Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All
Climate change is real but it's not the end of the world. It is not even our most serious environmental problem.
Michael Shellenberger has been fighting for a greener planet for decades. He helped save the world's last unprotected redwoods. He co-created the predecessor to today's Green New Deal. And he led a successful effort by climate scientists and activists to keep nuclear plants operating, preventing a spike of emissions.
But in 2019, as some claimed "billions of people are going to die," contributing to rising anxiety, including among adolescents, Shellenberger decided that, as a lifelong environmental activist, leading energy expert, and father of a teenage daughter, he needed to speak out to separate science from fiction.
Despite decades of news media attention, many remain ignorant of basic facts. Carbon emissions peaked and have been declining in most developed nations for over a decade. Deaths from extreme weather, even in poor nations, declined 80 percent over the last four decades. And the risk of Earth warming to very high temperatures is increasingly unlikely thanks to slowing population growth and abundant natural gas.
Curiously, the people who are the most alarmist about the problems also tend to oppose the obvious solutions.
What's really behind the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism? There are powerful financial interests. There are desires for status and power. But most of all there is a desire among supposedly secular people for transcendence. This spiritual impulse can be natural and healthy. But in preaching fear without love, and guilt without redemption, the new religion is failing to satisfy our deepest psychological and existential needs.
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About the Author
Michael Shellenberger is a leading energy and environmental expert. He is a Time Magazine as a "Hero of the Environment," Green Book Award-winner, and founder of Environmental Progress. Michael is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and many other publications. He advises policymakers around the world including in the United States, Britain, Japan, France, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Stephen Graybill is an actor, producer, and award-winning voice-over artist. He was seen on television in The Girls Guide to Depravity, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, and HBO's The Wire. He has also acted on stage and done voice-overs for commercials, winning both a Gold Clio Award and a Silver Effie Award. He has also worked on over fifty audiobooks, including Jesus Swagger by Jarrid Wilson.