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“Apologizing for the climate scare” — Another Environmentalist joins skeptics

Posted By Jo Nova On June 29, 2020 @ 9:39 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled


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UPDATE: The page this links to may or may not be “inactive” at Forbes. Perhaps they’ve run out of electrons? If the article link doesn’t work. Try Google Cache. Web archive. Or Tallblokes PDF.

At some point there will be a rush — a phase change as real environmentalists realize they are being used as useful idiots for multinational giants and Big Bankers. Then there will be a scramble to outgreen the establishment Greens by denouncing some key aspects of false alarm. We’re not there yet. But the Michael Moore documentary is significant and Michael Shellenberger fits a similar mold. We’ll know the moment has arrived when there is more cheering for rather than vitriol against the “traitors”.

Michael Shellenberger was, a long time ago, very Green. Among other things, he was named a Time magazine Heroes of the Environment (2008), winner of the 2008 Green Book Award.  In 2015, Shellenberger joined with 18 other self-described ecomodernists to coauthor An Ecomodernist Manifesto. He’s been shifting through a transition over the years from extreme Green, to pragmatic Green (pro nuclear in 2004, see his TEDX in 2017) and now to a pro-civilization, pro power, anti-alarmist. But seemingly not as far as to become a climate science skeptic?

This is what I mean by extreme Green:

Some people will, when they read this imagine that I’m some right-wing anti-environmentalist. I’m not. At 17, I lived in Nicaragua to show solidarity with the Sandinista socialist revolution. At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women’s cooperatives. In my early 20s I lived in the semi-Amazon doing research with small farmers fighting land invasions. At 26 I helped expose poor conditions at Nike factories in Asia.

He’s seen the light (or perhaps just the data):

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.


How easily bullying and namecalling silences people

At first he didn’t speak because he was embarrassed. Then he was afraid:

…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.

At least he’s honest:

I even stood by as people in the White House and many in the news media tried to destroy the reputation and career of an outstanding scientist, good man, and friend of mine, Roger Pielke, Jr….

Back in 2004 he was criticized as A radioactive wolf in sheeps clothing. So this is part of a long transition. It’s not like he discovered the wonders of nuclear power last year.

His new book is  Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.

Agreeing with the IPCC but disagreeing with their recommendations

His list of points, as he said “from” the IPCC, FAO and IUCN:

  • 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 declinedby an area nearly as large as Alaska
  • The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
  • Carbon emissions have been declining in rich nations for decades and peaked in Britain, Germany and France in the mid-seventies
  • Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
  • We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
  • 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

Lukewarm? Does Shellenberger still think CO2 needs to be reduced?

He’s an energy and policy skeptic, but not necessarily (yet) a skeptic of their science.  He’s called a “science communicator” so we hope takes a hard look at it. As long as junk science rules, we won’t figure out how the climate works, or stop science from being abused and used again for the next scare, and the one after that. I suspect he still thinks CO2 should be reduced.  If I’ve missed it, let me know.

UPDATE: Charles Battig reviews the Shellenberger book  with Michael Moore’s documentary, and Bjorn Lomborg’s new book.

He [Shellenberger] reflects upon his early devotion to environmentalism as a manifestation of an “underlying anxiety and unhappiness in my own life that had little to do with climate change or the state of the natural environment.” It became a quasi-religion offering “emotional relief” and “spiritual satisfaction” for those, like him, who may have lost the guidance of traditional spiritual faiths.

Schellenberg concludes with the observation that “the trouble with the new environmental religion is that it has become increasingly apocalyptic, destructive, and self-defeating.”

American Thinker

It’s easy to be cynical about a slick marketing campaign (which the book promotion certainly is). It’s a tad pompous to apologize on behalf of “environmentalists everywhere”, as if he is a self annointed spokesman, and it means something. At least his book and interviews will open some new eyes, and that can’t be a bad thing.

Here’s hoping he really looks at the science of CO2, not just rehash the options for a different kind of low carbon future.

h/t Another Ian. Charles M. Climate Skepticism. Adam W. John Droz. Eduard H.

* Yes, that’s an affiliate link, and I might get a small commission.

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