US Publishers finding "Heat" Too Hot

Guardian columnist George Monbiot , with whom we shared a delicious dinner while he was in Vancouver signing books, says that U.S. publishing houses have so far spurned his bestselling (in the UK and Canada) Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning.

George says the U.S. editors have all said a version of the same thing: “Americans aren’t ready for it.”

That is, first of all, a dim view of Americans who, on the whole, are great deal brighter than their publishing industry imagines. It’s also self-fulfilling: if U.S. publishers refuse to carry good new books on climate change, then Americans will have to go on making decisions based on the kind of corrupt information currently being peddled out of the ExxonMobil-funded think tanks.

For the record, these are the readers and publishers who have so far praised Heat to its author, but passed on the opportunity to present it to the American public:

Eamon Dolan – Houghton

Ann Godoff – Penguin

Alane Mason – Norton

Colin Robinson – New Press

Bill Frucht – Basic

Colin Dickerman – Bloomsbury

Frances Coady – Picador

Tim Bent – Harcourt

Jonathan Burnham – HarperCollins

Bill Thomas – Doubleday

Sean Desmond – St Martins

Tim Bartlett – Random House


NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) has 5,500 trained meteorologists and hydrologists in over 150 offices with responsibility to help educate the public in weather, water and climate. When asked about climate change, NWS staff have told the public there is no global warming problem, or they replied that climate change is too political and controversial, or they’d just played dumb. On “Ask the White House in 2003 the Deputy Director of NWS was asked if the temperature continues to rise how long will humans be able to survive in the heat? He replied I’m not really a climate change expert so I can’t offer much insight. U.S. government agencies have not only failed to help the public understand climate change they have been supporting the disinformation campaign on global warming, on and off the record. Why would Americans want his book?

Perhaps somebody knows how the following statistics compare internationally (they are based on a nationwide literacy study done in 1998): 58% of Americans never reads a book after high school; 80% of American families did not buy or read a book the year before; 70% of Americans had not been in a bookstore in the previous five years; 20% read at or below fifth grade level.

Please link to or reference the specific study. Citing it without reference shows your own ignorance, you should be embarassed.

And you should be more than embarressed about your ignorance of communicating in such a disrespectful manner!

I think my ignorance of communicating is no cause for embarressedment. I think his ignorance of provingness is more embarresedment-like in it disrepspectful manner!

Perhaps the US has been learning from the Netherlands, where a recent survey of adults showed 43% would take their TV sets if stranded on a desert island, 17% would take a radio, but not a single person would take a book. The same presentation at the International Federation of Library Assocations and Intitutions Annual Conference in Amsterdam cited another study that showed that more than half of adults in the Netherlands never or hardly ever read a book.

Link to cited work

There’s no question the U.S. educational system has a lot of room for improvement, but I think you’ll find that American literacy proficiency is right in line with what you’ll find in industrialized European countries. Those countries that are above average in this caterogy also tend to have far less diverse populations than the U.S., which has many non-native English speaking homes.

Look here for more information

All elitist sniveling aside, I suspect the reason Mr. Monbiot doesn’t find interest in his book has more to do with the quality of his work and his reputation than American literacy.

I think a big reason Americans don’t want Monbiot’s book has more to do with their state of fear of being ridiculed by friends and co-workers for being on the unpopular side of the global warming debate. While I was at NOAA’s NWS NC River Forecast Center, a coworkers who read Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear” said she learned a lot from in. I was removed from NWS in 2005 for my wanting to deal with climate change in our hydrologic modeling and flood predictions.

You were removed from NWS for “wanting to deal with climate change”? You said “I want to deal with climate change” and a manager in a goverment agency was able to say “You are fired”? Maybe things are looking up, but based on my experience with government hiring and firing practices I kind of doubt that’s the complete story.

Did your job responsibilities include being a public spokesperson for the NWS on global warming issues and policies? Were you instructed to issue that release which heavily referenced your position as an NWS official and looked like a policy statement being made by the NWS? If that was not your job and you weren’t asked to issue that press release you deserved to be fired no matter what the press release said. I think you knew what you were doing. If so, you shouldn’t be whining about it.

Yes, I wanted to share what I had learned with the public. I would have included a disclaimer that I was acting as a private citizen in my release but I was told in 2000-2001 that showing where I worked along with giving my views on global warming would not be appropriate with a disclaimer. Since I used my own time and money I suppose if I didn’t mention NWS that would have been OK with NOAA and NWS. However, I needed to say what kind of background and experience I had for the release. I’d been with NWS since my graduation (MS) from UW Madison. And yes, I did my job. My annual performance appraisals were outstanding, commendable or fully successful.

