Apocalypse Never From Environmentalist Who Helped Get $90 Billion Funding for Renewables

Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute has written Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.” An article covering his book was published and then censored at Forbes.

The Breakthrough Institute has scientists on the staff. Zeke Hausfather, Director of Climate and Energy, is a climate scientist and energy systems analyst whose research focuses on observational temperature records, climate models, and mitigation technologies. He spent 10 years working as a data scientist and entrepreneur in the cleantech sector. He has master’s degrees in environmental science from Yale University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a PhD in climate science from the University of California, Berkeley. Seaver Wang is a Breakthrough Institute Energy Analyst. He holds a PhD in Earth and Ocean Sciences from Duke University. He has published in major peer reviewed journals like ISME Journal and Nature Communications. He has published research on the links between marine plankton ecology and oceanic cycling of carbon and nitrogen.

Michael worked for Global Exchange in 1993. Global Exchange is a far-left organization on human rights and environmentalism. He consulted to the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. Time magazine awarded him the Heroes of the Environment award in 2008. In his early 20s, he 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. He became an environmentalist at 16 when I threw a fundraiser for Rainforest Action Network. At 27, he helped save the last unprotected ancient redwoods in California. In his 30s, he advocated renewables and successfully helped persuade the Obama administration to invest $90 billion into them. Over the last few years, Michael helped save enough nuclear plants from being replaced by fossil fuels to prevent a sharp increase in emissions. He was afraid to speak out against the climate scare until last year.

In April 2015, Shellenberger joined with a group of scholars in issuing An Ecomodernist Manifesto. This proposes dropping the goal of “sustainable development” and replacing it with a strategy to shrink humanity’s footprint by using nature more intensively. The authors argue that economic development is, in fact, an indispensable precondition to preserving the environment.

The book 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, industrialization, meat, nuclear energy, and renewables.

Nextbigfuture has written on overlapping topics on energy and the environment. There are facts on how on a national scale nuclear is superior to solar and wind. France’s nuclear energy spending was 60% of what Germany spent on renewables. France gets about 400 Terawatt hour per year from nuclear but Germany gets 226 Terawatt-hours each year. 45 Terawatt-hours of Germany’s renewable power comes from burning biomass which generates air pollution. Germany’s solar farms will have to be rebuilt every 15-25 years. The wind farms will need to be rebuilt every 20-25 years. Nuclear plants can last 40-80+ years. This means that it guaranteed that the solar and wind farms will have to be rebuilt in 15-25 years.

Nextbigfuture has written about the policies in California that have allowed over one hundred million dead trees and dry brush to accumulate. This ignores forest management procedures to prevent wildfires that have been known for over 100 years.

Some highlights from the Apocalypse Never 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 air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium
* 100% renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today’s 0.5% to 50%
* We should want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not lower, power densities
* Vegetarianism reduces one’s emissions by less than 4%
* 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% 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, Michael exposes 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.

Some other 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% 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
Netherlands became rich not poor while adapting to life below sea level
We produce 25% 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

SOURCES- Breakthrough Institute, Environmental Progress
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

117 thoughts on “Apocalypse Never From Environmentalist Who Helped Get $90 Billion Funding for Renewables”

  1. Maybe at one time but not now. Clean air means less sick time and a longer life which translate into a better economy. The part people always seem to miss is how everything is connected.

  2. Black people don’t exist to make profit at all cost, corporations do. The only thing that prevents corporation for doing whatever it takes to make money are laws and regulations and the organization that enforces those laws. The fundamental force in capitalism is greed and greed is amoral. In fact, one could say greed is a sin. Think of it a fire that needs to be carefully tended or else it will burn everything down.

  3. “(need to register, ask your dad how to do it)”

    Why would I need to register for an API I already have access to?

    You might need to go ask your dad what exactly that means.

    Do you know what the record count is?

    14,091…. if not millions.

  4. John, I hope we are wrong about imminent global cooling, but the early signs are worrying. Historically, humanity suffer greatly during cooling periods.
    Regarding Michael Shellenberger’s 2020 condemnation of the false climate scare and Michael Moore’s 2020 film slagging green energy schemes based on intermittency and diffusivity, I say “better late than never”. The irony is that “the Michaels”, who were wrong for decades, have more public credibility with their recent conversions than those of us who were never deceived by the leftists’ climate-and-energy scams and told you the truth for decades – while the alarmists misled you and caused great harm.

  5. If you cut a forest sustainably enough in a way that it ends up generating more wood matter than if you were not cutting it, yes.

  6. You’re saying a tree can store more carbon if you hack bits off it and burn them, than if you leave it alone ?

  7. In 2002, Tim Patterson told me that (moderate) global cooling would probably start by 2020-2030 and I published that statement on 1Sept2002 in the Calgary Herald. What is the source of your information? – Link please?
    I independently published in 2013 that cooling would probably start by 2020 or sooner, based on low solar activity at the end of SC24.
    Cooling will be localized at first and will be moderate. It may have already started – late planting in 2018 and 2019 across the Great Plains, and a major crop failure in 2019.

  8. “I’m saying that corporations are just as liable to be evil as the people running them”

    If the people running a corporation are evil, it’s a sure bet the company is too… but thanks for confirming what you think about business people.

