BOOK R EVIEW Bjørn L omborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist . Cambridge University Press 2001, first p ublished in D anish in 1 998 This b ook claims to b e about the ‘real’ world: i ts current e nvironmental sta te in comparison to the recent past. It a chieves its aim splendidly – if se lectively – in as far as environmental c hanges can be measured by statistics and reasoned evidence. But why this debunking of the green alarmist ‘L itany’ f rom peaceful little Denmark by ‘a n old l eft-wing G reenpeace member ’ (p.xix )? Why has the ‘A nglo-Saxon’ research community n ot a chieved a similar l ucid contribution to a debate that is most urgently needed? The b ook thankfully a voids the methodology o f g lobal change scientists who ‘p redict’ or ‘ p roject’ our en vironmental f uture b y using ‘na tural’ baselines and dubious mathematical models tested against unreliable measurements. These models, while hugely complex and costly are best understood as ‘m athematical experiments’, are readily u sed in co mbination with so cio-economic scenarios, to f orecast worst case outcomes. Lomborg’s approach is plainly
Energy & Environment – SAGE
Published: Sep 1, 2002
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