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The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World

Bjorn Lomborg (Aarhus Universitet, Denmark)

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Cambridge University Press
28 August 2001
Economic statistics; Development economics; Environmental economics; Mathematics & Sciences; Environmental science, engineering & technology
Bjorn 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. Bjorn 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.
By:   Bjorn Lomborg (Aarhus Universitet Denmark)
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 247mm,  Width: 174mm,  Spine: 35mm
Weight:   1.078kg
ISBN:   9780521010689
ISBN 10:   0521010683
Pages:   540
Publication Date:   28 August 2001
Audience:   College/higher education ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Bjorn 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.

Reviews for The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World

'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, Environment Correspondent, 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 & 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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