That press release didn’t cover your findings, it was a manifesto on global warming.

Jet contrails? You liked that to the snowmelt?

Your data cover 50-100 years of snowmelt record in one geographic location. You’re saying that data supports the statements about the causes and projections for worldwide global warming you make in that release? I don’t even think the fanatics on this site would buy that.

You knew exactly what you were doing and my guess is your brother was in on it with you. You shouldn’t be whining about the fact that you got what you deserved. And, to boot, it took them two years to get rid of you. You make it sound like they walked you out the next day, which is what they should have done.

The press release shows a link to my article on earlier snowmelt runoff in three large river basins in the Upper Midwest (Red, St. Croix and St. Louis), with nearly 100 years of record each river gage. I think you need to reread my press release and article, at if you intend to make more comments on that.

I read the release and I looked at the source data it was linked to.

* You make claims about global warming, but your research looks at one region in one country.

* You make claims about climate cycles that can last tens of thousands/hundreds of thousands/million of years with data that spans 100 years at best.

* You claim early snowmelt is caused by manmade greenhouse gas emmissions, but you show absolutely no evidence of that link in your research. Did you actually do regression analysis on the data? What were your independent variables?

As near as I can tell, you proved that snowmelt is trending earlier in one region of the world over a very short time span. Period. You then issued a press release claiming

- this is proof of rapid global warming resulting from manmade greenhouse gasses

- the warming will continue for hundreds of years

- direct discharge and secondary effects like jet contrails are the most damaging factors

none of which was actually proved by your research

If I am wrong and your research actually involved hypotheses that addressed the cause of the short-term warming pattern or an ability to extrapolate beyond 100 years and link to relevent climate cycles I’d be happy to read it. Otherwise, the press release was a tiny little bit about your research and a whole lot about your opinions on global warming. Like I said, a manifesto that you should have been fired for.

Geoff, nice to see your comment, thank you. One of the motivations I had for doing my study on snowmelt runoff was that I was fooled by earlier snowmelts in the 1990s, when I was basing my outlooks on 1950s-1970s historical data. In doing my study and press release, I was not trying to say I had proved global warming. Initially, my purpose in learning about global warming was to see if global warming was driving the climate change I had witnessed in the 1990s. I knew that climate change was going in the Upper Midwest before I knew that global warming was happening.

I do too! I reached your message just after I had wondered to myself why on Earth Pat continued to demonstrate such patience and such fine manners in spite of having every one of his comments challenged by such a persistently ignorant person. We suspect that Mr. Anonymous is being paid by those who would wish to fan the flames of doubt about climate change. The whistleblowers get canned here in Canada too!

Thanks for the comparison. You don’t seriously expect me to take up the cudgels for my former (or any) tribe, do you? I thought that chip on American shoulders was removed long ago. To judge by the reactions on this blog this is not the case. I wonder how Anonymous manages to go deer hunting being encumbered by it.

I have probably spent US$10-$20,000 on dozens and dozens of books over the last five years and I bet I’ve only been in a bookstore 4 or 5 times, and not once in the last year. I also suspect your unattributed data is nonsense, but I can’t check because you apparently pulled it out of thin air. Of course, you are no doubt a sophisticated European intellectual so your word should be good enough. Anyway, everyone knows Americans are mostly uneducated brutes who lucked into all those innovations and inventions. Its just a matter of time before U.S. economic growth is left in the dust by the book-reading EU member nations. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a whole bunch of people coming over for my bookburning party tonight and I’ve got to go out back and kill a deer for dinner.

Arie: I remember hearing of a nationwide survey in the Netherlands that showed 50% of Dutch men have regular sex with sheep and the other 50% are homosexual. Which I guess explains all the flowers. Any idea how these statistics compare with beastiality rates in the rest of Europe?

Anonymous, you show your lack of decency with this comment. Get a life and leave serious debate to the rest of us who can act in a civilised manner.

Oh, and by the way, practically everything you say about climate change is refuted on Coby’s site.

70% of Americans had not been in a bookstore in the previous five years;

I read lots of books and I fall in this statistic. I do all my shopping on amazon.

