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Calling the bluff of Environmentalists -



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IPI_Marker

The following article from WALL STREET JOURNAL talks about a great book
"The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the
World," by Prof. Bjorn Lomborg. Few excerpt from the article which is
given verbatim at the end of this email:

Just look at the way global-warming enthusiast Stephan Schneider
justifies lies.
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The real crime of this Dane, in short, is not to be melancholy enough.
As for intellectual honesty, some of Prof. Lomborg's severest critics
might be wary of casting the first stone. In 1989, global-warming
enthusiast Stephen Schneider, one of the anti-Lomborg attackers in
Scientific American, confessed "[We] are not just scientists but human
beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a
better place. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to
capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting
loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make
simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts
we might have. . . . Each of us has to decide what the right balance is
between being effective and being honest."
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http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/tbray/?id=100001698
Who Is Bjorn Lomborg?
The man who gives greens the blues.

BY THOMAS J. BRAY
Tuesday, February 19, 2002 12:01 a.m. EST


Who is this Bjorn Lomborg, and why is everybody so mad at him?

No, Mr. Lomborg is not another Scandinavian cross-country skier. He is
a 36-year-old associate professor of statistics in the political
science department of Denmark's University of Aarhus. And the green
movement is furious at him because he had the audacity to say what the
cold, hard statistics told him: that planet Earth, far from being
locked in an environmental death spiral, appears to be doing
surprisingly well, thank you very much.

It's not what Prof. Lomborg, who describes himself as a former
Greenpeace member, expected to find. But in gathering information with
which he hoped to refute environmental optimists such as the late
Julian Simon, he found himself forced to take the sunny side. The
result is "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of
the World," which was initially published in Danish in 1998 and then
republished in English last year by Cambridge University Press.





The 515-page paperback version, complete with 2,930 footnotes and a
69-page bibliography, received respectful, indeed glowing, reviews in
many quarters, including The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and the
Washington Post. It has risen to the top of the bestseller list for
environmental subjects. Alarmed activists in the scientific and
environmental community, eager to nip this heresy in the bud and unable
any longer to ignore him, are mobilizing to discredit the Danish
upstart.
Green organizations like the World Wildlife Federation and World
Resources Institute sent out press releases warning potential reviewers
about the evils of Mr. Lomborg's book. No fewer than four prominent
academics who have been deeply involved in environmental activism were
invited to pen articles denouncing him and belittling his credentials
in prestigious Nature magazine last November. Scientific American
devoted an extraordinary 11 pages of its January issue to attacking the
Lomborg thesis.

And just for good measure, when Mr. Lomborg showed up to debate his
thesis at Oxford University, a "global warming" researcher threw a
cream pie in his face.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. The savagery of the
anti-Lomborg campaign is causing many to wonder if Mr. Lomborg hasn't
struck a legitimate nerve. It has also prompted some prominent figures
and publications to rally to his defense--if only to point out, as a
former Nature editor, Stephen Budiansky, put it, that the attacks
"exemplify the unfortunate tendency of some environmental activists,
when challenged with well-founded objections to the scientific validity
of their alarmist claims about the state of the planet, to respond with
such diversionary tactics as counting the number of footnotes cited by
their critics, disparaging their credentials and misinterpreting their
views--everything, in short, but dealing honestly with the evidence."





Not that Mr. Lomborg's ideas aren't debatable. Maybe ocean levels
really will inundate New York, despite the recent finding that
Antarctic ice is thickening in places rather than melting. Maybe Paul
Ehrlich's infamously wrong 1968 prediction of mass starvation in the
1970s and '80s was just ahead of its time, especially if, as one
anti-Lomborgian predicts, the world population rises to 40 billion by
the end of the century. (Most analysts forecast something closer to
nine billion.) And maybe Prof. Lomborg doesn't give enough credit to
governmental policies for the improvements he discerns--though he cites
persuasive data that the air and water were getting significantly
cleaner even before Richard Nixon invented the Environmental Protection
Agency.
"The Skeptical Environmentalist" makes a powerful case that the
evidence of impending catastrophe is a lot less robust than the enviro
empire--waxing fat on government global warming grants and lucrative
fund-raising campaigns to save the owls--often pretends. If the
empire's scare tactics induce society to waste a lot of resources on
"problems" that turn out not to be problems, we will have fewer
resources to deal with real problems as they arise.

The last resort of the critics is to assert that Mr. Lomborg has no
credentials in environmental science. True enough, as he himself admits
in his book. But the evidence he cites comes almost exclusively from
conventional sources used by the enviros themselves. And sometimes it
takes an outsider to point out when the emperor is wearing no clothes.

The real crime of this Dane, in short, is not to be melancholy enough.
As for intellectual honesty, some of Prof. Lomborg's severest critics
might be wary of casting the first stone. In 1989, global-warming
enthusiast Stephen Schneider, one of the anti-Lomborg attackers in
Scientific American, confessed "[We] are not just scientists but human
beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a
better place. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to
capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting
loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make
simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts
we might have. . . . Each of us has to decide what the right balance is
between being effective and being honest."

Even, apparently, if it means attempting to suppress honest debate
about legitimate scientific issues.



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