Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions
By Dr. Joseph J. Romm
Island Press 233 Pages
Paperback less than $20.00
People occasionally ask me where to go on the internet to read about climate change and energy policy. Up until now one of the places I referred them to was Climate Progress by Joe Romm (On Twitter). But today there's another option: the same information and more has been laid out in the scientist activist's latest book, Straight Up. The book is true to its title on the science and ferociously takes the energy industry and media to task.
The book uses a format most readers of Daily Kos are going to love: Romm displays quotes from the media or other organizations juxtaposed with actual facts. He then deftly dissects the flaws, intentionally introduced by quoted source or not as the case may be, with the precision of a scientist turned literary surgeon. What's impressive about that is Romm has spent a great deal of time in DC -- he's a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former acting assistant secretary in energy efficiency at the US Department of Energy -- and he knows and personally likes a lot of national reporters. But unlike the traditional media and its cocktail circuit enablers of foolish or destructive policies, the book objectively dishes out praise or blog-esque smackdowns to friend and foe alike. And the bigger they are, the harder they fall:
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
This is attributed to Dante, but applies to the Washington establishment, especially one David Broder ... In two recent columns, Broder has combined a scientifically uninformed position on climate change with remarkably flawed political analysis designed to support his position. -- pg 21
Think-tanks, celebrity columnists, and legit energy/environment reporters come under the author's expert scrutiny. Along the way Romm drops off the grim scientific reality with equal aplomb. Noting early on that the worst case scenarios now are the best case scenarios if we don't act soon, and concluding near the end that our global energy economy resembles a Ponzi scheme.
The style of crystal clear analysis that has made Joe Romm's website a daily stop for me and thousands of others transfers seamlessly into Straight Up. Call me biased for my own medium, but I would have loved that about the book if it were a guide to gardening. The fact that it is about climate change and dopey, duped media dinosaurs made it one of the most fun books I've read all year. And Joe Romm is here in comments to respond to a few questions, or you can ask me to ask him by way of Twitter.