“Yes, Mr. Monbiot, I’m sure it’s a really wonderful book ” she says, averting her eyes. “And if it was MY decision…why I’d publish it in a minute. But… but…”. Her voice trails off as she looks into the distance, uncertain. “But the readers.” A smile returns to her face. “Yes, that’s it, our readers aren’t ready for a book of such sophistication.” A trace of sadness crosses her smiling face. “It happens you know. Genius like yours is often ahead of its time. Like van Gogh. Or Al Gore.” They shake hands. Monbiot rises to leave. “Why don’t you try Canada. Or France. That’s where I hear the real innovation is happening these days.”

The author should have done his homework before he shopped it around…

Eamon Dolan – Houghton - Would have been a viable prospect a few years ago, but were sold to a French firm and then flipped to investment groups Bain Capital (Mitt Romney anyone ? and which now controls Clear Channel Communications) and The Blackstone Group ( who occasionally partners with The Carlyle Group when there is fresh meat on the table)

Ann Godoff – Penguin - Owned by the Pearson Group … another large media giant, with large stakes in financial publishing … they have a vested interest in capitalism, more than most.

Alane Mason – Norton - That’s sad to see, as they are employee-owned, but then they are not exactly known for publishing cutting-edge social issues.

Colin Robinson – New Press - I am a bit surprised they did not consider it. They publish a lot of human rights, sociology, international relations, etc.

Bill Frucht – Basic - You would think they might do it, they are part of The Perseus Book Group, owned by Perseus LLC, a big merchant bank and fund manager, whose partners in various configurations include George Soros … I wonder if ‘ol George owns any energy stocks ?

Colin Dickerman – Bloomsbury - Considering it is principally a fiction house for the likes of Harry Potter fans I imagine it was “jolly good book there Mr. Monbiot … but do you have a flying broom ?”

Frances Coady – Picador - An imprint of St. Martins, see that listing.

Tim Bent – Harcourt - Now owned by Reed/Elsevier, noted arms merchants … can you say CLUSTER BOMBS ?

Jonathan Burnham – HarperCollins- Is he nuts? That’s Rupert Murdoch’s tree killer

Bill Thomas – Doubleday - Part of Random House / A.G. Bertlesmann … see Random House

Sean Desmond – St Martins- Owned by the von Holtzbrinck Group, another German media giant.

Tim Bartlett – Random House - Part of the huge A.G. Bertelsmann German media conglomerate … former Nazi collaborators who have since admitted being untruthful about their association with Hitler when buying Random House. A far cry from Bennett Cerf’s vision of what a publishing house should be.

“a vested interest in capitalism” I love that. Off with their heads!

I’ve got to ask this: Is the best thing about global warming to you the fact that it could destroy capitalism?

No, I doubt it would destroy it, they’d just make money selling you SPF-90 Sunblock, oceanfront property in Kansas and $5.00 a gallon drinking water.

When I spoke of Penguin / Pearson Group / Pearson LLC having a more vested interest in capitalism … it is not just being a player/competitor in various businesses, but invested in the business of markets themselves. They are deeply involved in the FTSE and other stock market indices.

Do you think they would promote something that more than likely casts the business and environmental practices of the Market Members in a poor light ?

It would be nice though if we could get some real environmental reforms from those who profit from resource exploitation.

It would be nice but it won’t happen. Those who profit from resource exploitation are only interested in business as usual.

Business as usual is the status quo. Those making profits want nothing more than to continue making profits. Those in power want nothing more than to continue in power.

Those who profit by continuing in power will do anything to remain in power, including lying, which we all know the Bush Administration has been doing right and left. They justify that because of their egotistical beliefs that they are the only ones who really know what’s best for the country.

Those who answer to them know they are promoted only if they support the administration’s position (eg. the National Weather Service) and they will remove anyone from their ranks who doesn’t march in lock-step with the rest of them (as they did with Mr. Neuman).

The recent election took away some of their power, so there is more uncertainty now and their lies are being discovered. Hopefully, it is not too late and things can turn around.

There are lots of books available the U.S. on the emerging climate crisis, and newspapers and magazines are starting to cover the topic more and more. Al Gore has become a superstar. He’s been on late night (Leno) and day-time talks shows (Ophra). The cat is out of the bag now but whether Americans are ready to change is another story. What is needed is a capitalistic solution to make Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth message work. People won’t change unless they see something in making the change that directly benefits them personally. Like making money for conserving on energy use on a daily basis. http://www.danenet...