  9. Mine was a flippant comment to those who, when a record freeze happens, will retort to the global warming critic, “weather isn’t climate.”

  10. Tim may be right. Posted 28May2020:

    I just spoke with my friend and co-author, expert Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo – he says that planting in the Midwest is ~1 week or more EARLY this spring – so maybe the harvest be OK. Let’s hope so.
    Planting was ~one month across the Great Plains of North America for the past two years 2018 and 2019. In 2018 the growing season was warm and the crop recovered, but in 2019 there was a huge crop failure across the Great Plains; however the harvest was good in the USA East and South. In 2019 fully 30% of the huge USA corn crop was never planted because of wet ground. Much of the grain crop across the Great Plains was not harvested because of early cold and snow in the Fall.

    By Allan M.R. MacRae and Joseph D’Aleo, October 27, 2019.

    Hope we have a good grain crop this year, but don’t bet on it. Here is why:

    The Nino 34 SST Anomaly has crashed from almost +0.7 on April 18th down to almost MINUS 0.6 on May 26th. a decline of ~1.2C. in 5 weeks. 

    5. UAH LT Global Temperatures can be predicted ~4 months in the future with just two parameters:
    UAHLT (+4 months) = 0.2*Nino34Anomaly + 0.15 – 5*SatoGlobalAerosolOpticalDepth
    by Allan M.R. MacRae, 15June2019

    Four months from this rapid cooling of Nino34 SST’s is mid-September 2020 – harvest time.

  11. Dr Tim Patterson had the world dropping into a global cooling period in 2018, due to the sun cycle. It’s pretty cryptic so far.

  12. A lot of Greenies are careful to only include ‘ run of the river hydro’ in their litany of power sources that could replace fossils. Which is bull, since the good thing about hydro is that you can turn it on when you need it – same as coal or gas, but unlike wind, sun, tide, wave and whatever else. (Geothermal is nuclear for beginners, and baseload – no good at following demand.) Hydro dams have caused a lot of ecological damage, and will cause more – Chinese dams on the upper reaches of the Mekong and other South East Asian rivers will probably cause the extinction of many species, and destroy the downstream fisheries. They’re still much better than coal for the climate, and will likely be needed for water storage as the high glaciers melt.

  13. Sure. But does Nature need all those animals? Sounds like sentimentality. What is the carrying levels of a species, the minimum components to a functioning eco-system, the reasonable ‘natural swings’ in populations? The greatest enemy to a sustainable natural world isn’t society but excess and undue soppiness and emotional bonds to organic matter. I propose that we determine levels of ‘complexity’ and essential eco-systems as the measure of conservation and re-habilitation. Nature has the right to prosper, but so does Humanity with logic and bio knowledge as the Arbiters.

  14. A bit too simple, methinks. Historically, increasingly intense weather events and systems, riskier and less predictable storms and patterns, and measurable changes in precipitation/temp on a local basis (as weather) can reasonably be ascribed to an overall changing climate such as with warmer ocean waters and creeping latitude temperatures over large areas. Its all about the tipping points and local adaptations.

  15. Like most, you are under the mistaken impression that the dangers to society surrounding nuclear has something to do with dead bodies.
    People die all the time, you send your thoughts and prayers and society continues without skipping a beat. Accidental death is just another cost of doing business.

    A couple thousand km2 of contaminated prime real estate locked up for a few centuries is a tragedy, the smaller the country the bigger the tragedy.

    Big difference.

  16. Lu – I tested a few of the scientific names, and I didn’t find any extinct species on that list. It is a big list, to be sure. 14,000 elements. I’m not in the mood to write a program to do 14,000 google searches, but it isn’t clean that you found a list of extinct or even terribly vulnerable / threatened species. Not trying to be your enemy. But seriously, stop calling people names!

  17. I doubt that most ‘deniers’ actually dispute the technical merit of the papers and groups of scientists that present the papers enlightening the public on the risks, so much as are actively attacking the policies that may result from those papers. Its more about preferring a rich/hot/risky world to a poor/moderate/calm world – whether one believes that dichotomy actually exists or not. Just blatant self-interest for good or bad. The key is to develop and execute the technologies so that one does not have to choose – yes, continue to drive your Escalade/ SubUrban/ RAM truck/ Yukon extended/ 1970s Econoline to the cigarette/ liqor/ ammo store, let is idle for 20 minutes and return to your 5,000 sq.ft home with the AC on and the windows open – because who cares if the Escalade is battery from solar, with geo-thermal, solar, and local nat.gas assisting with home energy demands. Hate the Game not the Player.

  18. its about individualism not so much greed – though often the latter spawns from persecution/ shaming/ group-victim-hood (gender, race, ethnicity) attack on the former. All about the world desired: high-tech/rich/healthy-driven/individual or med-tech/lower-mid-class/comfort-stagnant/social-gregarious. The productivity and creativity of a driven-individual so far out-distances the common human that there is the consequent resentment (I concede dysfunctional personalities). I actively work on co-ops, non-profits, and other hyper-socialistic eco-systems- for all the hype of consensus, group values, every act counts, shared compassion; the reality is of a very needy, gossipy, tribal, dysfunctional, and frankly high-school-cafeteria mind-set. The ‘current mood of the world’ is of no consequence as it is these sheep who glom onto the individualistic enclaves eventually: silicon valley, elitist US universities, nasdaq tech corp monstrosities, NYC/LA/SF cores, and all their messiahs – steve jobs, ventner, musk, zuckerb., gates, virgin-galactic-guy etc. The well-adjused normies resent the anti-social, hyper-driven, day-to-day personalities/ idiosynchs, yet crave the end-results, the successful socio-economic eco-systems, the enlarged Pie of Opportunity that results from such individuals and their worker/tech-harems. Hard Truth: A Nice World does not happen from Nice People; A Nice World happens from resilient, go-getters doing work others can’t or wont. The Nice People move in after.

