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The Big Answer


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The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy

a book by Michael Mann and Tom Toles

(our site's book review)

This Book Is a Brilliant, Colorful Escape Hatch from the Madhouse of the Climate Wars

Trump promised us all that climate science was a hoax, so he did nothing; but now, in 2050, everything's on fire and it's too late to act
Trump promised us all that climate science was a hoax, so he did nothing; but now, in 2050, everything's on fire and it's too late to act


Now, in 2050, everything's on fire and I'm still President—I'm the one who won in the war against climate scientists, who are trying to blame it all on me, but that's fake news—the Earth was just naturally warming up!
Now, in 2050, everything's on fire and I'm still President—I'm the one who won in the war against climate scientists, who are trying to blame it all on me, but that's fake news—the Earth was just naturally warming up!

The Amazon blurb says that The award-winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have been on the front lines of the fight against climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of billions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.

The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that human activity has changed Earth's climate. Toles's cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann's expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two climate science crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books—and may even convert die-hard doubters to the side of sound science.


Big Oil Is Spreading a Campaign of Misinformation to Get Citizens—and Fox News—to Doubt Climate Science

Here is the stuff Big Oil is so greedy about—to the point of spreading a campaign of misinformation to get citizens—and Fox News—to doubt climate science
Here is the stuff Big Oil is so greedy about—to the point of spreading a campaign of misinformation to get citizens—and Fox News—to doubt climate science

Book Chapters

  1. Science: How it Works
  2. Climate Change: The Basics
  3. Why Should I Give a Damn?
  4. The Stages of Denial
  5. The War on Climate Science
  6. Hypocrisy - Thy Name is Climate Change Denial
  7. Geoengineering, or "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"
  8. A Path Forward

The Madhouse Effect pulls the curtain back to expose the PR machine of climate denial that's corrupting our democracy
The Madhouse Effect pulls the curtain back to expose the PR machine of climate denial that's corrupting our democracy

The 30-year effort to create doubt by the oil industry and free-market think tanks to delay action on human caused climate change will probably go down in history as one of the most egregiously unethical and immoral actions ever committed against humankind. The fact that our kids and grandkids will suffer the worst consequences makes one even angrier.

For centuries, powerful forces of greed have tried to hide the truth, but that doesn't change reality—the earth is spherical and climate change is very real. The Madhouse Effect brilliantly dissects the climate denial industry, empowering all of us to see the facts and take action before it's too late. (Leonardo DiCaprio)

Michael E. Mann is one of the planet's great climate scientists, and Tom Toles may be the great climate communicator—together, they are a category 5 storm of information and indignation, wreaking humorous havoc on those who would deny the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. (Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org)

If you are not concerned about climate change yet, please read this book. If you are unaware of the hard-core deniers among us, read this book. If you are a climate change denier, doubter, techno-fixer, or luke-warmer, read this book. Mann and Toles have written some words and drawn some pictures for you, so maybe you'll get it this time. (Bill Nye, "the Science Guy")

'What could possibly cause all this melting ice? My money's on all those long, hot stinkers you've been letting! Pee-yew! I mean, what else could it be?'
'What could possibly cause all this melting ice? My money's on all those long, hot stinkers you've been letting! Pee-yew! I mean, what else could it be?'

The Madhouse Effect Got a Lot of Good Press

When giving public talks, I am often asked, 'What do I do about my Uncle Joe, who doesn't believe in climate change?' Now I finally have an answer: Buy him a copy of The Madhouse Effect, and tell him you won't talk to him until he has read it. Even if he doesn't read it, he'll look at the pictures, and that might just be enough. (Naomi Oreskes, coauthor of The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future)

Brilliant, insightful, and fresh! Two gifted experts—one a scientist, the other an editorial cartoonist—invite you to be entertained and outraged, inspired and motivated to escape the madhouse that characterizes climate dialogue and politics today. New and hilarious insights into climate change. I loved it! (Jane Lubchenco, former administrator of NOAA and undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere)

Concise and fiercely illustrated. (Scientific American)

Welcome to the climate science madhouse, which is actually a house of horrors since Big Oil is letting us and our planet get flushed down the crapper in their pursuit of profits
Welcome to the climate science madhouse, which is actually a house of horrors since Big Oil is letting us and our planet get flushed down the crapper in their pursuit of profits

A breezy, engaging read.... If tackling climate change is indeed a war, then Mann and Toles have certainly earned their stripes. (Nature)

[A] brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.... [The Madhouse Effect] may even convert die-hard doubters to the side of sound science. (Yale Climate Connections)

The best of both worlds: an illustrated compendium of horrifying science that also provides a few laughs. (Lit / Rant)

Recommended. (Choice)

Big Oil is letting us and our planet get flushed down the crapper in their pursuit of profits, which they cram into overflowing money bins
Big Oil is letting us and our planet get flushed down the crapper in their pursuit of profits, which they cram into overflowing money bins

