This is the story of the ban of my five-star review for the book “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet” and the warning I received from Amazon. I certainly ruffled some feathers just by paraphrasing some content from the book. I highly recommend the book by the way.
At the end of March, I received this email from Amazon:
One or more of your posts were found to be outside our guidelines. In order to help our customers make informed choices, we encourage them to review the product and contribute information about it. However, Community content that violate our guidelines or Conditions of Use will be removed.
Please consider this a first warning.
Before submitting your next post, please refer to our Customer Guidelines:
At first, I had no clue what post they were talking about. Then I realized that they had removed one of my reviews, for the book “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet”, after they had initially approved it and let it be displayed for a month. There are many ways to violate guidelines, and I did not understand what they were referring to. I got a warning, so this was fairly serious. So, I asked community help which guidelines were violated but I received no reply. After three attempts to no avail, I asked Amazon customer service the same question, explaining that I understood it is not their area of concern, but I wanted them to help me with getting an answer. They knew I was a very good long-time customer. They promised me that community help would return an answer within 24-48 hours as they are supposed to, but they didn’t.
After engaging Amazon customer service three more times community help finally got back to me telling me that I had violated community guidelines, which I already knew. After engaging Amazon customer service one more time and receiving an assurance of a reply they finally admitted/told me what the problem was. They considered my review to be very offensive and also warned me about posting something like it again. I did not understand why it was so offensive but at least I had received an answer, so I replied with a thank you and I gave them a good rating on the survey.
Me and my friends whom I shared the review with, could not see why the review was so offensive so it is still a bit of mystery. I am certainly not going to try to repost the review on Amazon, that’s like asking to be banned. However, no one can stop me from posting it here, or on Barnes & Noble.
I liked the book in question, that was not the problem. I think that the problem was that the book discussed the campaigns launched against Dr. Michael Mann and other scientists perpetrated by certain rightwing thinktanks and populist politicians, and I paraphrased some of this information in my review. These campaigns were multi-billion-dollar sized aggressive campaigns that aimed to misinform the public about the climate science, defame, lie about and harass climate scientists, and even make people hate them and threaten them and to prevent research from being done on the topic. You can’t mention the basic facts about these climate wars, as Dr. Michael Mann calls them, without upsetting some people, and I included some of that in my review of the book. I often include some of the content from non-fiction books in my reviews of them to help me remember the content. I did not think much about it. However, I guess, if the book is inflammatory in some people’s eyes, then a review paraphrasing the book will be too.
Before I present my review, I should mention that why some “climate-denier” forces attacked Dr. Michael Mann was because of his hockey-stick curve created in the mid 1990’s. It was already known that the recent sharp global warming not only was real but was caused mostly by greenhouse gases emitted by us. We knew that from the way the warming happened, how it was distributed, how it affected the atmosphere, etc. However, that’s a complicated thing to explain to the public. Dr. Michael Mann was the first scientist to create the hockey stick curve using proxy temperature data from the pre-industrial times (not direct temperature measurements), and this curve made it obvious even to the uninformed layman that the current warming was not natural. You could see that just by looking at the curve. This is why he was so intensely targeted. For your information I have included two examples of hockey stick curves below, and for more information, click here.
Some basic information about “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet ” – May 10, 2022 by Dr. Michael Mann. The paperback dimensions are 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.25 inches, and the weight is 11.2 ounces, ISBN 978-1541758216, 400 pages, and it currently costs $15.99 on Amazon in the US. The kindle version is $12.99 and the hardcover $14.29.
Below is my banned review, exactly as posted:
The Climate Deniers Lost but the same People Are Back with New Tricks
First off, this is not a book about climate science despite the fact that the author is a climate scientist. This is a book about the new form that the climate wars have taken. It is yet another topic on which the author is an expert because of his grueling personal experiences.
For decades climate scientists were attacked, defamed, misrepresented, lied about, and threatened. There was climate science denial, misdirection, distortions, lies, and mockery. It was a well-funded war launched by political groups such as the Heartland Institute, right wing politicians, corrupt industry funded scientists, extremist rightwing media and fossil fuel industry front groups such as the competitive enterprise institute, and the Koch brothers, and many other rightwing billionaires, etc. It was a war against scientists who were trying to find the truth, and a war against those telling us what was already known about the science, and a war against those who dared to speak up for the environment and future generations. Dishonest denialist bloggers, such as Anthony Watts, rose to fame as a result of the war. It was ugly and Dr. Michael Mann was in the middle of it. In the first chapter of this book, he describes what happened in the past and he describes his experiences. He was called a fraud and he was viciously attacked for his research that led to the Hockey Stick curve, a curve which is now established fact.