  19. Academics can’t post papers on the relative merits of aircraft bolt thread choices if they’ve ever emitted a single climate-skeptical social media comment. 

    I expect(mostly hope) it’s due to violations(real or imagined) of the social contract. 

    If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.

    Economic pressure is really the only thing that works in the end, regards to altering undesirable behavior. This approach has less of an impact on the old, they tend to be retired and more isolated. What happens when your economic well being is no longer dependent on cooperation with others in society at large, you are more free to be your self.  If you see yourself as being disenfranchised and having no stake in society, this pressure will have even less of an impact.

    That dynamic is why I generally have higher opinions of those with more options in society over those with little to none, their decisions are more likely to broadly overlap with my own.

  20. This melodrama of the inept is, has always been and continues to be unrelated to climate science.

  21. Most don’t do that on venues that expressly forbids 3rd party commercial activities unless the venue is getting a piece of their action, and then cry censorship.

  22. Anybody with the power to cut off somebody else’s speech can censor.

    It’s certainly very fortunate for all that non governmental agents lack that very power.

  23. Roof mounted mini wind turbines are a terrible idea. To begin with, if they’re not well above the average treetop level, they’re getting too much turbulence and not enough wind to make much power. Better reinforce your house a lot first too, or the vibrations that eventually destroy most wind turbines will wreck your house frame as well. Thermocouples in the soil ? Do you think maybe there’s a reason nobody’s ever done that ? Geothermal power has only ever been used where the heat gradient in the earth is unusually steep – usually over tectonic plate junctions. Even there, the heat source is so feeble that about 90% of it is lost as waste heat, versus about 50% for the best fossil fuel plants. Solar will save you kilowatt/hours from the grid, but don’t expect it to save you money. If everyone on the grid maximises their solar use, it will just mean a much greater difference between peak and minimum demand, and it’s peak demand that drives cost. The grid will have to raise prices so they make the same money off less power.

  24. I’m saying that corporations are just as liable to be evil as the people running them, and probably more so than the average person – they’ve got more to gain. We expect government to rein in their worse excesses, just as they should protect citizens from unscrupulous individuals. The US constitution is very strong on avoiding domination by one branch over the other two, but seems increasingly weak at stopping domination of them all by money, at the expense of the commons.

  25. I find it hilarious that some commenters here used this article as an opportunity to promote their hyper ayn-randian philosophy as being the ideal version of a modern society. I can tell you that some of the members here are woefully out of touch with the current mood in the world and it’s not because the unvarnished masses have been brainwashed by Eco-Fascists as im sure they’d like to believe. The mantra of *Greed is Good* is one of the main reasons we find ourselves in this mess, people loath how soulless and devoid of compassion modern industry is in all aspects of life. It either needs to change or it will destroy itself.

  26. Setting your conspiracy theory aside, are you trying to argue that if one company is bad all businesses are bad? I suppose you also believe in the idea that if one black person is a criminal, all black people are criminals?

  27. “If we can get 37% of our electricity needs in the US from roof solar”

    Honestly, that won’t really work for the exact same reason solar farms also present problems, and please don’t make me go into what those problems are… It’s disingenuous to deny them.

    I thought about this quite a bit back in the 1980s, and what I think would work would be a battery and inverter system, built into a house, that used multiple sources for power such as photovoltaic cells on the roof, a thermocouple the used differences in ground temperature, and a roof mounted attic turbines that generated power from the wind. In addition, the system would have a feed from the power grid.

    Spreading things out over several sources helps deal with weather and the day/night cycle, which should reduce dependence on the power grid… The only real problem with such an idea is the cost.

  28. 13?

    Are you asserting that’s 10%, because that’s nowhere near my request for a list of just a tenth of the “thousands and thousands (if not millions) of species” going extinct. I’m asking for, say, the top 500 species about to go extinct.

    Is that so hard?

    If 10% of 1,000 is 100, then if thousands and thousands of species are about to go extinct, it should be exceedingly easy to list the top 500.

    The irony here is that in attempting to refute my point you’re making my point, which is that bombast, false assertions, illogical rationales, and a downright religious level of belief deterministically hurts the environmentalist cause. True believers can’t argue the facts, but argue from authority, and demand we follow suit.

    “Here’s 13 of the 487 you requested, but I demand you believe the other 487 exist, because I’ve believe they exist, and if you don’t believe you’re stupid and ignorant!”

    These tactics, which are widespread amongst true believers, cause people, who are outliers and don’t accept things on authority, to scratch beneath the surface and dig deeper. Often times what they find causes them to lose faith in environmentalism, just as has happened to the subject of this particular NBF article.

    In fact, I’d argue Environmentalism, writ large, is a religion, and the practice of which ultimately harms the science of Ecology, for which it purports to support, and all of you arguing with me are proving why.

