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 Confession: a climate activist repents

01.07.20. “On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologise for the climate scare we created over the past 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem. 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 the US congress to provide ­objective testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to serve as a reviewer of its next assessment report, I feel an obligation to apologise for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.”

Source: Michael Shellenberger for News Corp

Sorry for misleading you, but I cried wolf on the global dangers of climate change

Here are some facts few people know: Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”;
The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”;
Climate change is not making natural disasters worse;
Fires have declined 25 per cent 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;
The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California;
Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany and France since the mid-1970s;
The Netherlands became rich, not poor, while adapting to life below sea level;
We produce 25 per cent more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter;
Habitat loss 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;
Preventing future pandemics requires more, not less, “industrial” agriculture.
I know 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 IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the Inter­national Union for the Conservation of Nature and other leading scientific bodies.
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 revolution. At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women’s co-operatives. 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 Asia.
Green beginnings
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 California. In my 30s I advocated renewables and successfully helped persuade the Obama administration to ­invest $US90bn into them. Over the past 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. Partly that’s because I was embarrassed. After all, I am as guilty of alarmism as any other environmentalist. For years, I ­referred to climate change as an “existential” threat to human civilisation, 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 media tried to destroy the reputation and career of an outstanding scientist, good man, and friend of mine, Roger Pielke Jr, a lifelong progressive Democrat and environmentalist who testified in favour of carbon regulations. Why did they do that? Because his ­research proves natural disasters aren’t getting worse. But then, last year, things spiralled out of control. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said: “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Britain’s most high-profile environmental group claimed “climate change kills children”.
Turning point
The world’s most influential green journalist, Bill McKibben, called climate change the “greatest challenge humans have ever faced” and said it would “wipe out civilisations”. Mainstream journalists ­reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was “the lungs of the world”, and that deforestation was like a ­nuclear bomb going off.
As a result, half of the people surveyed around the world last year said they thought climate change would make humanity ­extinct. 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 this is. 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, frightened.
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 fearmongering 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 environmental activism. At 400 pages, with 100 of them endnotes, Apocalypse Never covers climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, species extinction, industrialisation, meat, nuclear energy, and renewables.
Some highlights from the book:
● Factories and modern farming are the keys to human liberation and environmental progress.
● The most important thing for saving the environment is producing more food, particularly meat, on less land.
● The most important thing for reducing pollution and emissions is moving from wood to coal to petrol to natural gas to uranium.
● 100 per cent renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today’s 0.5 per cent to 50 per cent.
● We should want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not lower, power densities.
● Vegetarianism reduces one’s emissions by less than 4 per cent.
● Greenpeace didn’t save the whales — switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did.
● “Free-range” beef would require 20 times more land and produce 300 per cent more emissions.
● Greenpeace dogmatism worsened forest fragmentation of the Amazon.
● The 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 civilisation are behind much of the alarmism.
The most important thing for reducing pollution and emissions is moving from wood to coal to petrol to natural gas to uranium.
Reality bites
Once you realise just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavoury 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 stop. The ideology behind environmental alarmism — Malthusianism — has been repeatedly debunked for 200 years and yet is more powerful than ever.
But there are also reasons to ­believe that environmental alarmism will, if not come to an end, have diminishing cultural power.
A real crisis
The coronavirus pandemic is an actual crisis that puts the climate “crisis” into perspective. Even if you think we have overreacted, COVID-19 has killed nearly 500,000 people and shattered economies around the globe.
Scientific institutions including WHO and IPCC have undermined their credibility through the repeated politicisation 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 civilisation is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilisation that climate alarmists would return us to.
Greenpeace didn’t save the whales — switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did.
The invitations from IPCC and congress are signs of a growing openness to new thinking about climate change and the environment. Another one has been to the response to my book from climate scientists, conservationists and ­environmental scholars. “Apocalypse Never 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, Tom Wigley.
“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, Steve McCormick. “But too often we are guilty of the same. Shellenberger offers ‘tough love’: a challenge to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating mindsets. Apocalypse Never 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 it’s perhaps not as strange as it seems that a lifelong environmentalist and progressive felt the need to speak out against the alarmism. I further hope that you’ll accept my apology.
Michael Shellenberger is president of Environmental Progress, an independent research and policy organisation. He is the author of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, published by Harper Collins
Michael Shellenberger will appear on Sky News with Chris Kenny today at 5pm

