I just finished listening to Michael Crichton's "State of Fear." It's a challenging book much in the same way that Dan Brown's book the Da Vinci Code is.
Crichton challenges many of the assumptions of global warming. In fact the book spends much of its time lecturing us on how wrong global warming theories are.
Challenging all of Crichton's assumptions is well beyond the scope of my blog. If you are interested in some of the challenges to Crichton's theories, I suggest reading the "State of Fear" review by Dr. Jeffrey M. Masters.
I give Crichton credit for attempting to weave what is obviously to him a very important bit of personal philosophy into an action-thriller novel. I also give him credit for taking the initiative to educate himself on the Global Warming issue, something that I believe all citizens should do (if you've got 10 minutes, a good place to start is the latest scientific summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of over 2000 scientists from 100 countries working under a mandate from the United Nations in the largest peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history). However, "State of Fear" is a disappointment both as an action-thriller novel, and as a credible source of science on the Global Warming issue.
Listening to "State of Fear" brought to find some other accepted "facts" such as the population bomb. It turns out the its more of a fizzle than a bomb. According to this article, "The Fizzling Population Bomb," things are slowing down.
In the 44 developed countries, which account for 19% of the world population, the fertility rate is now running at only 1.56 children per woman. The report also notes that in 15 countries, mostly located in Southern and Eastern Europe, fertility rates are now below 1.3 children per woman, a level so low as to be "unprecedented in human history."
Of course population isn't going to drop any time soon.
World population growth continues to slow down, with a projected figure of 9.1 billion in 2050, up from today's 6.5 billion.
All of this points out that we need to carefully examine our assumptions on a lot of issues. While Crichton might be wrong on some of his points, he got some of them right according to Dr. Jeffrey M. Masters.
On the positive side, Crichton does emphasize the little-appreciated fact that while most of the world has been warming the past few decades, most of Antarctica has seen a cooling trend. The Antarctic ice sheet is actually expected in increase in mass over the next 100 years due to increased precipitation