  29. In 2002 Dr Sallie Baliunas, Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian, Dr Tim Patterson, Paleoclimatologist, Carleton U and Allan MacRae TOLD YOU SO 18 YEARS AGO:
    1. “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.” [See Michael Shellenberger’s 2020 confession]
    2. “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels. [See Michael Moore’s 2020 film]

    Published by APEGA in the PEGG, reprinted by other professional journals, The Globe and Mail and La Presse,
    by Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and Allan MacRae, November 2002

    By Allan M.R. MacRae, January 2008

    By Allan MacRae, June 12, 2015

    by Joseph d’Aleo and Allan MacRae, September 4, 2015

  30. That is because Germany is still using a lot of coal comparatively. Britain has switched its coal to natural gas very fast as it has its own reserves. But it is going down in Germany as well.

    Biomass can actually be carbon negative if the wood source is fully regenerative, as proper wood source pruning and cutting can accelerate wood mass generation and leave as a consequence more carbon underground from accelerated root growth.

  31. The reason Germany’s biomass is not much publicised is probably because it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It doesn’t make a great deal of power, and it still produces CO2. Just at the moment, Germany is averaging 362 grams CO2 per kilowatt/hr, the UK 262, and France 68. They do a little better at midday when it’s sunny, or in windy weather, but usually the Germans have easily the dirtiest power of those three. https://www.electricitymap.org/zone/DE?wind=false&solar=false&page=country&countryCode=NZ-NZS

  32. The oil companies have been lying their butts off about climate change for years ( and we’ve all been buying their product to pay for it.) Evil corporations ? Try Thomas Midgley’s efforts at poisoning the world with lead, helped along by General Motors, Esso and DuPont.
    ‘The “lead-crime hypothesis” is that (1) lead exposure at young ages leaves children with problems like learning disabilities, ADHD, and impulse control problems; and (2) those problems cause them to commit crime as adults — particularly violent crime. For many years, the major source of lead in the environment was leaded gasoline: car exhaust left lead behind to settle into dust on the roads and nearby land. When lead was removed from gasoline, lead levels in the environment fell, and kids avoided the lead exposure that caused these developmental problems. About 20 years later, when those kids became young adults, crime rates fell. This, proponents say, is what explains the mysterious and persistent decline in crime beginning in the early 1990s.’ The developers of tetraethyl additives knew very well that it was toxic – it was killing their factory workers, and it nearly killed Midgely when he faked a demo of how harmless it was. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2017/06/01/new-evidence-that-lead-exposure-increases-crime
    Or DuPont again, with their C8 fluorine waste.https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html

  33. And on the practical side they can successfully target eeevil corporations because said entities have a lot of money and assets to protect, and it’s sometimes easier to make a mosquito go away than bring out a bazooka to swat it. Image matters. One cannot be seen stomping the guts out of man-bun coiffed protestors even though they deserve it; it’s unseemly. And it lends to the eeevil image, which is what the protestors depend upon. They’re a type of parasite, having much in common with a remora, although I think they picture themselves more like tigers. There’s a lot of money in being a parasite. (I prefer eeevil as the pronunciation as it’s a lot like Alec Guiness describing Vader: eee-ville.)

  34. Look at how many animals we have already driven to extinction, or to the brink in the last century, to say nothing of the likely countless species that we killed off on the road to clearing so much farm land across the world.

    There can be zero doubt that a mass extinction is underway, and we are the cause from a multitude of differing actions from habitat loss/encroachment, to direct killing, to habitat modification (such as turtles and other nocturnal animals becoming confused by artificial light and killed by predators).

  35. Not at all, with flow batteries, other form of storage, flexible price demand and HVDC lines only starting to take off. It is not very well publicized but Germany has also been developing a biomass energy generation, and that is a big part of the answer.


  36. I don’t think he’s really arguing that negative externalities don’t exist, but that, as I was saying to another commenter about the environmentalist movement, it’s riddled with so much propaganda, false assertions, and religious like zeal, that it necessarily will result in criticism and rejection.

    The concept of the ‘evil corporation’ is literally a trope propagated by the entertainment industry, and little more. Yet the environmentalist cohort take the trope as gospel, and it informs almost every action these groups take. No private commercial entity is safe from the accusation of being the ‘evil corporation’ unless it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Google. They love those corporations… for now.

  37. “plus habitat destruction from the Three Gorges Dam”

    So green renewable power killed a species?

  38. No, both can be true if climate change is a small threat to animals. Also there is a difference between a mass extinction and animals being threatened.

  39. Oops, you did it again.

    You still can’t show me even a tenth of the ‘thousands and thousand (if not millions) of species’ that are being wiped out’ and instead you gave me two links to two different species it’s assumed, ‘were wiped out.’

    Do I have to explain again the difference between past tense, present tense, and future tense in the English language?

  40. Yep, that’s sad, yet still nowhere near the ‘thousands and thousands (if not millions) of species’ and nowhere close to meeting my request of a list that showed just 10% of those ‘thousands and thousands.’

    If you don’t get that bombast and exaggeration are the enemies of sound policy, and that is the chief enemy of rational environmental regulation, then I can’t help you.

  41. nice examples… funny we have to look for specific examples to convince my fellow conservative.

