Still riding high on a stellar talk delivered last night in Toronto by David Suzuki in which he both predicted imminent environmental collapse unless people change their ways right now and condemned the mainstream media’s failure to deem scientific evidence of this collapse as newsworthy, In Other Media was disconcerted to find that petroleum associations can indeed give prizes for journalism. The donor, in this case, is the American Association of Petroleum Geologists; the recipient is science fiction author Michael Crichton for his book State of Fear, a book that, according to The New York Times, “dismisses global warming as a largely imaginary threat embraced by malignant scientists for their own ends.”
The world’s leading scientists have been sounding climate change alarms for quite some time. In 1992, some 1,700 scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued a document entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, which predicted disasters on many fronts, many caused by climate change. Malignant Nobel Prize-winners? Well, I guess it could happen.
Here’s what some malignant scientists had to say about Crichton’s award in the Times: “When the book was published in 2004, climate experts condemned it as dangerously divorced from reality…. The book is ‘demonstrably garbage,’ Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford climatologist, said in an interview yesterday. Petroleum geologists may like it, he said, but only because ‘they are ideologically connected to their product, which fills the gas tanks of Hummers.
“Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist who directs the Harvard University Center for the Environment, called the award ‘a total embarrassment’ that he said ‘reflects the politics of the oil industry and a lack of professionalism’ on the association’s part.
“As for the book, he added, ‘I think it is unfortunate when somebody who has the audience that Crichton has shows such profound ignorance.”
For his part, Larry Nation of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, is actually quoted to have said of Crichton’s book, “It is fiction…. But it has the absolute ring of truth.”