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Cliff 01/07/2020, 7:06 am

    Why is it that I feel – sadly – that this will go nowhere with 99.99% of believers? Too many people have invested their careers – and perhaps even more important, their professional credibility – into what has become something little short of a religion.

    So they will resist all efforts – and evidence – that threatens what, certainly to the younger generation, who have been thoroughly indoctrinated, has become holy writ.

    If I sent this to some of my Greenie acquaintances, they would not get past paragraph two before casting it aside.

    • luk1955 01/07/2020, 7:25 am

      So true Cliff. I have tried myself to inundate these people with facts but that does not matter. It is a religion to these people. Explains why so many climatologists and their believers are supporters of islam indirectly. The blindness to facts that contradict their religion is madness.

  • Graham Richards 01/07/2020, 7:10 am

    Why are the Government & opposition still totally committed to a hoax??

    • luk1955 01/07/2020, 7:27 am

      Graham, the climate scam is being used to impose totalitarian government onto all of us. The greens are communists and terrorists, just like many of our elected government and our bureaucraps. Control is all they are interested in.

    • Peter Sandery 01/07/2020, 9:51 am

      A conundrum that has occupied my senile old brain for quite a while too, Graham.

    • Austin Ayforti 01/07/2020, 12:09 pm

      Because Graham they prove themselves always incapable of independent rational thought and are totally reliant on self interest groups and advisors. Climate change hoax, WuFlu hoax, W2K bug, the UN in general as well as the parasitic affiliated bodies and it goes on.

      • John 01/07/2020, 1:06 pm

        W2K=Y2K. Sorry Austin Ayforti you are now an Austin Aythirti!😉 And a damn good little car too if you ignore having an tendency to snap rear axle shafts though. Most BMC cars did, good Brit engineering.

      • Austin Ayforti 01/07/2020, 6:15 pm

        Yeah John I saw that but too late to edit. I always check my comments after submitting, just to make sure, other than on one occasion today. I can handle being a little A30 for a while I suppose.

  • Muphin 01/07/2020, 7:40 am

    Hallelujah !!! At least one of the Greenie imbeciles has seen the light.

  • Lorraine 01/07/2020, 9:04 am

    no need to apologise to me , as I never believed your crap in the 1st place.

    • DT 01/07/2020, 11:19 am

      How dare you!

  • DT 01/07/2020, 11:10 am

    Repeat, the truth was revealed in 2015 ….

    06:43 PM ET 02/10/2015
    Economic Systems: The alarmists keep telling us their concern about global warming is all about man’s stewardship of the environment. But we know that’s not true. A United Nations official has now confirmed this.

    At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

    Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

    The only economic model in the last 150 years that has ever worked at all is capitalism. The evidence is prima facie: From a feudal order that lasted a thousand years, produced zero growth and kept workdays long and lifespans short, the countries that have embraced free-market capitalism have enjoyed a system in which output has increased 70-fold, work days have been halved and lifespans doubled.

    Figueres is perhaps the perfect person for the job of transforming “the economic development model” because she’s really never seen it work. “If you look at Ms. Figueres’ Wikipedia page,” notes Cato economist Dan Mitchell: Making the world look at their right hand while they choke developed economies with their left.

    Investors Business Daily

  • DT 01/07/2020, 11:18 am

    However, do not dismiss renewable energy, emissions reduction, emissions trading, electric vehicles, high cost electricity, high cost licensed water etc.

    The above are being imposed in the best interests of the people who will of course received acts of charity from the crony profiteers.

