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The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the Worldby Bjorn Lomborg
Synopses & Reviews
The Skeptical Environmentalist challenges widely held beliefs that the environmental situation is getting worse and worse. The author, himself a former member of Greenpeace, is critical of the way in which many environmental organisations make selective and misleading use of the scientific evidence. Using the best available statistical information from internationally recognised research institutes, Bjørn Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental problems that feature prominently in headline news across the world. His arguments are presented in non-technical, accessible language and are carefully backed up by over 2500 footnotes allowing readers to check sources for themselves. Concluding that there are more reasons for optimism than pessimism, Bjørn Lomborg stresses the need for clear-headed prioritisation of resources to tackle real, not imagined problems. The Skeptical Environmentalist offers readers a non-partisan stocktaking exercise that serves as a useful corrective to the more alarmist accounts favoured by campaign groups and the media.
"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
"This is one of the most valuable books on public policy — not merely on environmental policy — to have been written for the intelligent reader in the past ten years....The Skeptical Environmentalist is a triumph." The Economist
"[A] superbly documented and readable book." Wall Street Journal
"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 Big Green organizations will not like it. They will accuse Lomborg of defending Big Business...but the charge cannot stick. He has an impeccably Leftish background and a transparent independence of mind. And he is not complacent: 'By far the majority of indicators show that mankind's lot has vastly improved. This does not, however, mean that everything is good enough.'" Sunday Telegraph (London)
"Bjorn Lomborg's good news about the environment is bad news for Green ideologues. His richly informative, lucid book is now the place from which environmental policy decisions must be argued. In fact, The Skeptical Environmentalist is the most significant work on the environment since the appearance of its polar opposite, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, in 1962. It's a magnificent achievement." Washington Post
A best seller in Scandinavia in its original Danish edition, The Skeptical Environmentalist makes use of the best available statistical information to challenge the widespread pessimism about the future of the environment. The arguments are presented in non-technical, accessible language with 2500 footnotes allowing readers to check sources for themselves.
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. Lomborg criticizes the way many environmental organizations make selective and misleading use of scientific evidence and argues that we are making decisions about the use of our limited resources based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Concluding that there are more reasons for optimism than pessimism, he stresses the need for clear-headed prioritization of resources to tackle real, not imagined, problems. The Skeptical Environmentalist offers readers a non-partisan evaluation that serves as a useful corrective to the more alarmist accounts favored by campaign groups and the media. Bjørn Lomborg is an associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus. When he started to investigate the statistics behind the current gloomy view of the environment, he was genuinely surprised. He published four lengthy articles in the leading Danish newspaper, including statistics documenting an ever-improving world, and unleashed the biggest post-war debate with more than 400 articles in all the major papers. Since then, Lomborg has been a frequent participant in the European debate on environmentalism on television, radio, and in newspapers.
A controversial, wide ranging and clearly documented survey of the state of the global environment.
About 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.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Part I. The Litany: 1. Things are getting better; 2. Why do we hear so much bad news?; Part II. Human Welfare: 3. Measuring human welfare; 4. Life expectancy and health; 5. Food and hunger; 6. Prosperity; 7. Conclusion; Part III. Can Human Prosperity Continue?: 8. Are we living on borrowed time?; 9. Will we have enough food; 10. Forests - are we losing them?; 11. Energy; 12. Non-energy resources; 13. Water; 14. Conclusion; Part IV. Pollution: 15. Air pollution; 16. Acid rain and forest death; 17. Indoor air pollution; 18. Allergies and asthma; 19. Water pollution; 20. Waste: running out of space?; 21. Conclusion; Part V. Tomorrow's Problems: 22. Our chemical fears; 23. Biodiversity; 24. Global warming; Part VI. The Real State of the World: 25. Predicament or progress?; Notes; Bibliography.
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