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Articles by Gavin Schmidt

Gavin Schmidt is a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where he develops models for looking at past, present, and future climate. He lives in New York City and helps run in his spare time.

Featured Article

State of Fear by Michael Crichton, HarperCollins Publishers, 624 pgs., 2004.

Michael Crichton’s new novel State of Fear is about global-warming hysteria ginned up by a self-important NGO on behalf of evil eco-terrorists … or by evil eco-terrorists on behalf of a self-important NGO. It’s not quite clear. Regardless, the message of the book is that global warming is a non-problem. A lesson for our times? Sadly, no.

In between car chases, shoot-outs, cannibalistic rites, and other assorted derring-doo-doo, the novel addresses scientific issues, but is selective (and occasionally mistaken) about the basic science involved. Some of the issues Crichton raises are real and already well-appreciated, while others are red herrings used to confuse rather than enlighten.

The fictional champion of Crichton’s climate skepticism is John Kenner, an MIT academic-turned-undercover operative who runs intellectual rings around two other characters — the actor (a rather dim-witted chap) and the lawyer (a duped innocent), neither of whom know much about science.

So, for the benefit of actors and lawyers everywhere... Read more