  42. Here’s a clip on the effects of introducing wolves to Yellowstone – the park went from overgrazed and degraded, to lush and full of different animals. Maybe if farmers could really mimic the effect of top predators they could recreate that effect, but there’s strong economic pressure to make a monoculture and maximise your stock rates.

  43. “Censored within hours.” It is still up more than 24 hours later. Brett, your comment was BS and you know it. This page is not going to be censored. I am a free speech advocate and let’s face it, Brian is not going to cave and remove this page!

  44. In general, people do not weight risks according to their actual danger, but according to how easily they can recall incidents (check out Steven Pinker on this subject).

    They forget the steady flow of car and plane crashes since they are not so “dramatic” as when a single japanese worker dies of heart attack at Fukushima. It doesn’t matter that about 12000 people died in the direct aftermath of the tsunami. Of course our green media does everything it can to enhance this tendency…

    Conclusion: D Drake’s brain works like most peoples brains.

  45. I’ve perused the link. It would seem that most of the CO2 reduction is in the energy sector. And the energy sector can only introduce more unreliables since the neighboring countries act as an energy buffer with their fossil fuels power plants.

    If and when unreliables are introduced in Europe en masse, the back-up power will have to be expanded massively and you will not see the same reductions in CO2 emissions. The back-up power will have to be accounted for. Plus, or course, the cost of the back-up power…

  46. But he has a point. It’s a pattern. Both the feminists and the greenies got what they purported to want in the 70ies, 80ies and 90ies. Now they have moved the goal post and the reason is of course that they would have to go back to some drudgery work.

  47. I think we should limit the fishing as it has such detrimental effects without really returning that many calories. We can easily replace it with fish farming.

  48. OK, so now we have two completely opposite – and convincing – views on the effect of livestock on erosion. Can you offer a source (or sources) to back up your statements?

  49. Oohhh… I haven’t encountered someone who doesn’t believe in “the tragedy of the commons” effect.
    How do you explain such tragedies not existing?

  50. The last mammoths survived until a few thousand years ago, after the construction of the Great Pyramid – on an island off Siberia, where the hunters hadn’t yet got to them. Bison came pretty close to extinction – there were only a few hundred left by the 1890s, before conservation efforts started.

  51. Unfortunately Germany after wasting $2T on wind/solar and 100K lives with air pollution, Germany hasn’t reduced its GHG’s an iota. Wind/solar with inefficient fossil backup run inefficiently just doesn’t work. Better to use modern high efficiency fossil instead. Switch the fossil for the cheapest envisioned green storage necessary to cover long term wind/solar events – add $5/kWh to your power bill.

  52. The Yangtse River dolphin died out in the last ten years, probably from accidental netting, plus habitat destruction from the Three Gorges Dam and much else. The vaquita dolphin in the Gulf of California, and Maui’s dolphin in North Island New Zealand, are down to respectively 10 and 63 surviving individuals. New Zealand has had 15 birds become extinct since 1850, some recently enough to be photographed alive. Insect numbers have been dropping precipitately, nearly everywhere, as have fish. The collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery is just one example.

  53. The reading comprehension skills of your cohort are abysmal.

    The phrase, “species are being wiped out,” indicates a species that still exists, but is on the verge of going extinct. As in the present tense.

    Your links are examples of species that had already gone extinct in the past! The sentence you’re trying to prove isn’t past tense, but present tense.

    Prove these words, “Thousands and thousands (if not millions) of species are being wiped out due to humans. What is happening can be rightly called as mass extinction.”

    We’re talking about an active situation today, not decades or centuries ago. Show me the thousands (maybe even millions) of species on the verge of extinction TODAY… in the present.

    You can’t. All you can do is cite a statistical analysis, often by activist researchers, which other people can pick apart sufficiently enough it only creates an impression that there’s a lack of veracity on the part of these researchers.

    And THAT has been the problem with the environmentalist movement all along. It’s riddled with so much propaganda, false assertions, and religious like zeal, that it necessarily will result in people like Michael Shellenberger, Bjørn Lomborg, or Patrick Moore coming forward to blow the whistle.

  54. And the deniers keep presenting the anecdotal evidence as the Arctic has 100 degree temps.

  55. Now, stepping back a bit and taking the wider view: It could be is possible that one or more of habitat loss, direct killing of animals, or climate change will result in extinction of some number of species. It depends on how far those actions are taken. Still, there is a big difference between extinction of some moderate number of species and mass extinction. I don’t believe we have enough evidence to be able to conclude that any of the three actions mentioned in statement 2 are currently causing a mass extinction. (I am assuming that a mass extinction involves extinction of a large fraction of the number of species on Earth.) If any of the three actions listed are carried out long enough and intensely enough, that probably could lead to a mass extinction, but I doubt anyone knows to what extent those actions would have to continue or intensify before they led to a mass extinction. So, statement 2 still does not contradict statement 1.

  56. You must have forgotten your training in simple logic, or might never have had any such training. Just taking the two statements you cite (that is, not doing any research about what those statements refer to): Statement two says nothing about mass extinction, so it cannot be in contradiction with statement 1.

