Global warming, overpopulation, and energy shortages are not the dire crises environmentalists make them out to be.
“Much of what we are being told about the environment, including the climate, is wrong. And we desperately need to get it right,” writes Michael Shellenberger in Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. A related argument can be found in Bjorn Lomborg’s new book, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. Although Lomborg and Shellenberger have similar concerns, their approaches are quite different. Lomborg is coldly analytical and focuses squarely on climate policy. Shellenberger writes passionately about a broader range of environmental issues. Both books present important arguments for lay readers and policymakers alike, but Shellenberger’s ultimately proves the more satisfying and informative.
False Alarm builds on themes from Lomborg’s earlier work, The Skeptical Environmentalist (1998), which was arguably the most controversial and influential book on the environment written for a popular audience in the last quarter-century. It served as the intellectual wellspring of much contemporary free-market environmentalism. Marshaling a wealth of data, he showed that issues such as global warming, overpopulation, and energy shortages were not the dire crises environmentalists made them out to be. These were problems that could be solved by human
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