From the Author

The Madhouse Effect...throws attitude back at climate deniers while painting a path forward. (Mark Ruffalo)

My friends Michael Mann and Tom Toles combined their considerable talents and wrote The Madhouse Effect—Al Gore
My friends Michael Mann and Tom Toles combined their considerable talents and wrote The Madhouse Effect—Al Gore

My friends Michael Mann and Tom Toles combined their considerable talents and wrote The Madhouse Effect (Al Gore)

If you're wondering why so many politicians and news sources deny that dangerous human-caused climate change is real, and you want a relatively short and easy-to-read summary of the issue, look no further than The Madhouse Effect. (Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, The Weather Underground)

The Madhouse Effect uses science, reason, and political cartoons to explain this polarized, hot world we live in, and to collapse the pseudo-science arguments against climate change. (Charlotte Ahlin, Bustle)

The writing is brilliantly clear and concise. The science is unfailingly accurate. And the cartoons add an immediacy, accessibility, and passion to the book that "normal" books about the climate problem usually lack. (Jonathan Koomey)

America is addicted to oil and it is wrecking the world's climate
America is addicted to oil and it is wrecking the world's climate

Authors Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles have dropped a much-needed voice of reason into the current volatile and highly politicized debate on climate change. (Kristopher Collins, Pittsburgh Magazine)

Mann's acuity, alongside Tole's perceptive cartoons, invigorate the subject. (California Magazine)

What makes [The Madhouse Effect] unique is the way it combines Mann's science communication skills and Toles' illustrations, which provide a biting and amusing perspective (Andrew Seifter, Media Matters for America)

Noted climate researcher, Michael Mann, takes us on a tour of the world that climate deniers have helped create, sowing the seeds of confusion and harvesting a crop full of climate inaction in the process. (Rob Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council)

Nicely balances Mann's explanations of...climate science..with Toles' darkly comical cartoons. (Judy Weiss, Jewish Currents)

We are wrecking our planet's air and water and weather but are being lied to by Big Oil that there's no problem
We are wrecking our planet's air and water and weather but are being lied to by Big Oil that there's no problem

The engaging and often funny volume aims not only to clearly explain the science behind climate change but also to satirize the skeptics and deniers that have worked hard to delay political action for the past few decades. (John R. Platt, Take Part)

The Madhouse Effect should be mandatory reading for the next President—assuming that the next President doesn't want to turn the White House into a madhouse. (DR Tucker, Washington Monthly)

Read this book and share it far and wide! (NR Mallery, Green Energy Times)

One of the fall's best book offerings... (Sandy Dechert, Clean Technica)

A lively book that even "I-don't-read-science-books" members will like (Ann Connery Frantz, Worcester Telegram)

Included in 'Pedagogies of Resistance' Reading List (City Lights BookStore, San Francisco)

Teaming up a noted climate scientist and writer...with a political cartoonist...is really the best of both worlds: an illustrated compendium of horrifying science that also provides a few laughs (Kel Munger, Lit Rant)

Sierra Club tells us 'Now more than ever, it's worth listening to what Michael Mann and Tom Toles have to say about getting out of the madhouse we're in'
Sierra Club tells us 'Now more than ever, it's worth listening to what Michael Mann and Tom Toles have to say about getting out of the madhouse we're in'

Now more than ever, it's worth listening to what Michael Mann and Tom Toles have to say about getting out of the madhouse we're in. (Sierra Club)

Convincing, accessible chapters on why the problem is urgent...creating a neatly packaged tool for those willing to take on the naysayers. (Henrietta Verma, AAUP)

One of the brilliant things...makes people realise how really crazy some of the things that climate change deniers say are and how crazy some of the things they do are. (Naomi Oreskes, Five Books)


This Is the Madhouse of the Climate Debate: We Have Followed Alice through the Looking Glass Where White Roses Are Painted Red

White roses here are painted red in the climate madhouse
White roses here are painted red in the climate madhouse

The authors say, "There is a fire in the house, almost a literal one. But even as the evidence has become unmistakable, and even though the alarm has been sounded several times, public policy has been paralyzed—sometimes from ignorance, sometimes from uncertainty, but often from a campaign of deliberate misinformation. This is the madhouse of the climate debate. We have followed Alice through the looking glass. White roses here are painted red, and words suddenly mean something different from what they used to mean."

Aliceroom3
The authors have followed Alice through the looking glass

We Need to Stop Shambling Around Like Confused Zombies—It's NOT Confusing!

The authors continue, "The very language of science itself, of 'skepticism' and 'evidence,' is used in a way opposite of how science really employs it. Not everyone wants the facts to be known. We have run squarely into what Upton Sinclair famously warned us about: 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it'.. And there are many powerful interests whose salary has very much depended on the public not understanding climate science. And so the battle continues . . . [we need to stop] shambling around like confused zombies."

