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The Skeptical Environmentalist

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The Skeptical Environmentalist

Measuring the Real State of the World

Cambridge UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

The sky is not falling! The sky is not falling!

Editorial Rating



  • Controversial
  • Scientific
  • Overview


The earth is not running out of oil. Global warming will not destroy our civilization. Starvation is being eliminated. Pollution is receding, and the environment, in general, is clean and in pretty good health. Do these statements sound preposterous? If so, you’ve probably been spending too much time listening to the scaremongers that make their livings through the media. Or at least, that’s the opinion of Bjorn Lomborg, who shoots down many popular but wrongly held notions with his fresh analysis of long-term environmental and health data. His book is impeccably documented, to the point that many readers will get lost in technical details and statistical analysis. For that reason, recommends this book primarily to serious students of environmental policy.


Deceitful Data

An accurate understanding of the world is critical in order to decide how to allocate our resources and efforts on a global scale. Unfortunately, our world-view has been skewed by a litany of misconceptions presented by environmentalists and doomsayers. These critics claimed, for example, that we are running out of energy and natural resources-an assertion that is demonstrably false. In fact, people today have more food and are living longer than at any time in the last century. For instance, in 1900 the average lifespan was 30 years; now it is 67. Also, poverty has been reduced more in the last 50 years than in the last 500, according to UN statistics, and this reduction has occurred in almost every country.

Flagrant exaggeration about environmental decline scares everyone and leads people to spend resources and focus attention on non-existent problems while ignoring real issues. Why do these groups continue to misinform the public? Well, for starters, they owe their very existence - and their funding - to the ongoing threat of these problems. In other words, the worse the problems seems to be, the more important the groups that study and oppose them...

About the Author

Bjorn Lomborg  is an Associate Professor of Statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He has published in international journals in the fields of game theory and computer simulations.

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