A prominent environmentalist has an apology he’d like you to read. Excerpt:
On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.
I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.
But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as Expert Reviewer of its next Assessment Report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.
Here are some facts few people know:
- Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
- The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
- Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
- Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
- The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
- The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
- Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s
- Netherlands became rich not poor while adapting to life below sea level
- We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
- Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
- Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
- Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture
But here’s the real kicker; after the author, Michael Shellenberger, described how he didn’t speak out because he was afraid – yes, afraid – of his colleague’s reactions, he adds this:
But then, last year, things spiraled out of control.
The world’s most influential green journalist, Bill McKibben, called climate change the “greatest challenge humans have ever faced” and said it would “wipe out civilizations.”
Mainstream journalists reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was “the lungs of the world,” and that deforestation was like a nuclear bomb going off.
As a result, half of the people surveyed around the world last year said they thought climate change would make humanity extinct. And in January, one out of five British children told pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change.
Whether or not you have children you must see how wrong this is. I admit I may be sensitive because I have a teenage daughter. After we talked about the science she was reassured. But her friends are deeply misinformed and thus, understandably, frightened.
I thus decided I had to speak out. I knew that writing a few articles wouldn’t be enough. I needed a book to properly lay out all of the evidence.
And so my formal apology for our fear-mongering comes in the form of my new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.
I’ve bought my copy. Will you?
Read the entire article, of course, as I always encourage. Environmentalists like to claim their activism is based on science, but what Mr. Shellenberger describes is the precise opposite of science; it is a near-religious set of dogma, from which dissent is no allowed.
Science doesn’t work that way. Science is much more akin to Mr. Shellenberger‘s thesis; that he had a hypothesis, but on learning the facts did not fit the hypothesis, instead of tweaking or ignoring the data he changed his hypothesis.
I understand that Mr. Shellenberger is a liberal Democrat, but that matters not a damn in this moment. He has an important message, that facts matter, that the truth matters, and he’s working to get that out. Activists lying to us for a variety of reasons, that’s nothing new. Former activists admitting they were wrong and seeking to make things right – now that’s unusual. Mr. Shellenberger will no doubt come under vicious attacks from his former fellows. Let’s do what we can to support him – including buying his book.
Full disclosure: Because of Colorado’s laws regarding internet sales, I am not an Amazon affiliate and receive no profit or other consideration from promoting this book. I do it solely because the truth should be spread. Widely.