Mann also attacks “doomsayers”, including some members of Extinction Rebellion, who claim that we have already passed the point of no return, condemning us all to imminent climate destruction. Such claims are not based on science and have the effect of making people give up on efforts to rid the world of fossil fuels. Mann does not pull his punches, but his aim is usually strong and true. This book will no doubt prove controversial for some climate campaigners, as well as the deniers, but I hope it will be read by everybody who is engaged in making the case for action.
Mann’s conditional climate optimism is inspired in part by the youth climate movement. He is also adamant that the entire fossil fuel sector can be quite quickly replaced by renewables. Many energy experts might demur. The New Climate Wars is a punchy, provocative, informed, sometimes idiosyncratic but also deeply personal take on the crisis, by a respected voice in the climate science and communications field.
Mann is correct the world needs to speed up its adoption of existing solutions, end its love affair with fossil fuels and “call out false solutions for what they are”. However, framing climate action as a “war” is more questionable. Mann suggests some of his colleagues are in denial because they dismiss his notion that they are fighting with powerful interests. “The dismissiveness of soothing myths and appeasement didn’t serve us well in World War II, and it won’t serve us well here either,” he says. That may be true, but war can encourage people to retreat further into their own views, meaning greater destruction and a slower pace of change.