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

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The Skeptical Environmentalist challenges widely held beliefs that the environmental situation is getting worse and worse. The author, himself a former member of Greenpeace, is critical of the way in which many environmental organisations make selective and misleading use of the scientific evidence. Using the best available statistical information from internationally recognised research institutes, Bjrn Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental problems that feature prominently in headline news across the world. His arguments are presented in non-technical, accessible language and are carefully backed up by over 2500 footnotes allowing readers to check sources for themselves. Concluding that there are more reasons for optimism than pessimism, Bjrn Lomborg stresses the need for clear-headed prioritisation of resources to tackle real, not imagined problems. The Skeptical Environmentalist offers readers a non-partisan stocktaking exercise that serves as a useful corrective to the more alarmist accounts favoured by campaign groups and the media.

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?