No kidding. I’m so sick of them cutting down the trees to make houses and books and useless stuff like that. And they should just leave the oil in the ground where it belongs. It’s like desecration or grave robbing or something to be digging up the remains of all those dead plants and animals that turned into oil. And all the chemicals they exploit to make TV sets and computers. Of course, getting to see Al gore on Oprah almost makes that worthwhile. I’m just hoping that global warming will kill all the people so the earth can exist as the pristine temple it should be with all the animals and plants living in peace and harmony, execept for man who is not really natural but some kind of freak of nature that only destroys things that are beautiful. Well, maybe not all the people should die. I’d like it if I was spared. And maybe Algore. And Oprah. But I’m willing to let Leno die if we need to. And I think it would be OK if dogs and cats all died because they’re not really natural since they were kind of bred by humans so they’re kind of freaks of nature also. Although if I had to choose I wouldn’t mind it if a few cats survived because they seem pretty clean and I don’t think republicans like cats much so they must be OK. I think cows were bred too, but I’dlike to see them spared because I kind of like milk. Don’t cows live in India? Maybe that means some of them don’t mind the heat that much, so maybe they’ll get through the global warming OK. Hopefully global warming will last just long enough to kill the people and save the planet and then stop and cool down a little once all the people are dead. Because, you know, there may not be air conditioning and I don’t want it to be too hot for me, Al and Oprah. Peace!

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Maybe we could help the resources unionize so they can fight the exploitation by themselves. You know, kind of like a Wagner act for inanimate objects.

Infact capitalism is the main cause of our situation. (Economic growth by consumption of “limited” energy sources) But it also is the solution at the same time.

Because changeing to renewable energy sources creates jobs and generates sharholder values of big impact.
The problem is, eg. fossil fuel industries think they loose their business when other solutions are provided and their own become “banned”. Those industries should change their company to use and create renewable energy sources and alternatives – money may can slower this process but the change will come ulimatly - either right in time or to late (Because of man made capitalism driven motivations.).

16 August 2006
BERKELEY – A new University of California, Berkeley, report to be delivered to state legislators today (Wednesday, Aug. 16) finds that returning California greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as envisioned by pending global warming legislation, can boost the annual Gross State Product (GSP) by $60 billion and create 17,000 new jobs by 2020. source

60 California economists call for climate change action in California

Full Report

Richard Littlemore, Am I blind or did you post the source of your information? I don’t see source link.

Input format changed to make for easier reading.

Richard Littlemore wrote (above): … “if U.S. publishers refuse to carry good new books on climate change, then Americans will have to go on making decisions based on the kind of corrupt information currently being peddled out of the ExxonMobil-funded think tanks.” I think it can also be said that … if U.S. State Climatologists and NOAA National Weather Service staff refuse to make good information on climate change and global warming available to the public, … “then Americans will have to go on making decisions based on the kind of corrupt information currently being peddled out of the ExxonMobil-funded think tanks.” Although a link to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) website is given at the end, I doubt that many people would bother to go to the MPCA link after reading the two paragraphs before it:

“Climate Change and Minnesota”

“Researchers investigating climate change in Minnesota can utilize data sets maintained by the Minnesota State Climatology Office - DNR Waters. While the State Climatology Office is not actively involved in scholarly work investigating the issue of climate change, our Office is often called upon to offer scientific opinions on the topic. The subject matter is of professional interest to us, but we make no claim of expertise in this highly complicated and politicized field of study. Our thoughts on the issue are well represented by a policy statement prepared by the American Association of State Climatologists (AASC). Staff of the State Climatology Office hold membership within the AASC, and were asked to provide review and endorsement of this statement.”

American Association of State Climatologists Policy Statement on Climate Variability and Change [Approved by AASC in November, 2001]
“Information concerning climate change and its impacts on Minnesota is available on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Web site.
(The views found on the linked policy statement do not represent a formal policy position held by the State of Minnesota or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.)”

South End Press is pleased to announce that we will be publishing George Monbiot’s Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning in the US.

The book will be available mid-April in time for Step It Up and Earth Day (and, if we act on what it says, in time to save the planet from burning).

All of us should educate ourselves about the possible impact of climate change in our health and to our surroundings. It is not just a simple problem that can be address, and as early as now; we should start gathering information to be able to prepare ourselves from the effects it will bring. We should include this as one of our top priorities. For many, money is their top priority. Some of them are consulting to financial adviser to assist them and give them some ideas on how to manage it properly. Financial adviser is the one who renders investment advice and financial planning services to individuals and businesses. Warren Buffet the world’s riches man is also consulting to financial adviser. And his financial advisor is Byron Trott. Apparently the cash advances Trott was getting from his current holdings weren’t enough, as he is leaving his position at Goldman Sachs, to begin his own merchant banking fund, focusing on business investments.  Sounds like Byron Trott would be quite the man in your corner. Read more at