    Only if you bring in some additional statements that assert that one of the actions in statement 2 are causing a mass extinction would statement 2 contradict statement 1. It might be that you happen to believe that one of the actions mentioned in statement 2 is causing a mass extinction, but that was not explicitly included in your question.

    damn, damn, damn the length limit imposed by this comment system
    continued in the next comment

  57. Tragedy of the commons? check. Eeeevil corporations? check. Reading dreck like this is exhausting. In central california it is widely believed that the ability to see the sierras from the central valley dropped off due to air pollution problems in the commons, as in cars, all made by eeevil corporations willing to screw nature sideways to make an extra buck or two. Absurd regulations ensued based on that belief; the CARB board seemed to enjoy the ability to skewer auto companies from up in their unassailable tower and demand physically impossible things, like fully electrified fleets in 2018.. Inability to see sierras increased… ’twas but dust as house construction ramped up with new arrivals (money to be made) and blue diamond expanded (ever seen ’em shake an almond tree to harvest it?) That’s ok, there’s always more trve believers in tragedy of the commons and eeevil corporate behaviour. That is an endless supply.

    This isn’t to say that air pollution in the 1970’s wasn’t a problem. But that was solved, and agencies invent new pollution to regulate else they wither away, and people don’t happily give up long term careers when the job is finished. Bills to pay. Better to invent/flog commons tragedies and have long term foils (“eeevil corporations”, he says. twirling his manly moustache) to blame it all on. So…. are you *really* a droid or do you just regurgitate on command?

  58. You got it all wrong. By being one of main pioneers of renewable energy, Germany shown the path for reducing CO2 emissions on a much larger scale that nuclear could. The expertise that they have created in the process and have been exporting probably makes up for the higher energy price that they are paying. Germany is a good example of a country that understands that a free market can be channeled to a significant extent to move to a better place than having it move on its own. That power is less abundant in Germany than in France or that renewable power in France is more expensive than nuclear, are your narrow mind assertions.

  59. The phenomena of coastal erosion across the world directly contradicts your statement.

    Stressed things fall apart – they are not muscles that grow from use, just raw material that bends to natural forces working upon them.

    “Green stuff” comes from the fertilisation of the ground from the defecation of animals grazing upon it, erosion control happens because that greenery has roots which are holding together the top soil, even as the grazing animals pack it tighter together just by walking around on it.

    These same actions have their own consequences as have been noted more recently – the compaction of grazing land by the animals means that water infiltration is significantly diminished, meaning that the ground cannot absorb rainfall as it naturally should be able to.

    This volume beneath the top soil is a massive battery for holding water after rain fall, and it is becoming less and less utilised over time due to a combination of man made structures and materials blocking access, and the grazing animals causing top soil compaction.

    This means that more flooding happens because that rainfall simply settles on the land, builds up and flows across it instead of sinking in.

  60. “Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
    “Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change”
    Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure statement 2 contradicts statement 1?

  61. If nuclear could be done in France, then I can see no reason why it couldn’t be done in any other location in Europe. Especially Germany. When France has widespread rain on Tuesday, Germany gets them on Thursday. The problem is surely not technical. France is moving from nuclear to renewables at a cost. “Agriculture can be made more sustainable while increasing yields”. And it is so much easier when you have readily avaialble cheap energy, Narrow mindset is a recipe for disasters.

  62. It seems a new religion has sprung up in the vacuum created by the abhorration of others. Green silencing is the new Inquisition, with less blood, for now.

  63. My grandfather worked or the BLM, not that one, the other one, in the western U.S. He would take photos of land that had cattle on it and land that didn’t. The guv separated the land with wire fencing. Green stuff and erosion control on the grazed land, erosion and bareness where environmentalists had convinced government to restrict grazing. It was a stark difference within feet of the fencing. May be anecdotal, but most things tend to improve when we stress them and use them. That seems to be a natural law of sorts.

  64. If we can get 37% of our electricity needs in the US from roof solar, there is no way that renewable energy will require 50% of the land. Both wind and solar energy can be incorporated into agricultural urban and forested areas. Nuclear energy is poses many risks and is more expensive than renewables. Germany was the chief pioneer of renewable energy and paid a premium price for it. Germany is a country with very poor renewable resources which increase the price of renewables. France nuclear model can be adapted only in very few places, we are not even sure yet where. France is moving from nuclear to Renewables. Agriculture can be made more sustainable while increasing yields. Narrow mindset is a recipe for disasters.

  65. Or you can just eliminate the hazard of gasesous radioactive isotopes of cesium and iodine spreading from a reactor accident by using a molten salt fueled reactor where these isotopes are contained as non volatile cesium chloride and sodium idodide salts.

    I know that Light Water Reactors are actually already the safest form of energy, but I think it is still all to easy for neophobic green pressure groups to gain attention and funding by scaring the public with the possibility of a meltdown. Molten Salt reactors may be the thing the bedevils these opponents… or it may make no difference to the scaremongering?

  66. I am old enough to remember when there was a permanent brown stain in the sky. Now a days the sky is a lot clearer. I am not good with companies poisoning the commons for a few more dollars in profit. Respiratory illness due to air pollution is still a leading cause of death. And it is a cost we all paid for.

  67. I also blame humanity’s perennial religious nature and our addiction to righteousness.

    Religion for people is less about a god and more about ‘feeling as a good person’ (adjusted, fulfilled, respectable) within their social group.

