The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the Worldby 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 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.
The Daily Telegraph (London)
"… 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."
"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."
"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."
- Cambridge University Press
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What People are saying about this
Professor Lewis Wolpert, Department of Anatomy and Biology, University College London
Professor Lars Kristoferson, Secretary Genral, WWF Sweden
Professor Jack Hirshleifer, Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
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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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.