Do you ever have the experience of a book you’ve bought from abe or ebay turning up, and you can’t remember why you bought it? I got “The long-term impacts of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide” by MacDonald today (The Long-term Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels, By Gordon James MacDonald, Published by Ballinger, 1982, ISBN 088410902X, 9780884109020, 252 pages) , and thought “hmm thats interesting, but why *this* book?”. Now I’m at home, I can find the answer: its really the JASON report. Aha.
So how does it shape up? Well of course what I’ve done is a very quick browse through to see how it compares to Nierenberg, in particular I’ll compare it to what Brian picked out, namely exec summary 20(b) “We do not believe, however, that the evidence to hand about CO2-induced cliamte change would support steps to change current fuel-use patterns…”. This appears to be the best support we can find for Oreskes idea that the Nierenberg report was dangerously reactionary, after the truth-and-light from JASON.
JASONs (sorry, I’m going to call it JASON, not MacDonald et al.) overview conclusions (p13) include There exists a number of means by which the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide can be slowed if this becomes a desirable goal. . Hmmm… weeeelll… *if* this *becomes* a desirable goal: a clear implication there that it isn’t currently a desirable goal. If that had been in Nierenberg, Oreskes would have jumped on it.
Oh, just for fun, we also have In principle, carbon dioxide can be removed from stack gas for deep ocean disposal or deposited in old oil and gas fields. However, elementary considerations suggest that neither of these suggestions are economical in comparison with alternative, nuclear or solar, energy systems.
It continues: The potential changes to the world posed by altering the composition of the atmosphere appear substantial enough to justify a comprehensive research effort designed to reduce the many uncertainties discussed here. Which again carries the clear implication that although research was jsutified, action wasn’t, then.
It gets better in the preface… I suppose I should have started there but one often skips prefaces. xviii: There are numerous uncertainties about the direction and magnitude of anticipated changes. The benefits and costs of these changes to society will depend on the timing and magnitude of the changes and the appropriateness of human responses. Significant uncertainties exist… The uncertainties are great enough to suggest that now is not the proper moment to undertake far-reaching actions designed to mitigate potential effects of increasing CO2.
In other words, you can’t tell the JASON and Nierenberg reports apart. OCS is nonsense.
[Thanks to those who have pointed out that N was an author of the JASON report (one of 14 in fact). It makes no difference, of course.]
Related: Book club: Nierenberg. Part II: Future CO2; Book club: Nierenberg. Part I: introduction; From Chicken Little to Dr. Pangloss: William Nierenberg, Global Warming, and the Social Deconstruction of Scientific Knowledge by Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway and Matthew Shindell; Last Word on Oreskes, Chicken Little by Atmoz (internet archive). And of course Nicolas Nierenberg‘s site.