    We are social creatures with strong evolutionary pressure for acceptance. In small primate groups with a lot of external challenges (hunger, predators, other groups), this feeling results from belonging and achieving simple things. That’s why humans, as all primates, instinctively despise unfairness and not only applied to them, but also seen it applied to others. But of course, this tendency can be counteracted by sheer force and peer pressure, if you control it.

    Humans just added the layer of shared culture and beliefs because of our brain size, but the pressure to fit is equally strong in us.

    This translates to an adult abstract need for respectability, and being perceived as fair and good, which in the past involved being within the religious norms.

    The problem is that our sophisticated post-modern civilizations and cultures, don’t provide such simple feedback mechanisms anymore, and we have shifted satisfaction of our desire to be righteous into more abstract or secular matters, but always based on peer’s perception and opinion.

  68. Oh, and your entire spiel totally ignores my point, which is that the OP claimed thousands, maybe millions of species “are being wiped out.” That indicates an active situation that’s currently occurring, so I asked for a list of just a tenth of those species “being wiped out.” The best that was given was a few species that went extinct several thousands years ago… and your two links don’t even come close to listing a tenth of those thousands.

  69. Germany dumping perfectly fine existing nuclear reactors was (and still would be if done today) an illogical decision. On top of that their solar insolation is like 1/2 of other parts of Europe. I surveyed the nuclear reactors in Japan and 1/4 should have been shut down immediately and permanently in my opinion (so run 39/52). They went WAY past that and are at 9/42 now…..

  70. Diversity wasn’t particularly well documented as recently as 100 years ago… I saw photos (in the deli) of a fish cannery that was literally 100m from my house at the turn-of-the-century. This area was producing a lot of caviar.

    Sturgeon, Sawfish, Bluefin Tuna, black drum, all but extinct – call it functionally extinct or ‘clinging’. Most loitering sharks are all but extinct – pelagic varieties ‘clinging’. Are they below ‘critical mass’? I don’t know – lets see in 2045.

    Amphibian diversity clearly reduced more in NJ than in VA, MD. Often species become locally extinct, such as seahorses and shrimp in the Barnegat Bay. Will the dead zone expand? Probably.

    You don’t have to mock this point… Few put the effort into actually recording the death of fauna. Zealots choose to go after the big kill: climate change. Rest assured, we are well on our way to a domesticated planet with minimal vertebrate diversity.



  71. Well, I think it HIGHLY unlikely that Germany is tsunami-prone. Or has a lot of earthquakes, for that matter.

  72. Or in the case of Fukushima – someone going “No matter what, we MUST maintain fuel supplies to that site!” instead of apparently putting them fairly far down on the emergency fuel supply order. If they’d kept their emergency generators going, the pumps would have kept going, and they’d have been able to manage the shutdown cooldown properly. (Or I may be misremembering…)

    The megaprojects, solar and wind, haven’t lived up to expectations while nuclear just keeps going and going and going… unless some status-conscious greenie decides it must be stopped. (As in California. Yeah, energy-starved state decides to shutdown nuclear power plant. Yay, higher electricity prices and brownouts…) Status is SO important to the human animal…

  73. Mammoths?

    Surely you jest.

    1. The mammoths died off eons ago, and likely went extinct for entirely natural causes.
    2. The buffalo, aka North American Bison isn’t extinct and is nowhere close to going away.
    3. Not one species you’ve listed ‘are being wiped out’ due to modern humans.
  74. Mammoths. Giant Sloths
    More recently the N. American Bison came close
    Basically the Megafauna that died out when humans first moved into a region.
    If we want to stop the extinctions we need to do something like Shellenberger’s intensify our industry & agriculture so we can leave more land for wildlife, is the way to go. Nuclear takes less land per megawatt than other energy sources.

  75. Of course it will be interesting to be alive when EVs are ubiquitous (and still human-driven), energy carbon free (but being used at levels per capita above now – yah gadgets!), and technological interventions having saved the corals, increased density and robustness of nature at all latitudes, and moderated previous industrial sites, is still being used for industry/commercialism; AND people still work hard, are ambitious, and ooh-guess-what there is still income(outcome) inequality. For what and How will the Earth-Firster/Anti-Techs blame this never-ending individualism and self-interest??? With transit available but not dominant, cities dense with all classes (but none hungry or sick), and capitalism still thriving in the face of ruthless meritocracy, what will be the new Anti-Society target? The sacredness of the moon and mars surface against exploitation and human defilement? The right of plants and animals to not be farmed (a favourite Simpsons episode with Super-Vegans who won’t eat anything that casts a shadow – giggle)? Protesting and activism will certainly be interesting in 15 – 20 years with ubiquitous surveillance, most day-to-day life problems solved, and greater abundance. Well, it is every generation’s prerogative to Hate-on the previous one or more. Bring it.

  76. That was my take-away, too. ‘status anxiety’.

    Truely, and knowing i’ll be dissed for it, the younger generations are always the “status anxiety” laden. I’ve watched it, year after year. Boyfriends turn from green-who-really-cares to green-Green-GREEN! when the girlfriend is an eco-activist. Girlfriends of girlfriends outdo each other in being more green than thou. Academics can’t post papers on the relative merits of aircraft bolt thread choices if they’ve ever emitted a single climate-skeptical social media comment.  (Why?)

