The Heartland Institute is distributing a handbook for deniers of global warming. Spoiler alert: The book’s message is to dismantle the EPA.
“Rooster” is a thinly veiled euphemism for Chicken Little. It comes from a story about a 19th-century tribe that self-destructs out of fear of colonization. To author Rael Jean Isaac, this primitive South African tribe represents modern-day believers in the threats of human-caused climate change, led by the “environmental movement” and “media elite” who are in league to drive up the costs of energy and siphon taxpayer subsidies into private hands.
The Xhosa tribe’s tale ironically fits the culture of climate change skeptics much better. The tribe killed all of its cattle and destroyed its food and crops, on the baseless advice of its witch doctors. Instead of taking action to prevent or mitigate the incursion of evil (British invaders), the tribe believed an irrational few, whose advice led to the demise of its people.
Roosters of the Apocalypse compiles the usual evidence against climate action, even those arguments that are outdated, into one handy guide. Confirmation bias — the tendency to look for evidence in support of existing beliefs, and to ignore or misinterpret evidence to the contrary — is the daily bread of those who defend a destructive but self-enriching status quo.
The author relies heavily on scandals such as Climategate and Solyndra that have long since been put into perspective. She tosses in the question of preindustrial warming, the mysterious failure of Antarctic ice to melt, Al Gore’s hypocrisy, the argument that carbon dioxide is benign, and the suggestion that global warming is actually good for us. Seek and ye shall find.
By way of proof, Isaac frequently cites third parties rather than original sources, primarily referencing a handful of other authors of denial books and blogs. So much of the book is literally self-referential that the footnotes are amusing reading in their own right. Isaac cites her own works and other Heartland Institute publications at least 40 times in the book’s 88 pages.
In chapter 7, “Confronting Global Warming Roosters,” I expected to find marching orders for deniers. But the author basically confesses that “tangling with the environmental lobby and its reflexive media allies” is hopeless at the moment. Instead she suggests reasons to dismantle the “overreaching” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because: “In short, the EPA is staking out its right to regulate everything we do on the ecological principle that ‘everything is connected to everything else.’”
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. Hundreds of qualified climate scientists, the majority of them, publishing reams of peer-reviewed studies, have a point: The sky could actually be falling.
Author: Rael Jean Isaac has a Ph.D. in sociology from the City University of New York. Her M.A. is in English literature. This is her sixth book.
Publisher: The Heartland Institute is a nonprofit think tank that promotes climate change skepticism. Founded in 1984 by Chicago investor David H. Padden, the Heartland Institute seeks to influence policies that have national and international impact. It does not disclose its donors, but recently leaked documents imply ties to several companies. Some of the companies identified have since announced that they will halt their funding. Despite Heartland’s 501(c)(3) status, it claims to have more than 200 elected officials at its service and that it “contacts more elected officials, more often, than any other think tank in the United States.”
Roosters of the Apocalypse: How the Junk Science of Global Warming Nearly Bankrupted the Western World by Rael Jean Isaac. February 24, 2012. Paperback. 113 pages. ISBN 1934791377.
Book reviews in Energy Priorities express the opinions of the reviewers.