The New Climate War book cover

The New Environment War

Michael E. Mann

Public Affairs, $29

Sometime around the 5th century B.C., the Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu wrote in his highly quotable treatise The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred fights.”

In The New Environment War, environment scientist Michael Mann channels Sun Tzu to demystify the myriad techniques of “the enemy”– in this case, “the nonrenewable fuel source companies, conservative plutocrats and oil-funded federal governments” and other forces standing in the method of large-scale action to combat climate change. “Any prepare for success requires recognizing and defeating the methods now being utilized by inactivists as they continue to wage war,” he composes.

Mann is a veteran of the environment wars of the 1990 s and early 2000 s, when the scientific proof that the environment is altering due to human emissions of greenhouse gases was under attack. Now, with the effects of environment modification all around us ( SN: 12/21/20), we are in a brand-new stage of those wars, he argues. Outright denial has changed into “deceptiveness, distraction and hold-up.”

Such strategies, he says, are direct descendants of earlier public relations fights over whether manufacturers or consumers must bear ultimate responsibility for, state, smoking-related deaths. When it pertains to the environment, Mann cautions, an overemphasis on specific actions might eclipse efforts to achieve the real prize: industrial-scale emissions reductions.

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He pulls no punches, calling out sources of “friendly fire” from climate advocates who he states divide the environment neighborhood and play into the “enemy’s” hands. These advocates consist of environment purists who lambaste scientists for flying or consuming meat; science communicators who push fatalistic visions of devastating futures; and optimistic technocrats who promote for dangerous, pie-in-the-sky geoengineering concepts.

The New Climate War‘s primary focus is to combat mental warfare, and on this front, the book is fascinating and frequently entertaining.

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