Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Interview - Holly Fretwell, author of The Sky's Not Falling!: Why It's Ok to Chill About Global Warming

Today's 5 Q&A is with Holly Fretwell, author of The Sky's Not Falling!: Why It's Ok to Chill About Global Warming

1.) Who are you?
I am an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Montana
State University where I teach economic principles,
microeconomics, and natural resource and environmental
economics. I am also a research fellow at PERC, the
Property and Environment Research Center. I attended
Montana State University earning a bachelor's degree
in Political Science and master's degree in resource
economics. I worked with Northwest Economics
Associates in Vancouver, Washington, examining timber
export regulation in the Pacific Northwest and have
consulted for organizations including Plum Creek
Timber and the Center for International Trade in
Forest Products (CINTRAFOR). As author and co-author
of numerous articles on natural resource issues, my
current emphasis is on public lands management and
climate change policy. My research has been published
in professional journals and the popular press
including the Wall Street Journal, Journal for
Environmental Economics and Management, Duke
Environmental Law and Policy Forum, Journal of
Forestry, and Consumer's Research. In addition, I have
presented papers promoting the use of markets in
public land management and have provided expert
testimony on the state of our national parks and the
future of the Forest Service.

My interest in global warming came from an economic
policy investigation that was getting really scary as
I realized the implications and huge costs that would
arise if we were to attempt to prevent global warming
through government intervention and regulation on CO2
emissions. My expertise is not in climate science,
rather in the economic and policy implications of a
warmer earth.

Think about it, if we assume that the earth is
warming, it is human caused, and we can do something
about it the potential actions, as we’ve seen in many
proposals are extremely costly. The real catch,
however, is the benefits from those costly actions are

2.) Why did you write this book?
Like so many other people I was confused about the
information I was hearing about global warming. The
popular press says it's human caused, there is far
less concensus in the scientific journals where a
multitude of factors that influence climate are
examined. That confusion followed by the costly policy
recommendations encouraged me to look further. In that
search I found lots of great material, and some not so
great. Some of the most disappointing material I found
was propaganda to scare our children into making
uninformed choices. There is so much information
available today, via internet, TV, radio, etc., that I
believe it is vitally important to teach our children
how to think critically and be able to decipher fact
from fiction. That is why I wrote The Sky's Not
Falling, and that is why I wrote it in simple enough
terms for children, parents, and all adults to read.

3.) Have you experienced any negative reactions regarding your book?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the small amount
of negative criticism. There are certainly those that
say I have been funded and influenced by industry; if
only I could be so fortunate as to have some financial
backing for the time investment I have put into my
studies on global warming. My only earnings are
royalties from the book. I wrote the book from my
heart and for the children, their parents, and others
interested in a better understanding of climate
change. I wrote the book because I was worried about
the grave problem that I was hearing about. I am now
relieved to know the facts. Readers of "The Sky's Not
Falling" will feel that same relief by understanding
what is really happening around the Earth.

4.) What do you do to be more "green"?
For starters I live in Montana because I love the
wilderness and the outdoors. And I do those typical
things we were all taught as kids to help conserve the
environment -- like turning off the lights when
leaving the room and the water off when brushing teeth
-- we are also conscious of the power we use for heat
in our home and have remodeled our home to take
advantage of solar energy. Most importantly, perhaps,
is my efforts to help people better understand the
value of property rights and incentives for
environmental protection. As a professor of economics
I try to teach students the value of resources and
help them develop a sense of how we can better protect
the environment.

5.) What's next?
I have recently finished a book on public lands
management, though I am still awaiting its
publication. I have, in the past, thought of other
middle-school aged books about the environment. The
success of this book will be a good indicator of the
likely acceptance of others.

Thank you so much, Holly!

Thank you. I hope everyone enjoys the book and shares
it by instigating more discussion about what is really
happening in our world and the possible responses to
those constant changes. It is freedom and markets that
will help spark the innovative ideas that solve the
many problems we meet.


Cheryl said...

Great interview! Thanks for telling us more about your book. I think it is important that we work to conserve our natural resources without hampering business productivity.

Best of luck with your tour.


Jim Melvin said...

Another great interview. I really enjoyed it, though the liberal in me is balking!

Theresa Chaze said...

A very good interview. I live green. It can be as easy or difficult as you make for yourself. We don't have to spend a great deal to make a big difference. Sometimes it just takes a little forethought.

political wife said...

Great interview! Thanks. Working with the energy field, I know one side of the issue--a side that's not often told, because the field is so demonized, and it's one field that does realize that the climate change issue is multifaceted (not that it isn't somewhat culpbable for polutants, but they are working hard to change that.) Unfortunately the media and politicians have neglected (until very recently) to discuss the very real things that each of us can do for "greener" living and a better planet, but at the same time, it takes a global approach and committment. If we'er reducing CO2 (and other VOCs) here, but coal-fired plants (without CO2 sequestration) are being used more and more in developing nations, our reductions don't really do much-even with carbon credits. I agree, there is a lot of confusion, that unfortuately bodies like the IPCC helped to create despite their best intentions.

Great interview, great post!