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The parrot and the igloo : climate and the science of denial
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Library Journal Review
A National Magazine Award--winning, New York Times best-selling author, Lipsky explains how antiscience sentiment became so strong in the United States by focusing on climate change denial. He lays bare the science of climate change, understood decades ago, then shows how fake news about products like aspirin created the tools for denier ideas to take hold.
Publishers Weekly Review
Humor accompanies horrific truths in this vital look at the rise of climate change denial. With dry wit and novelistic flair, National Magazine Award winner Lipsky (Absolutely American) chronicles how harnessing electricity changed the world, then charts growing public awareness of electricity and fossil fuels' contributions to climate change. After covering the innovations of Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and George Westinghouse, Lipsky fast-forwards to describe how the climate became a political issue, from concerns over air pollution to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency to the 2006 Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The most revelatory section illuminates corporate disinformation campaigns as Lipsky points out how climate denialism borrowed tactics that the tobacco industry used to push back on science linking smoking with lung cancer, notably the strategy of rebuking scientific consensus by calling for more research. Lipsky adopts an offbeat style ("Arrange all farewells and balloons no later than 2069," he deadpans about a biologist's tongue-in-cheek prediction of apocalypse), and his perspective on how diverse cultural and political forces have contributed to inaction on climate change is sobering and incisive. Buoyed by thorough historical research, this is a first-rate entry in the field of climate denial studies. (Jan.)
Booklist Review
This tome by award-winning author Lipsky takes the reader on a journey through the evolution of climate-change denial--including how cancer-denial strategies and lobbying by tobacco companies paved the way for its brand of scientific obfuscation--and how it has prevented legislative action. Lipsky covers the science of climate change itself, starting with the discovery of the greenhouse effect in 1824. In 1956, scientist Roger Revelle wrote a piece for Time magazine that confirmed that burning fossil fuel increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the results over time cause climate change. Sadly, even in 1965, the Washington Post postulated why no action on climate change would occur when it stated that it is not owing to lack of knowledge but "inability to turn knowledge into effective public action." The major deniers would ultimately fall by the wayside, but the lack of response persists. With the amount of research that went into this book, this can be considered the historical record to date on climate action and inaction.
Kirkus Review
An exploration of the history of climate change denial. In this simultaneously captivating and disturbing book, Lipsky, a professor at NYU and National Magazine Award winner, explores the history of climate change--and those who deny that it is largely human-made--over the past 70 years. The author begins by sharing stories of the inventors who sparked the technological advances that, without their knowledge, triggered the climate problems we face today, primarily Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla. Lipsky then moves on to the scientists who identified carbon dioxide as the culprit and brought the problem to the world's attention. Of course, climate change is not a new concept--"by the mid-fifties, the science was already well understood"--but early predictions were a "gross underestimate" of the situation, particularly because fossil fuel use grew more quickly than anticipated. Lipsky also lays out how denial and lies related to climate change are as strong as ever. In the 1950s and '60s, the New York Timesran dozens of articles about climate change, but by the late 1980s, climate change "would seem an idea hatched by environmentalists." The author paints a clear, damning portrait of leaders in the energy sector who have repeatedly failed to take responsibility for the effects of their actions, even seeding doubt and deception where possible. Furthermore, politicians on both sides of the aisle have pushed their own agendas, focused on problems they felt were more pressing, and never taken concrete action to mitigate the destructive effects of climate change. "The climate doesn't care about politics, or experts, or warnings, and isn't even aware there are people," writes Lipsky. "We have our days and lists and hours, our schedules and emergencies; but the climate keeps its own time." As of 2021, notes the author, 19 of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. An important book that will leave your head shaking. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In 1956, the New York Times prophesied that once global warming really kicked in, we could see parrots in the Antarctic. In 2010, when science deniers had control of the climate story, Senator James Inhofe and his family built an igloo on the Washington Mall and plunked a sign on top: AL GORE'S NEW HOME: HONK IF YOU LOVE CLIMATE CHANGE. In The Parrot and the Igloo, best-selling author David Lipsky tells the astonishing story of how we moved from one extreme (the correct one) to the other.

With narrative sweep and a superb eye for character, Lipsky unfolds the dramatic narrative of the long, strange march of climate science. The story begins with a tale of three inventors--Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla--who made our technological world, not knowing what they had set into motion. Then there are the scientists who sounded the alarm once they identified carbon dioxide as the culprit of our warming planet. And we meet the hucksters, zealots, and crackpots who lied about that science and misled the public in ever more outrageous ways. Lipsky masterfully traces the evolution of climate denial, exposing how it grew out of early efforts to build a network of untruth about products like aspirin and cigarettes.

Featuring an indelible cast of heroes and villains, mavericks and swindlers, The Parrot and the Igloo delivers a real-life tragicomedy--one that captures the extraordinary dance of science, money, and the American character.

Table of Contents
Part 1Inventors
The Message3
The Hustler12
The Promise24
The Electrician32
The Jubilee40
Part 2Scientists
The Wayward Wind53
The Soda Machine63
The Tire Prints and the Smoke Menace70
The Geophysical Experiment73
The Overwhelming Desire80
The Fine Noses86
The Moles95
The Brakes and the Indian100
The Yamal and the Fence-Come North with Me108
The Global Computer Model117
The Wood Chips and the Malaise121
The Frog129
The Unwarranted and Alarmist Report134
The Undoing of Thomas Midgley139
The Undoing II-Red Days147
The Home of Donna Reed152
The Pirate159
The Pilot Lights and Somebody's World169
Mark Mills177
Part 3Deniers
Old Judge, or Tobacco Killed a Cat195
Stockings and Chairs201
A Scientific Gymnastic Feat209
Wall of Flesh214
Simple Annihilation218
> First Class226
Philosophers and Priests233
A Czarina Enjoys the Corporate Christmas Party243
Emperor of the Universe255
Who Digested the Scientists?262
Millions of Guinea Pigs271
Committee on the Care of Children284
An Exceptional Case292
"Arthur Robinson Is a Good Scientist"-Arthur Robinson297
Arthur and the World306
Jason Bourne's Crestfallen Itinerary313
An Unexpected Gift322
Editing Turns the Mild into Weather Gods330
ASS and Chair341
Glengarry Glen Monckton354
The Business Cards and the Straight Noodle369
Epilogue: The Parrot and the Igloo
The Igloo405
The Parrot451
A Note on the Sources479
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