Credit: Will Sanders Getty Images My views on climate change—and, more generally, on humanity’s future—have never been stable. Depending on what I’m reading, and perhaps shifts in my neural weather, I ricochet between optimism and dread .
Last spring I was feeling pretty glum about, well, everything when iconoclastic environmental activist Michael Shellenberger sent me a prepublication copy of his book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All .
Before I weigh in on the book, some background. Shellenberger is a controversial figure. For years, he has urged his fellow greens to adopt a more optimistic outlook, which he insists is more conducive to activism than fear. His influential 2007 book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility , co-written with his fellow activist Ted Nordhaus, accused environmentalists of being hostile to science, technology and economic progress. Advertisement We need economic and technological development to overcome climate change and other environmental threats, Shellenberger and Nordhaus insisted. People are unlikely to care about polar bears, they pointed out, when they’re worried about feeding their children. Shellenberger and Nordhaus also faulted the environmental movement for being reluctant to acknowledge its successes, as if doing so will foster […]
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