"My view of this is that the media is like the guy going down the street with a sign that says 'The End of the World is Near,' and he picks a date and the day comes and goes, and the world doesn't end. So he doesn't stop with the sign. He goes home, makes another sign, puts a new date on it, and starts marching again. That's the way the media is," Crichton said.
He argues that researchers who study global warming often exaggerate the problem in order to get grants, often using celebrities to promote their cause.
By taking on global warming, Crichton hopes to ease some people's worries.
"I don't know what it is. We seem to be very ready to think it's all coming to an end. At least take in the possibility that actually everything might be going to be OK," he said.
In response to the use of its public service announcement in this "20/20's" segment, the Union of Concerned Scientists sent the following statement:
We hope Michael Crichton fans enjoy his new science-fiction thriller, while keeping in mind there is a very strong consensus among the vast majority of climate scientists that global warming is under way and human activity is a primary cause. Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the air.
Technologies exist today that can cut emissions of heat-trapping gases and make a real difference in the health of our planet. These changes often have other positive benefits such as improving air quality, saving consumers money, reducing our dependence on oil, and creating new jobs and business opportunities.
Our political and business leaders have a responsibility to help move us toward a cleaner energy future. Public investments should shift away from polluting fossil fuels to support for clean renewable energy such as wind and solar power, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and more energy-efficient technologies. People from all walks of life can play a role in slowing global warming by advocating for smarter government policies, better corporate practices, and informed consumer choices.