The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming


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About the Book

Global warming is vastly overrated as an environmental threat, argue leading climatologists Patrick J. Michaels and Robert Balling, Jr. Former Vice President Gore staked much of his career on a largely mythical problem, they write.

The Satanic Gases marshals an impressive array of scientific data, studies, and analyses that argue, cogently and consistently, that the initial forecasts of rapid global warming were simply wrong. But, perhaps more important, the book points out that attempts to “fix” the forecast by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are even more misguided than the original projections.

The authors argue that the jury is already in on global warming, and the verdict is a modest heating over the 21st century—very similar to what occurred during the last third of the 20th century. The vast majority of warming will take place in the winter, and within that season, the coldest, deadliest air masses will show the greatest change. The final third of the last century saw the greatest improvements in food supply, wealth, and longevity of life ever experienced. Some improvements actually resulted from changes in the earth’s natural greenhouse effect and others were totally insensitive to temperature. The authors argue that it is virtually impossible to reverse all of that progress with only a continued slow warming of the planet.

Unlike every other book on global warming, The Satanic Gases places the issue in its proper social and scientific context. Citing the pioneering work of historian of science Thomas Kuhn and economist James Buchanan, Michaels and Balling demonstrate that it was inevitable that global warming would be distorted by the political sphere and that most scientists would either stand mute or actually assist in that process. But, the authors argue, such distortions in science are always temporary, and inevitably the scientific community will concede that earlier forecasts dramatically exaggerated the threat of global warming.

About the Authors

Patrick J. Michaels is a senior fellow of the Cato Institute and research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. Robert C. Balling, Jr. is director of the Laboratory of Climatology at Arizona State University and the author of The Heated Debate: Greenhouse Predictions Versus Climate Reality, (Pacific Research Institute, 1992).

What Others Have Said

“This book is wonderfully complete and timely. Michaels and Balling provide a compelling account of how the scientific reality of the effects of the rising level of atmospheric carbon dioxide on climate, human welfare, food production, and the earth’s biological productivity are being distorted by the political process.”
—Sylvan Wittwer, Former Chairman, Board on Agriculture, National Research Council

“This lucid book by two climatologists dealing with the present status of our understanding of global warming should be read by every scientist and layman who has an interest in the topic, particularly if they have been led to believe that we face a potentially enormous catastrophe of human origin. Michaels and Balling demonstrate that the ongoing influence of human activity on climate will probably lie will within manageable bounds.”
—Frederick Seitz, President Emeritus, Rockefeller University; Past President, National Academy of Sciences

“Michaels and Balling present a strong, well-informed contrarians’ view of climate change. After reviewing the climate-change issue, the principles of climate, and the nature, limitations, and assumptions of various climate models, they… make a strong, well-referenced case for their conclusion that climate change will be relatively small and benign, and that the Kyoto Protocol is ill advised.”
—Dallas L. Peck, Director Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey


Publication Date: 
January 1, 2000