Climate Change Debate Gets a New Heroine

Published November 9, 2016

Review of Climatized: A Max Ford Thriller, Sally Fernandez, Dunham Books, October 2016, 224 pages; ISBN-13: 978-0997397321: $15.99 on

I owe a debt of gratitude to physicist Hal Doiron, a former NASA Apollo Team member and current member of The Right Climate Stuff research team, who suggested to me that novelist Sally Fernandez has hit upon a way to effectively communicate on the global warming issue with a much wider audience than could ever be reached with technical conference presentations.

Following in the footsteps of the late Michael Crichton (State of Fear), Fernandez has woven a hair-raising murder mystery into an accurate explanation of what we really know about the planet’s present and future climate. Climatized describes a cabal aimed at eliminating “deniers” – not by destroying their reputations, as is today’s modus operandi, but by outright, though cleverly disguised, murders.

The book’s heroine is newly minted private eye Maxine Ford, previously high up in U.S. intelligence. She teams up with a special aide to the president of the United States and a scientist who has thus far managed to escape the efforts to eliminate him. Collectively running but a few steps ahead of shadowy killers, they piece together the plot while dropping fact after fact of real climate science presented by Dennis Avery and Fred Singer, among others.

Half of the characters in the book are real people, whom Fernandez quotes continuously to make sure she has the science right – and indeed she does. She begins with intriguing descriptions of the deaths of two scientists and a politician involved in a major Senate hearing on climate change.

Ford gets her first real case at the behest of a politician’s widow who is certain her husband’s death was not a suicide as reported in the press. Ford begins by investigating that death and others, managing to place in each investigation technical questions whose answers expose the falsity, if not absurdity, of the human-caused global warming premise. Each fact in each discussion or interrogation builds upon the next as would an excellent high school teacher explaining physics to his or her class.

Ford traces the cabal back to the Earth Summit of 1992, where Maurice Strong, a Canadian billionaire who got rich on oil before promoting “sustainability,” attempted to make sure others could not prosper. Al Gore was his lieutenant, assuming command of the Agenda 21 plan after Strong’s death. The plan, though not a treaty, was signed at the Earth Summit by 178 countries and eventually introduced as Executive Order 12852 by President Bill Clinton.

One of Ford’s interrogations uncovered the fact that the Chicago Climate Exchange, established in 2010 to trade carbon credits, netted Gore and his partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers hundreds of millions of dollars when they invested in more than 40 companies that benefited from the folly of cap and trade.

The work of the two murdered scientists crossed paths with the infamous Climatic Research Unit (CRU), where Phil Jones was caught falsifying climate data and Michael Mann is shown to eliminate data in order to construct his hockey stick sham; Fernandez’s characters explain all of this with precision and simplicity. The average reader may not get as big a kick out of Fernandez’s references as I did, given my friendship with so many of the real scientists. I found the casual manner of her recital of Dennis Avery’s work wonderful. To quote Fernandez:

Dennis Avery had compelling scientific evidence that the sun played a key role in climate change along with cloud formations and shifts in the ocean, concluding that reducing fossil fuel use would have no discernible effect on rising temperatures.

It will likely come as a surprise to readers that mathematical models claiming to show increasing temperatures due to man’s activities do not consider that the sun plays any significant role.

What Max Ford’s conversations do not explain about global warming, she learns from publications such as The Wall Street Journal. There she quotes extensively from articles such as Bret Stephens’ stating that global warming is a cottage industry whose survival is dependent on being believed through mindless repetition of things nearly true with recurring dramatic crises requiring drastic solutions.

One of the delights of this truly “historical novel” is its short chapters, which enable the reader to take a breath and decompress from the action. At the same time, Fernandez develops her characters exceptionally well … and makes it difficult for male readers not to develop a crush on heroine Max Ford. This is a wonderfully educational and exciting read.