BOOK REVIEW: What’s The Worst That Could Happen? By Greg Craven
Thursday, 10 September 2009
A lot of people are extremely passionate about fighting climate change, reducing CO2 emissions and staving off a global catastrophe. And by “a lot”, I mean, well, maybe 10-20%. The fact is most people, on any issue, are rather agnostic, have a tacit support for something but certainly are not in the trenches fighting on a day-to-day basis. An overwhelming majority of people want health care reform, millions of people are against it, and yet it is big news when a hundred “passionate” people show up to a town hall meeting of a member of Congress. Enter Greg Craven and his book, What’s The Worst That Could Happen? A Rationale Response To The Climate Change Debate. Greg is a high school science teacher in Oregon who became an Internet sensation last year with a series of videos trying to engage the 60-80% of people in the middle on climate change. His videos have been viewed over 7 million times and his book is as entertaining. Greg does not talk much about climate science. Instead, he looks at the issue of should we do something or should we not from the perspective of risk assessment. Which is worse, taking action to stop climate change and later learning it was not happening, or not taking action and learning (too late) that it was? But the book is about much more than Pascal’s Wager. Greg uses the same ultra analytical approach to helping us decide which information in our information-laden world we should value more. Should we trust a pundit over a scientist, a scientific organization over a think tank, a government over a lobbying group? Where should each stand on our information value spectrum. What’s The Worst That Could Happen? is a surprisingly fresh, interesting, quick and entertaining read. Whether you’ve been in the trenches for a decade on the issue or are one of the 60-80% in the middle, Craven’s perspective and process are unassailably logical. He is the perfect antidote to any climate skeptic. Craven is passionate about being, well, dispassionate. He asks a thousand questions (Note: I have known Greg for twenty years and the book is as Greg is) of the reader without overwhelming the senses. He is serious and yet unbelievably self-deprecating. The book’s faux sticky notes on the pages of facts, humor and examples add to his unique style. Greg makes climate change, and the question of whether we should act on it, understandable to the average person much as Al Gore did a few years ago. What’s The Worst That Could Happen? is a great read. It will energize you to take action, the last pillar of the book. The climate change movement needed this book and Greg’s approach to problem-solving. At Carbonfund.org, we feel any work that helps explain the issue and urgency of climate change is critical and Greg has done just that.