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The Skeptical Environmentalist

The Skeptical Environmentalist
Measuring the Real State of the World


  • Date Published: August 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521010689

£ 30.00

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Controversial and comprehensive: up-to-date, authoritative facts about important environmental world issues
    • Costs and benefits of environmental action and inaction
    • Discussion of the background of pessimism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

    '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

    'The Skeptical Environmentalist is perhaps the most important book about the environment since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962) awakened the world to the dangers of unrestrained economic growth.' Jason Cowley, New Statesman

    'Bjorn 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 hard-headed, 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 over-hyped. In vigorous informal style, he indicates what needs to be done to address the real environmental hazards - and what needs not to be done about those turning out to be pseudo-problems.' Jack Hirshleifer, University of California, Los Angeles

    'A new book is about to overturn our most basic assumptions about the world's environment. Far from going to hell in a handcart, it is improving by almost all measures. Those things not getting better are getting worse at a slower rate.' Anthony Browne, Observer

    'Lomborg's challenge will have to be met … he has given an important challenge to the scientific establishment that is not only good for science, but damned necessary to it.' Fortean Times

    '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. 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

    'Lomborg's book has drawn considerable attention. Although it may cause problems for the more militant and political environmentalists, it should be welcomed by anyone genuinely concerned about the environment. … Lomborg's book sheds needed light on the real state of the world. I recommend it to anyone interested in our global environment … The Skeptical Environmentalist is the most valuable book available in many years on public policy in general, not only environmental policy in particular. It should be required reading for all legislators, government bureaucrats and corporate executives who preside over the ever-increasing array of environmental regulations and politics. John P. Bluemle, Geotimes

    'Whatever your standpoint, The Skeptical Environmentalist will make indispensable reading.' Mail on Sunday

    'A brilliant book … All in all, this is a must-have/must read book. Don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.' Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

    '… his book is the Christmas present for a rational future.' The Chemical Engineer

    '… it should be welcomed by anyone genuinely concerned about the environment.' Environmental Geology

    'The Skeptical Environmentalist marks a critical environmental moment … We can forget those dreary old idols: Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown with his Worldwatch Institute, Greenpeace and all the others. They have been exiled into the darkness. Eco-optimism can begin to rise over the Earth. After Lomborg, the environmental movement will begin to wither.' National Post

    'Bjorn Lomborg's book is hugely beneficial for a debate that has been one-sided.' The Financial Times

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521010689
    • length: 540 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 174 x 35 mm
    • weight: 1.04kg
    • contains: 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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?

  • Author

    Bjørn Lomborg, Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
    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.

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