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..