There are many powerful interests whose salary has very much depended on the public not understanding climate science—so the battle continues—we need to stop shambling around like confused zombies
There are many powerful interests whose salary has very much depended on the public not understanding climate science—so the battle continues—we need to stop shambling around like confused zombies

The deniers sponsored by Big Oil have the biggest mouths and the biggest megaphones and the biggest budgets, and this is confusing the citizens who used to know the truth, but now know only the propaganda. Real science and real scientists have done study after study and proven that humans are having a drastic effect on climate, temperates, and weather. But truth doesn't matter much to talk shows—only ad dollars matter. Those dollars ensure that climate pseudoscience gets lots of attention on the internet, on the radio, on TV, and in magazines. The public is too ignorant to see that Big Oil is selling out our planet's future out of pure greed.

The deniers sponsored by Big Oil have the biggest mouths and the biggest megaphones and the biggest budgets, and this is confusing the citizens who used to know the truth, but now know only the propaganda
The deniers sponsored by Big Oil have the biggest mouths and the biggest megaphones and the biggest budgets, and this is confusing the citizens who used to know the truth, but now know only the propaganda

The Public Is Too Ignorant to See That Big Oil Is Selling Out Our Planet's Future Out of Pure Greed

The public is too ignorant to see that Big Oil is selling out our planet's future out of pure greed—meanwhile the oil tycoons roll around in their money bins cackling evily
The public is too ignorant to see that Big Oil is selling out our planet's future out of pure greed—meanwhile the oil tycoons roll around in their money bins cackling evily

The authors say, "Just as the tobacco industry found medical research revealing the damaging health impacts of cigarette smoking to be a threat to its interests and so recruited contrarian scientists, think tanks, and lobbying firms to participate in a massive public disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the public's faith in the scientific evidence, fossil fuel interests have continued to spend tens of millions of dollars in an ongoing public-relations campaign to discredit the science of human-caused climate change . . . a 'war on science,' a war waged by special interests seeking to avoid oversight and regulation in the face of compelling scientific evidence that exposes the risks created by their products, actions, and services."

Other books that deal with dumping or ignoring or discrediting science are:


The G.O.P. Is Selling Out to Big Oil and We Are All Going to Pay the Price

Asking the G.O.P. to give up the fortunes they're making getting campaigns supplemented by dark money for denying climate science is like taking a banana from a 900 pound gorilla
Asking the G.O.P. to give up the fortunes they're making getting campaigns supplemented by dark money for denying climate science is like taking a banana from a 900 pound gorilla


Climate change? What climate change? Will they see the light before it is too late?
Climate change? What climate change? Will they see the light before it is too late?


The current rate of fossil fuel burning will double CO2 by 2050, which will raise Earth's temperature about 9 degrees Fahrenheit
The current rate of fossil fuel burning will double CO2 by 2050, which will raise Earth's temperature about 9 degrees Fahrenheit

The G.O.P. is raking in fortunes for denying climate science—they're getting their campaigns supplemented by dark money from the fossil fuel industry. The future of capitalism, the radical right, and the neoliberal curse are all part of the corruption of U.S. government via Big Oil. Here are some relevant sources:

Science is about forming and testing hypotheses, not about emotional debates between talking heads on talk shows, as the media likes to depict it. The getting of a scientist and a fake scientist pitted against one another seems to provide "balance" to scientific debates, but it doesn't. It just further misinforms a confused public, giving credibility to fake science purveyors. It is disingenuous to claim that the fake science pundits, websites, and books are legitimate when the fakers know that they are not. The Big Oil people have created an entire disinformation industry whose purpose is to discredit real science, real science pundits, science pundits websites, and science pundits books. This gets the public looking the other way about global warming, environmental devastation, air and water pollution, and fracking, since "apparently" it hasn't been scientifically proven that Big Oil's products are to blame—which is totally untrue. There is incontrovertible proof that Big Oil's products are to blame! Big Oil knows that spreading doubt about the scientific evidence in the public's mind is enough to ensure an agenda of inaction. "Doubt is our product" read one internal tobacco industry memo.

Big Oil knows that spreading doubt about the scientific evidence in the public's mind is enough to ensure an agenda of inaction—Big Tobacco did the same thing
Big Oil knows that spreading doubt about the scientific evidence in the public's mind is enough to ensure an agenda of inaction—Big Tobacco did the same thing


Science is about forming and testing hypotheses, not about emotional debates between talking heads on talk shows, as the media likes to depict it
Science is about forming and testing hypotheses, not about emotional debates between talking heads on talk shows, as the media likes to depict it

The Madhouse Effect covers all of the known research and information in a very clear and concise way. It is very readable, and it covers everything from why the planet is warming to what possible solutions exist that are practical. It also debunks the deniers and the information they use to try to confuse the issue. If you have doubts about climate science or global warming, read The Madhouse Effect and doubt no more. Highly recommended reading. Why are there deniers about something when the science has already been established and the facts well known to science? To answer that, follow the money.

Why are there deniers about something when the science has already been established and the facts well known to science? To answer that, follow the money
Why are there deniers about something when the science has already been established and the facts well known to science? To answer that, follow the money