    Just consider the successes, for example that twenty years or so after South Australia commenced their transition to renewable energy world’s highest electricity pricing has been reached, efforts continue and money allocated to stabilising the grid that was reliably stable when power stations generated baseload and peak demand and now, based on the world’s largest electricity grid: TAS-VIC-SA-NSW/ACT-QLD, up to and around, intermittently, subject to wind and sun, up to a whopping 10 per cent of our electricity now comes from renewables.

    Noting that when it suits hydro generators are mentioned to improve the results.

    The electric vehicle transition will reveal even more progressive planning.

    • Disgruntled 01/07/2020, 1:58 pm

      Some good points D T. The way things are going these days I am really glad that I’m out of farming re, water and electricity charges going up and availability going down! Some of the issues that the guy that bought my place has to now contend with is bloody horrifying to me ad to me it appears that the bureaucracy doesn’t know or even understand.

      Oft times I am thinking that the powers that be do not want food produced and if they do, it must be very expensive to produce and they want it cheap to buy. How does that work???

      On renewables: where does all the stuff come from???. Yep, You just cannot guess wrong and perhaps we are propping up that country big time for bugger all benefit for us!!; and they then give us the virus for free and I have heard they have another strain of Swine flu ready for us when this other one is dying down!

  • PW 01/07/2020, 11:37 am

    God I know a few letter boxes this report could find its way into!!!
    Might just post a few.

    • Cliff 01/07/2020, 11:48 am

      PW, as I said above, every one of them would toss it aside after the first paragraph. It doesn’t fit ‘the Narrative’.

  • Aktosplatz 01/07/2020, 11:40 am

    How much money and resources have been wasted. How much of Australia’s sovereignty been farmed out to the control of the UN and its money and power grabbing organisations?

    How much money wasted on useless wind farms? How much has the price of energy risen, for no apparent reason?

    This article confirms what we all here, knew all along, it’s a scam and a money making racket, and as DT mentions, it designed to destroy our industrial base and capitalism.

    Yes we knew all of this – but what is ‘Scotty from Marketing’ going to do about it? What worth the Paris Agreement?

  • Ex ADF 01/07/2020, 1:20 pm

    This is a lengthy and interesting read. I am sure that St Greta has a response so will wait for that!

  • Philippe Armstrong 01/07/2020, 4:01 pm

    Saint Greta the cute self infatuated autist will have the answers ready!

  • ibbit 02/07/2020, 9:51 am

    Most commenters above recognise that those infected by the “green religion” will not readily let go as that would mean taking their noses out of the taxpayer trough so generously proffered for their delection by their elected representatives and letting go of whatever power they have grabbed for themselves.
    I saw the Kenny Report last night and thought the whistle blower very compelling. But those above who say that 99.9% will take no notice are without doubt correct. It is only the powerless who suffer the depredations of the “intelligentsia” who will take note in the hope that maybe, just maybe, their power bills will be more affordable and their jobs longer lasting.
    I seem to remember (names get lost in an old brain) a gent who was a co-author of the IPCC report, kicking over the traces and ratting out the environment/global warming mob as largely putting forth a heavily embroidered product for general consumption. I also seem to recall nobody took the slightest notice of him as things continued apace.
    I do hope things will be different this time, although common sense and reality leave me with a sinking feeling.

  • Graham Richards 02/07/2020, 5:36 pm

    Old fashioned communism tried to control labour, resources & land to turn a profit for redistribution of wealth to the ruling classes & a few few crumbs to the proletariat. Incompetence of politicians led to the downfall of a system that is unsustainable in the first place.

    New communists realise that they have no chance of ever successfully controlling the fundamentals of a modern economy so the new communists are backing the idea of letting the private sector do all the hard work . Communism will control the whole economy & political landscape using only one resource, IE energy. Without it private enterprise will be totally owned & controlled by the commies & will be forced to submit. That’s what it’s all about, in a nutshell. Fiscal proceeds will be collected as huge taxes for redistribution to the sick , lame & lazy. The major slice will be distributed among the political elite to ensure continuation of their existence.
    Freedom , sovereignty, independence,individuality will be words once used way back-in history.

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