The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World

The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World

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by Bjorn Lomborg, Bjrn Lomborg, Bjorn Lomborg
     
 
Bjørn Lomborg, a former member of Greenpeace, challenges widely held beliefs that the world environmental situation is getting worse and worse in his new book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues that feature

Overview

Bjørn Lomborg, a former member of Greenpeace, challenges widely held beliefs that the world environmental situation is getting worse and worse in his new book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues that feature prominently in headline news around the world, including pollution, biodiversity, fear of chemicals, and the greenhouse effect, and documents that the world has actually improved. He supports his arguments with over 2500 footnotes, allowing readers to check his sources.

Editorial Reviews

Economist
This is one of the most valuable books on public policy not merely on environmental policy to have been written for the intelligent general reader in the past ten years.
Matt Ridley
...he has put his conclusions in a remarkable book, probably the most important book on the environment ever written. Its importance lies partly in its relentless statistics. With 173 charts, nine tables and a staggering 2,930 footnotes, The Skeptical Environmentalist will be a source of reference for years to come. But it is also a readable, accessible and simple account of the state of the world, told as much in the illuminating charts as in the text itself. And it is a fascinating polemic, too.
The Daily Telegraph (London)
From the Publisher
"This is one of the most valuable books on public policy - not merely on environmental policy - to have been written for the intelligent general reader in the past ten years. The Skeptical Environmentalist is a triumph."
The Economist

"… a superbly documented and readable book."
The Wall Street Journal

"… it is a surprise to meet someone who calls himself an environmentalist but who asserts that things are getting better … Strange to say, the author of this happy thesis is not a steely-eyed economist at a conservative Washington think tank but a vegetarian, backpack-toting academic who was a member of Greenpeace for four years … The primary target of the books, a substantial work of analysis with almost 3000 footnotes, are statements made by environemtal organizations like the Worldwatch Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace. He refers to the persistently gloomy fate from these groups as the Litany, a collection of statements that he argues are exaggerations or outright myths."
The New York Times

"The Skeptical Environmentalist should be read by every environmentalist, so that the appalling errors of fact the environmental movement has made in the past are not repeated. A brilliant and powerful book."
Matt Ridley, author of Genome

"Lomborg pulls off the remarkable feat of welding the techno-optimism of the Internet age with a lefty's concern for the fate of the planet."
Rolling Stone

"Bjørn Lomborg is an outstanding representative of the 'new breed' of political scientists - mathematically-skilled and computer-adept. In this book he shows himself also to be a hardheaded, empirically oriented analyst. Surveying a vast amount of data and taking account of a wide range of more and less informed opinion about environmental threats facing the planet, he comes to a balanced assessment of which ones are real and which are over-hyped. In vigorous and what needs not to be done about those turning out to be pseudo-problems."
Jack Hirshleifer, University of California, Los Angeles

"Bjørn Lomborg raises the important question whether the costs of remedying the damage caused by environmental pollution are higher than the costs of the pollution itself. The answer is by no means straightforward. He has written a pioneering book."
Richard Rosecrance, University of California, Los Angeles

"When Lomborg concludes that 'the loss of the world's rainforests, of fertile agricultural land, the ozone layer and of the climate balance are terrible' I agree. But we also need debate, and this book provides us with that in generous amounts, incl 2428 footnotes. If you, like I do, belong to the people who dare to think the world is making some progress, but always with mistakes to be corrected, this book makes important reading."
Lars Kristoferson, Secretary General, WWF Sweden

"… probably the most important book on the environment ever written."
booksonline

"Lomborg is right on his points, that his critique of much green activism and its reporting in the media is just, and, above all, that where there is room for disagreement, Mr Lomborg invites and facilitates discussion, rather than seeking to silence it."
The Economist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521804479
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
08/30/2001
Pages:
515
Product dimensions:
6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 1.57(d)

What People are saying about this

Lewis Wolpert
At last a book that gives the environment the scientific analysis it deserves, and provides understanding of the problem, the risks and the solutions. Essential reading.
— Professor Lewis Wolpert, Department of Anatomy and Biology, University College London
Lars Kristoferson
When Lomborg concludes that'...the loss of the world's rainforests, of fertile agricultural land, the ozone layer and of the climate balance are terrible..'I agree. But we also need debate, and this book provides us with that in generous amounts, including 2,428 footnotes. If you, like I do, belong to the people who dare to think the world is making some progress, but always with mistakes to be corrected, this book makes important reading.
— Professor Lars Kristoferson, Secretary Genral, WWF Sweden
Jack Hirshleifer
Bjorn Lomborg is an outstanding representative of the new breed of political scientists-mathematically-skilled and computer-adept. In this book he shows himself also to be a hard-headed, empirically-oriented analyst. Surveying a vast amount of data and taking account of a wide range of more and less informed opinion about environmental threats facing the planet, he comes to a balanced assessment of which ones are real and which over-hyped.
— Professor Jack Hirshleifer, Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
Mark Ridley
The Skeptical Environmentalist should be read by every environmentalist so that the appaling errors of fact the environmental movement as made in the past are not repeated. A brilliant and powerful book.
— Matt Ridley, author of Genome

Meet the Author

Bjørn Lomborg is an Associate Professor of Statistics in the Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark. He has published in international journals in the fields of game theory and computer simulations. He has given invited lectures on the subjects discussed in The Skeptical Environmentalist in leading universities in North America and Europe following the success of the original Danish edition which has had a significant impact on the terms of the environmental debate within Scandinavia.

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The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Healthy skepticism about extraordinary claims is a hallmark of good science. Such skepticism is useful in reading Bjorn Lomborg's new book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. In it, the Danish statistician makes extraordinary claims that environmental quality is improving around the world, and the environmental community is not telling the truth for its own cynical reasons. In making the case for a more rational and scientific debate on environmental issues, Lomborg commits the same sins for which he attacks environmentalists. He exaggerates, makes sweeping generalizations, presents false choices, is highly selective in his use of data and quotations and, frequently, is simply wrong. Lomborg paints a caricature of the environmental agenda based on sometimes mistaken views widely held 30 years ago, but to which no serious environmental institution today subscribes. Leading environmental groups are well aware of what biological and climate science tells us, they work with major corporations, and they pursue strategies based on providing information that allows people to make informed choices. Moreover, despite its 3000 footnotes, the book is riddled with misleading arguments and factual errors. For example, Lomborg asserts that ¿marine productivity has almost doubled since 1970.¿ While tons of fish taken from the sea have indeed doubled, many marine fish stocks are now badly depleted as a result and harvests of cod, swordfish, halibut, and many other commercially important species have crashed. Other commentaries, including those by Lomborg¿s colleagues at the University of Aarhus, can be found at the website of the World Resources Institute.