Title: Beating the Heat: Why and How We Must Combat Global Warming
Author: John J. Berger
Published: 2000

Overview: Beating the Heat is a book that could be a great introduction to global warming for beginners. This book will provide you with answers to the basic questions that cause heated debates. The book describes the causes of climate change, its consequences, and most important, what can be done to prevent them.

Detail: Beating the Heat begins with an interesting idea: the author presents how the world could look in 2100 through the eyes of a journalist who travels around the world describing the climate changes that would have occurred over the next 100 years. Berger claims that scenarios described by his imaginary journalist are very likely to happen. According to the author, in the next 100 years we should expect, for example, that northeastern forests will be infested with pests and diseases, huge areas of Arctic ice will melt, and New Orleans as well as the Nile Delta will sink because of the rising sea levels. In further chapters he explains how the climate works (what greenhouse gases are, the sun’s impact on the atmosphere, etc.). He estimates the economic costs in the next century of not taking action now (economic predictions suggests that the developed nations will suffer annual damages equal to 1-3% of their collective Gross Natural Product, if carbon dioxide doubles). Berger lists the names of scientists and institutions funded by coal or oil industries who oppose any environmental regulations, claiming that global warming is not a problem. Dr. S. Fred Singer (funded by Exxon, Shell, Unocal, ARCO, Sun Oil), and Dr. Pat Michaels (recipient of at least $165,000 from coal and other energy interests) are the most prominent environmental skeptics. The book provides us with several propositions for individual actions, as well as a list of steps which governments must take in order to prevent further warming. Some suggestions of personal input include buying a hybrid or installing dimmer switches. On a state level, Berger suggests that state legislatures should implement various forms of tax credits. For example, he suggests giving producers of electricity from nonpolluting energy sources generous energy production tax credits or incentive payments, or providing expanded tax credits that stimulate investment in certified renewable energy technologies.

Three Points of Personal Interest:

1. The “Global Warming Petition” is a document signed by U.S. scientists who argue that global warming is a myth. Theoretically signed by 17,000 scientists, in practice, it listed among others author John Grisham, and one of the Spice Girls.

2.”Greening Earth Society” is an organization that claims that global warming is beneficial for the environment. But don’t be confused by the name, it is not an environmentally friendly group. It is a project of the Western Fuels Association. The “environmental” name is to confuse the observer and hide the group’s real goal, which is to diminish and deny the role of the fuel industry in affecting global warming.

3. Did you know that you can call your representative through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask about issues that concern you? You can also comment on Administration policies through the White House Comment Line – (202) 456-1111.