The Real Global Warming Disaster

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The Real Global Warming Disaster
Real Global Warming Disaster book cover.jpg
Cover of the book
Author Christopher Booker
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Climate change
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Continuum
Publication date
17 October 2009
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 368 pages
ISBN 1-4411-1052-6

The Real Global Warming Disaster (Is the Obsession with 'Climate Change' Turning Out to Be the Most Costly Scientific Blunder in History?) is a 2009 book by English journalist and author Christopher Booker in which he asserts that global warming can not be attributed to humans, and then alleges how the scientific opinion on climate change was formulated.

From a standpoint of environmental scepticism, Booker seeks to combine an analysis of the science of global warming with the consequences of political decisions to reduce CO
emissions and claims that, as governments prepare to make radical changes in energy policies, the scientific evidence for global warming is becoming increasingly challenged. He asserts that global warming is not supported by a significant number of climate scientists, and criticises how the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presents evidence and data, in particular citing its reliance on potentially inaccurate global climate models to make temperature projections. Booker concludes, "it begins to look very possible that the nightmare vision of our planet being doomed"[1] may be imaginary, and that, if so, "it will turn out to be one of the most expensive, destructive, and foolish mistakes the human race has ever made".[1]

The book's claims were strongly criticised by science writer Philip Ball,[2] but the book was praised by several columnists. The book opens with an erroneous quotation,[3] which Booker subsequently acknowledged and promised to correct in future editions.[4]

The book was Amazon UK's fourth bestselling environment book of the decade 2000–10.[5]


The book consists of three parts and an epilogue.

Booker sums up the book's contents in a long epilogue, which quotes Theseus in A Midsummer's Night Dream:

In the night, imagining some fear, How easy is a bush supposed a bear

Booker contends that in this quote Shakespeare is identifying that "when we are not presented with enough information for our minds to resolve something into certainty, they may be teased into exaggerating it into something quite different from what it really is".[6]


The book received a mixed reception in the media.

In his review in The Observer, Philip Ball wrote that the book was "the definitive climate sceptics' manual" in that it makes an uncritical presentation of "just about every criticism ever made of the majority scientific view" on global warming. Though expressing "a queer kind of admiration for the skill and energy with which Booker has assembled his polemic", Ball called the claims made by the author "bunk". Ball also criticised Booker's tactic of introducing global warming sceptics "with a little eulogy to their credentials, while their opponents receive only a perfunctory, if not disparaging, preamble".[2]

In The Spectator, Rodney Leach wrote that "the shelf of sceptical books keeps filling and Booker's belongs there with the best", remarking that Booker "narrates this story with the journalist's pace and eye for telling detail and the historian's forensic thoroughness which have made him a formidable opponent of humbug".[7] Columnist James Delingpole described the book as "another of those classics which any even vaguely intelligent person who wants to know what's really going on needs to read".[8]

Writing in The Herald, Brian Morton was largely sympathetic to the position taken by Booker in the book: "The question isn't whether climate is changing, but what is to blame. A crippling tithe of international political effort and social action is directed to the assumption that we are", and "the climate change debate—or enforced consensus—concerns the way science is done and perceived. As Booker says, 'consensus' is not a term in science but in politics".[9]

A positive review by Henry Kelly in The Irish Times, referring to the book as "meticulously researched, provocative and challenging",[10] was criticised by Irish environmental campaigner and website founder John Gibbons, who said that the decision by The Irish Times to allow Kelly to review The Real Global Warming Disaster was part of a recent trend of "the media giving too much coverage to 'anti-science' climate change deniers and failing to convey the gravity of the threat, making readers and viewers apathetic".[11]

In The Scotsman, writer and environmentalist Sir John Lister-Kaye chose The Real Global Warming Disaster as one of his books of the year, writing that "though barely credible in places" this was an "important, brave book making and explaining many valid points".[12]

Houghton misquotation[edit]

The book opens with an incorrect quotation which wrongly attributes to John T. Houghton the words "Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen".[3] The publishers apologised for this misquotation, confirmed that it would not be repeated, and agreed to place a corrigendum in any further copies of the book. In an article which appeared in The Sunday Telegraph on 20 February 2010, Booker wrote "we shall all in due course take steps to correct the record, as I shall do in the next edition of my book".[4] Houghton felt that Booker continued to misstate his position regarding the role of disasters in policy making, and he referred the matter to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC Reference 101959), following whose involvement The Sunday Telegraph published on 15 August a letter of correction by Houghton stating his actual position, that adverse events shock people and thereby bring about change.[13] An article supportive of Houghton appeared in the New Scientist magazine.[14]

See also[edit]


  • Booker, Christopher (2009). The Real Global Warming Disaster. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. ISBN 1-4411-1052-6. 


  1. ^ a b Booker 2009, p. 342
  2. ^ a b Ball, Phillip (15 November 2009). "The Real Global Warming Disaster by Christopher Booker". The Observer. Retrieved 4 February 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b Connor, Steve (10 February 2010). "Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2010. The quotation has since become the iconic smoking gun of the climate sceptic community. The words are the very first to appear in the "manual" of climate denialism written by the journalist and arch-sceptic Christopher Booker. They get more than a 100,000 hits on Google, and are wheeled out almost every time a climate sceptic has a point to make [...]  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "independent" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b Booker, Christopher (20 February 2010). "What the weatherman never said". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Booker_retraction" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ Carrington, Damian (17 December 2010). "Bestselling green books of the decade". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Booker 2009, p. 341
  7. ^ Leach, Rodney (4 November 2009). "A wild goose chase". The Spectator. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Delingpole, James (28 October 2009). "You Know It Makes Sense". The Spectator. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  9. ^ Morton, Brian (3 November 2009). "Is a climate-change sceptic more like a flat-earther or a Holocaust denier, merely out of touch or mendacious and evil?". The Herald. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  10. ^ Kelly, Henry (19 November 2009). "Myths of global warming skilfully debunked". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Monaghan, Gabrielle (4 April 2010). "A little warming under the collar". The Times. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Lister-Kaye, John (5 December 2009). "Books of the year: Writers' choice". The Scotsman. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Letters". The Daily Telegraph. 15 August 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Giles, Jim (15 May 2010). "Giving life to a lie". New Scientist. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]