Cover image for The skeptical environmentalist : measuring the real state of the world
The skeptical environmentalist : measuring the real state of the world
Lomborg, Bjørn, 1965-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 515 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published in Danish as Verdens sande tilstand, 1998.

This revised and updated version first published in English by Cambridge University Press, 2001--T.p. verso.
pt. 1. The Litany -- pt. 2. Human welfare -- pt. 3. Can human prosperity continue -- pt. 4. Pollution : does it undercut human prosperity -- pt. 5. Tomorrow's problems -- pt. 6. The real state of the world.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GE149 .L65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GE149 .L65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GE149 .L65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Bjørn Lomborg, a former member of Greenpeace, challenges widely held beliefs that the world environmental situation is getting worse and worse in his new book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues that feature prominently in headline news around the world, including pollution, biodiversity, fear of chemicals, and the greenhouse effect, and documents that the world has actually improved. He supports his arguments with over 2500 footnotes, allowing readers to check his sources. Lomborg criticizes the way many environmental organizations make selective and misleading use of scientific evidence and argues that we are making decisions about the use of our limited resources based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Concluding that there are more reasons for optimism than pessimism, he stresses the need for clear-headed prioritization of resources to tackle real, not imagined, problems. The Skeptical Environmentalist offers readers a non-partisan evaluation that serves as a useful corrective to the more alarmist accounts favored by campaign groups and the media. Bjørn Lomborg is an associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus. When he started to investigate the statistics behind the current gloomy view of the environment, he was genuinely surprised. He published four lengthy articles in the leading Danish newspaper, including statistics documenting an ever-improving world, and unleashed the biggest post-war debate with more than 400 articles in all the major papers. Since then, Lomborg has been a frequent participant in the European debate on environmentalism on television, radio, and in newspapers.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This blockbuster challenges widely held beliefs that the environmental situation is getting worse and worse, what Lomborg, a professor of statistics at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, labels "The Litany"--more people means more starvation, more pollution is killing more people and wildlife, acid rain is killing trees, biodiversity is being eliminated, etc. Statements such as these are meticulously countered with the reality of solid research, much of it from UN and like sources. The harbingers of doom that are surgically scalpeled include such prestigious organizations as Worldwatch Institute, World Wide Fund for Nature, and Greenpeace and respected scientists such as David Pimentel, E.O. Wilson, and Paul Ehrlich--and even Al Gore. There already is counter debate in the press and scientific journals. Lomborg argues forcefully, persuasively, and in very clear, easily comprehended prose that "we have more leisure time, greater security and fewer accidents, more education, more amenities, higher incomes, fewer starving, more food and a healthier and longer life." This affirmation is codified in 2,930 citations tied to a 70-page bibliography and illustrated in 173 figures/graphs and nine tables. An absolute must read. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. E. J. Kormondy emeritus, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Table of Contents

Part I The Litany
1 Things are getting better
2 Why do we hear so much bad news?
Part II Human Welfare
3 Measuring human welfare
4 Life expectancy and health
5 Food and hunger
6 Prosperity
7 Conclusion
Part III Can Human Prosperity Continue?
8 Are we living on borrowed time?
9 Will we have enough food
10 Forests - are we losing them?
11 Energy
12 Non-energy resources
13 Water
14 Conclusion
Part IV Pollution
15 Air pollution
16 Acid rain and forest death
17 Indoor air pollution
18 Allergies and asthma
19 Water pollution
20 Waste: running out of space?
21 Conclusion
Part V TomorrowâÇÖs Problems
22 Our chemical fears
23 Biodiversity
24 Global warming
Part VI The Real State of the World
25 Predicament or progress?