On behalf of
I would like to
formally apologize for the climate scare we
created over the last 30 years...
Climate change is
It's just not the
end of the world. It's not even our most serious
I may seem like a
strange person to be saying all of this.
I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an
environmentalist for 30.
But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective
expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC)
to serve as Expert Reviewer of its next Assessment Report,
I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we
environmentalists have misled the public.
Here are some facts few people know:
not causing a "sixth mass extinction"
The Amazon is
not "the lungs of the world"
is not making
natural disasters worse
declined 25% around the world since 2003
The amount of
land we use for meat - humankind's biggest use of land -
has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate
change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous,
fires in Australia and California
emissions are declining in most rich nations and have
been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the
life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
25% more food than we need and food surpluses will
continue to rise as the world gets hotter
and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger
threats to species than climate change
Wood fuel is
far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
future pandemics requires more not less
I know that the above
facts will sound like "climate denialism" to many people.
But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.
In reality, the above facts come from the best-available
scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by,
the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
International Union for the Conservation of Nature
...and other leading
Some people will, when they read this imagine that I'm some
right-wing anti-environmentalist. I'm not...
At 17, I lived in
Nicaragua to show solidarity with the Sandinista socialist
At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women's cooperatives.
In my early 20s I lived in the semi-Amazon doing research
with small farmers fighting land invasions.
At 26 I helped expose poor conditions at Nike factories in
I became an environmentalist at 16 when I threw a fundraiser
for Rainforest Action Network.
At 27 I helped save the last unprotected ancient redwoods in
In my 30s I advocated renewables and successfully helped
persuade the Obama administration to invest $90 billion into
Over the last few years I helped save enough nuclear plants
from being replaced by fossil fuels to prevent a sharp
increase in emissions.
But until last year,
I mostly avoided speaking out against the climate scare.
because I was embarrassed.
After all, I am as guilty of alarmism as any other
For years, I referred
to climate change as an "existential" threat to human
civilization, and called it a "crisis."
But mostly I was scared...
I remained quiet about the climate disinformation campaign
because I was afraid of losing friends and funding. The few
times I summoned the courage to defend climate science from
those who misrepresent it I suffered harsh consequences.
And so I mostly stood by and did next to nothing as my fellow
environmentalists terrified the public.
I even stood by as people in the White House and many in the
news media tried to destroy the reputation and career of an
outstanding scientist, good man, and friend of mine,
a lifelong progressive Democrat and environmentalist who
testified in favor of carbon regulations.
Why did they do that? Because his research proves natural
disasters aren't getting worse...
But then, last year, things spiraled out of control.
"The world is
going to end in twelve years if we don't address climate
high-profile environmental group
The world's most
influential green journalist, Bill McKibben,
climate change the,
challenge humans have ever faced" and said it would "wipe
journalists reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was,
"the lungs of the
world," and that deforestation was like a nuclear bomb going
As a result,
half of the people
surveyed around the
world last year said they thought climate change would make
And in January,
one out of five
British children told
pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change.
Whether or not you have children you must see how wrong
I admit I may be sensitive because I have a teenage daughter.
After we talked about the science she was reassured. But her
friends are deeply misinformed and thus, understandably,
I thus decided I had to speak out. I knew that writing a few
articles wouldn't be enough. I needed a book to properly lay out
all of the evidence.
And so my formal apology for our fear-mongering comes in the
form of my new book, Apocalypse Never - Why Environmental
Alarmism Hurts Us All.
It is based on two decades of research and three decades of
At 400 pages, with 100 of them endnotes, Apocalypse Never
covers climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, species
extinction, industrialization, meat, nuclear energy, and
Some highlights from the book:
modern farming are the keys to human liberation and
important thing for saving the environment is producing
more food, particularly meat, on less land
important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon
emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to
natural gas to uranium
renewables would require increasing the land used for
energy from today's 0.5% to 50%
want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not
lower, power densities
reduces one's emissions by less than 4%
didn't save the whales, switching from whale oil to
petroleum and palm oil did
beef would require 20 times more land and produce 300%
dogmatism worsened forest fragmentation of the Amazon
colonialist approach to gorilla conservation in the
Congo produced a backlash that may have resulted in the
killing of 250 elephants
Why were we
all so misled?
In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the
financial, political, and ideological motivations.
Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of
dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by
anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to
end poverty and instead make poverty "sustainable."
And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern
civilization are behind much of the alarmism
Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often
by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is
hard not to feel duped.
Will Apocalypse Never make any difference? There are certainly
reasons to doubt it.
The news media have been making apocalyptic pronouncements about
climate change since the late 1980s, and do not seem disposed to
The ideology behind environmental alarmism - Malthusianism - has
been repeatedly debunked for 200 years and yet is more powerful
But there are also reasons to believe that environmental
alarmism will, if not come to an end, have diminishing cultural
pandemic is an actual crisis that puts the climate "crisis" into
perspective. Even if you think we have overreacted, Covid-19 has
nearly 500,000 people
and shattered economies around the globe.
Scientific institutions including WHO and IPCC have undermined
their credibility through the repeated politicization of
science. Their future existence and relevance depends on new
leadership and serious reform.
Facts still matter, and social media is allowing for a wider
range of new and independent voices to outcompete alarmist
environmental journalists at legacy publications.
Nations are reverting openly to self-interest and away from
Malthusianism and neoliberalism, which is good for nuclear and
bad for renewables.
The evidence is overwhelming that our high-energy civilization
is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilization
that climate alarmists would return us to.
The invitations from IPCC and Congress are signs of a growing
openness to new thinking about climate change and the
Another one has been to the response to my book from climate
scientists, conservationists, and environmental scholars.
is an extremely important book," writes Richard Rhodes, the
Pulitzer-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
"This may be the most important book on the environment ever
written," says one of the fathers of modern climate science
"We environmentalists condemn those with antithetical views
of being ignorant of science and susceptible to confirmation
bias," wrote the former head of The Nature Conservancy,
"But too often we are guilty of the same.
offers 'tough love:'
to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating
serves up occasionally stinging, but always well-crafted,
evidence-based points of view that will help develop the
'mental muscle' we need to envision and design not only a
hopeful, but an attainable, future."
That is all I hoped
for in writing it. If you've made it this far, I hope you'll
agree that it's perhaps not as strange as it seems that a
lifelong environmentalist, progressive, and climate activist
felt the need to speak out against the alarmism.
I further hope that you'll accept my apology.