About a decade ago I believed myself that Dr. Michael Mann was a fraud and that his Hockey Stick curve was bogus. I had my doubts about the climate science. That’s because at the time I read and listened mostly to rightwing media. Then I took the time to understand as much as I could about the science, and I came to realize that I had been hoodwinked. Dr. Michael Mann and the other climate scientists were undoubtedly right. Well, that climate war is mostly over. Climate change deniers, or global warming deniers, whatever you call them (they were never skeptics), aren’t taken seriously anymore. However, the dark forces who launched the climate wars against the science didn’t disappear, they changed tactics. Instead of outright denial, the new tactic is downplaying, deflection, dividing, delaying and lastr but not least doomism. He refers to these bad actors as inactivists. Remarkably, many climate activists and environmentalists are naively doing the bidding of the inactivists and in this book Dr. Mann explains how.
Placing the responsibility of climate change on consumers and climate activists is an example of deflection. We need systemic change. Individual behavior needs to change as well but without systemic change, adjusting individual behavior is not only difficult but not very impactful and also associated with unnecessary guilt, which is exactly what the deflectors want. In addition, a solitary focus on voluntary action may undermine support for governmental policies to hold carbon polluters accountable.
The division tactics seek to polarize and divide the environmental movement and those who care about climate by using misinformation. One example is the misleading Cowspiracy so-called documentary. The dividers made sure Donald Trump won the 2016 election with the help of armies of Russian bots and Trolls poisoning on-line discussions. Among the division tactics he mentions making progressive/leftist climate advocates reject the most effective climate solutions such as a carbon price. Dividers have also succeeded in convincing the leftwing of the climate movement that deconstructing capitalism is necessary to solve the climate crisis, which is false and will scare away the moderates and conservatives needed onboard for achieving climate solutions.
Inactivists have many other cards under their sleeve, such as trying to discredit renewables, presenting non solutions as the best solutions, presenting insufficient solutions as all we need (planting trees, adaptation), misinforming the public in all sorts of ways, etc. However, the one very effective tool to prevent climate action is doomism, presenting the entire cause as hopeless, thus making action on climate seem pointless. People across the political spectrum, perhaps especially the left, have fallen victim to doomism. Dr. Mann is stressing that the situation is bad but that there is nothing hopeless about it. We will not fall off a cliff, but the size of the future damage depends on our actions. Doomism is not coming from the climate scientists and it is not coming from the IPCC. Doomism is a false belief that has spread like a wildfire with the help of bots and trolls. It also creates an opportunity for inactivists to attack climate scientists by falsely claiming that they are the ones spreading the despair and fear.
Dr. Mann brings speaks very warmly about carbon fee and dividend, my favorite climate policy and he mentions Citizens Climate Lobby three times and speaks favorably about them, which also warms my heart since I am a CCL volunteer. I think he was a bit harsh on Bill Gates and Ken Caldeira and I think he underestimated nuclear power a bit. I’ve read some of Ken Caldeira’s papers and we were Facebook friends for a while. His geoengineering research is done so that we would know something about the topic if we are forced to use it. It is absolutely not as a substitute for climate action, something Bill Gates makes very clear in his book.
Above all, this is a very important book that everyone interested in the climate crisis should read. We have powerful enemies who are trying to confuse us, disengage us and divide us and turn people against us. It is important to understand how climate action is being prevented and discouraged now a day. The war has changed, and the lies are now different and less obvious. It is also an important book for those who do not care about the climate crisis. Why don’t you care? Could it be that you have been misled/bamboozled? Why don’t you find out? I can add that it is a very well written and well-organized book that is very engaging no matter what you believe.
Finally, if you would like to learn more about my dog book and find out where to buy it, click here or here. You can also click the image below to buy it from Amazon. All royalties are donated to the Leonberger Health Foundation International.