Michael Shellenberger has been a climate activist for 30 years, a liberal activist who went to Nicaragua in the 1980s to help the Sandinistas. He’s traveled the world for liberal causes, pushed the “existential threat” of global warming, but is now apologizing for promoting “climate alarmism.”
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.
Schellenberger then debunks some facts that climate hysterics have been repeating for years. Here are a few:
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
Hear that, you sanctimonious scolds in the vegan movement?
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
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
So why keep your mouth shut all these years? The reasons won’t surprise anyone who has been aware of the suppression of opposing views in the mainstream scientific community that don’t comport with the majority.
But mostly I was scared. I remained quiet about the climate disinformation campaign because I was afraid of losing friends and funding. The few times I summoned the courage to defend climate science from those who misrepresent it I suffered harsh consequences. And so I mostly stood by and did next to nothing as my fellow environmentalists terrified the public.
Welcome to the world of climate skeptics, Mr. Schellenberger, most of whom have suffered personal and professional travails because of their beliefs.
The reasons for his decision to go public and fight the misinformation relates to the rise of the radical left in the West. Climate hysterics all over the world are raising the stakes in the debate over climate change. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the UN announced that the world will end in 12 years unless we take radical action. Britain’s “Extinction Rebellion” tried to “shut the country down.” The media have become even more hysterical.
But it was seeing the effects on children that affected Schellenberger the most.
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.
Schellenberger has written a book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, trying to debunk much of the hysteria about climate. And in it, he details who is really behind the climate scare.
In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty “sustainable.” And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism
Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped.
In other words, the usual suspects that have been named by “paranoid” right-wing climate skeptics for years.
Schellenberger is not very optimistic his book will make a difference. Indeed, King Canute commanding the tides not to come in had better luck than his book will have in pushing back against hysteria. There are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake for the alarmists, reputations of some of the most respected scientists in the world, billions of dollars in government research. Thousands of people work in industries that service the global warming scare.
Every institution is involved up to the eyeballs in pushing climate change and warning about catastrophe. And against them are arrayed a few skeptical scientists, constantly being harassed, constantly at risk of being fired and losing their livelihoods.
This is not an argument about saving the planet. It’s an argument about who controls it. And the bad guys are winning.