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The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World Paperback – September 10, 2001
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"... 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."
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Top Customer Reviews
Bjorn Lomborg started working on the issues that would eventually make up the content of his book by leading some of his statistics students into debunking some claims made by University of Maryland's professor Julian Simon. Julian Simon had claimed that things were actually getting better rather than worse, and that most negative environmental indicators were connected to poverty, violence and bad government rather than consumption or wealth. To their surprise (for he initially took Simon's claims as evidence of typical American arrogance), Lomborg and his students found that Simon was roughly right.Read more ›
Some critics of Dr. Lomborg have referred to the January 2003 report by the Danish Commitee on Scientific Dishonesty(DCSD) as essentially discrediting the entire basis of The Skeptical Environmentalist. But, in fact, many lay people have pointed out serious flaws in the Methadology of DCSD's conclusions and on its refusal to give Lomborg prior to the release of their critical report. The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has now(December 2003) intervened to harshly criticised the DCSD's methadology and to repudiated their findings on Lomborg's book.Read more ›
But some people apparently don't like the resulting priorities like "we could give all people in the world food and clean water forever for less than the yearly costs of Kyoto". Notice that the writers sympathy is with the sick and starving, not with the wealthy.
What is so good about the book that the writer uses the most acclaimed sources in each field, so people that don't like the resulting priorities find themselves fighting their own conclusions.
As you've guessed from the title I've carefully read the 11 page Scientific American article, Lomboks even larger rebuttal, Scientific Americans reaction to that and finally the ruling of the DCSD (the Danish group of scientists that ruled him biased).
This Scientific American article uses a very heavyhanded and even rhetoric approach to stress that the critics are scientific heavyweights in their field, not te be disputed.
But after the dust clears only two factual errors (that are never relevant to the main theme) remain: (1) the tekst contains the term catalyse where it should have been electrolyze (translation error according to Lombok) and (2) a "20% dependence" on nuclear energy in nations having nuclear power should have been a "20% dependence for electric use".
So here's a book picked to pieces by heavywheights and these are the only factual mistakes they can find!
In his rebuttal (DO read it: I'cant put in web adresses here but you'll find it in no time) Lombok comes up with a long list of errors on the part of his critics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many of the critical reviewers are correct that both subtle and several glaring mistakes have been made throughout this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Curtis L Wagner
One of the most informative books I've ever read. This fine book debunks the myths of the eco-wacko-environmental-pessimist-loonies. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tony Meyer
The book is cleverly deceptive, it is very easy to overlook the mistakes and misinformation, but they are widespread and inexcusable. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Preferred Customer
This is one of the most thoughtful, carefully researched works of its kind. It should be required reading in all high school earth science classes. Read morePublished 9 months ago by David L. Pogge, Ph.D.
This book is meant for the general public, but make sure you have your reading glasses handy: it's dense with information, statistics, and graphs. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lynne B. Tagawa
This is one of my favorite books.
Easy fast fun read. Explains a lot more than just environmental science. Methodology of carcinogen testing is explained. Read more