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In the 1960s, we were warned that the population explosion would lead to mass global starvation. In the 1970s, we were warned that the planet was running out of natural resources and that world economic growth would grind to a halt within our lifetimes. When the planet's temperature, which had been gently rising for some 400 years, appeared to be falling again, scientists warned us that we were facing the disaster of a new ice age. In the past year, sensational warnings about climate change have dominated the headlines as we are told that global warming will have disastrous consequences in the very near future unless we take drastic measures now.
In this cautious and reasoned treatise on an issue that effects each and every one of us, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, argues that it is time to take a cooler look at global warming. Lord Lawson looks at the facts behind the headlines and explains that science is only part of the story. For governments to make informed decisions about the path ahead they must listen to economists as well as scientists, utilising economic forecasting to assess the likely evolution of the world economy, and even more urgently, economic analysis: what is the most cost-effective way of tackling this issue? We also need an understanding of exactly what measures are politically realistic on a global scale.
Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, served in the Thatcher administration between 1979 and 1990 in the constituency of Blaby, Leicestershire. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer between June 1983 and October 1989. He has written about global warming in The Times and Prospect, and presented a lecture on the subject to the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank in 2006. He lives in France.
"Splendid [...] elegantly written, thorough, entertaining and, above all, convincing"
– Financial Times
"Clear, analytical and compelling"
"This is a fascinating tome, the best exposition of the sceptical view on global warming that I have yet come across. It is comprehensive, packed with useful and clearly referenced facts and refreshingly free of the fanatical tone that plagues so many works on the subject"
– Literary Review
"It is intensely refreshing to find in Nigel Lawson someone who, without claiming to have all the answers, is at least brave enough to ask eminently sensible questions"
"Only one senior political figure in Britain has dared stand apart from [the] stifling orthodoxy: Nigel Lawson"
– The Telegraph
"A valuable antidote to the sloppiness surrounding climate change. This short book forces a rethink not only of some of the more alarmist predictions of global warming theory, but also of the fundamental underpinnings of the theory itself"
– The Mail on Sunday
"I'm dismayed to discover that I agree with considerable amounts of what Lawson is saying"
– Sunday Times