalism as a religion of choice for urban atheists, who cleansed their “energy sins” in organic communion with “pesticide-free wafers”. He was essentially a libertarian, a position to which I am always sympathetic and which proved popular with those who feared - not wholly without reason - that the Kyoto Protocol was cooked up by European socialists bent on bringing down capitalism.

What his passing makes me realise is what an extraordinary intellectual shift there has been since 2004. We feel that financial markets have moved at warp speed. But so has thinking on the climate. Partly owing to new scientific discoveries, and partly because of the emergence of more market-based solutions, almost no one now denies the problem. We are still doing nothing, but with a new justification: recession.

So we are still living in a State of Fear, though a different one, and it is still fiction. There is a huge financial upside to shifting away from fossil fuels, just as there was from abandoning the horse and carriage. If Barack Obama gets his way we could see the unleashing of a green revolution which will lift the economy.

Obama or Crichton? I know which one I trust more and which one peddles make-believe..


Michael Crichton: a great loss, I was/am a huge fan.

But, as you say, we have to seperate fact from fiction.

"He also believed that second-hand cigarette smoke was not a health hazard and that DDT should not have been banned."

And her point is?


Is this the same woman who campaigned so bravely (but so far, without effect) for the family kangaroo-courts to be opened up to public scrutiny?

What a tragic waste of her talents.

Not wishing to fisk the whole thing, one must at least draw attention to this: "There is a huge financial upside to shifting away from fossil fuels"

A financial UPside? Would she care to point it out? Surely not that old chestnut about "creating jobs" in the manufacture of e.g. windmills etc? Can anyone think of anything else she might mean?

As for new scientific discoveries meaning that "almost no-one now denies the problem", does she mean the scientific discovery that Arctic sea-ice is 30% more now than last year? The scientific discovery that CO2 has continued to increase but temperature has not? The scientific discovery that Sunspot cycle 24 is years late? The scientific discovery that we've just had the first October snowfall in London since 1922?

If not those, what discoveries does she mean? I only ask because I want to know.

The upward trajectory of the global warming trajectory has ceased. Like any ballistic object, gravity (here in the form of actual measurements) has been clawing at it, and it will shortly start heading downwards.

As for Cavendish's witless assertion that the green mania will 'create' jobs: I'm sure it will, but as the Worstall never tires of pointing out, jobs are a cost of such schemes, not a benefit.

I've read about 5 obituraries for Crighton in the national newspapers. Only 2 deigned to mention 'State of Fear'.

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