    The point really is that ever since the 1960s, environmentalism’s astounding rise has been whittled down to EPA SuperFund activity and a few highly contested megaproject tests between protesting activists, their mother firms (who, like the article’s citations show) are paid off by the very same petrochemical industries that they’re nominally railing against.  

    Nuclear — its the one future we actually CAN agree upon, if we are RATIONAL.

    Not nuclear in the hands of Homer Simpsons’ protagonist character. 

    Or in the hands of newb-Russians.  

    Or tho’ they’ven’t yet blown anything up, equally button-without-brain pushing Chinese and Koreans. (And Japanese, for that. Think how easily the Fukushima disaster could have been either prevented entirely, or just rapid-response mitigated…. with firehoses, pumping trucks, seawater showers. It boggles the mind.)

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  77. …and these people should be able to find a place where they can function (as minimally and unreliably – as is likely their fate) and be surrounded by their ‘Others’. I believe they can eke out large areas to foster their values without seeking to undermine a society that craves success, achievement, experiences, and access to technologies for health and empowerment. And this is the point, it should not be Us vs Them – for their values exclude us: with our technology, ambition, and need for resources – we become less and contained. But our values include All, including Them – for technology and ambition fixes, improves, and facilitates nature, creates greater wealth and opportunity for all-whether you use that wealth to self-enrich or spend it on social justice. health care, or whatever – the Pie is Bigger with pro-Society. All will get something. All can pursue their paths but Anti-Industrialization/Earth-First can do nothing but reduce everyone and subject all to nature’s risks. But perhaps the Earth-Firsters believe that Pro-Society cannot be trusted and will seek to remove all resources for the few and leave the polluted left-overs for the Rest. This may be partially true, at worst, but the Few will have technologies and successes, that can be emulated. But perhaps the Earth-Firsters believe that Pro-Society does not know what it is doing and will take us past the point of no return, leaving All with less. There is a risk, but we are a world of checks and balances….

  78. “Thousands and thousands (if not millions) of species are being wiped out due to humans.”

    Care to name the species?

    If there’s thousands, maybe even millions, it should be exceptionally easy to list just a tenth of the species “being wiped out.”

  79. “Censorship is a concept that pertains only to governmental action”

    That’s hogwash. The concept of censorship is a concept independent of the 1st Amendment.

  80. Even though there is likely very little untruth to the comments above, the most meaningful and pithy statement is: “… And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism..” I very much believe in climate change but I believe very much in people’s duty and responsibility to be modern, competitive, industrious, and resilient. The World does not owe you tree-huggers, third-world nations, and ‘anti-extinctionists’ an easy and untouched-hyper-natural environment free of eco-disaster, eco-challenge, or eco-die-off. 95% of all humans and 99+% of all animals/species have died since earth developed so cherry-picking precious animals and plants does not improve, maintain, or facilitate some hyper Gaia-topia. But it is not and has never been about logic, rationality, facts, or even evidence – it is about vision and politics. It is about questionably aligning poverty and illness with industrialization and commercialization/ business. It is about questionably aligning inequality and discrimination with un-natural attitudes toward land use, capitalistic values, and development of natural areas. I Get It. There are large numbers of people who wish for a world that is less competitive, less productive, more in-the-moment emotional, less materialistic, less role-ambitious; and they have not found their ‘people’ – as most non-profits, co-operatives, nature retreats, communal enclaves, etc., have floundered, collapsed or fell below intentions.

  81. Only government, or government actors, are constitutionally barred from censorship. Anybody with the power to cut off somebody else’s speech can censor.

  82. And all those possible deaths with about a 1000 certain deaths annually, is possible death more fatal than certain death?

  83. Anything about humans and the Earth that fails to mention O’Neill and leaving the Earth is inherently misleading.

  84. Simplified explanation: Multiply is he risk with the outcome and you get the damage. That’s why coal, cars, planes etc kill far more people than nuclear plants ever will. The risk is so low, and even in the worst accidents we’ve seen so far, the number of deaths is very small compared to for example the number of people killed by air pollution each year. That’s why nuclear is the safest energy option we’ve got.

  85. Most would be wrong. Which killed more people, 9/11 or Chernobyl ? 9/11, by a country mile. How many other plane crashes and nuclear accidents have killed a lot of people ? Plane crashes, hundreds; nuclear accidents, none. Cars kill far more people than aircraft, of course, and more of them from bad air than from impact. I haven’t read Shellenberger’s latest, though I’ve been following him for a while, but I’m sceptical of his ‘climate alarmism’ talk. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/28/world/antarctic-ice-sheet-retreat-intl-scli-scn-climate/index.html

  86. You’ve described literally every article written by a newly published author.

    “Well as I explain in great detail in my book…”

  87. I totally agree. When a modern reactor suddenly stops running nobody dies. When a modern airplane suddenly stops running… well people die.

  88. Heroic Book. Will lose a lot of friends. Will be pilloried on social media. I’d buy him a beer.

  89. consequences are serious enough

    Most would consider the scale of the consequences of catastrophic failure in “flying, driving, rockets, eating etc” is slightly different for those for Nuclear reactors.

  90. His article on forbes reads like a full page ad for his book with amazon links and all, that is the probable reason if i had to hazard a guess.
    Something that mundane isn’t likely to produce the same response in those predisposed: “they censored it, let me go buy the book to see what truths they don’t want everyone to know”
    Conspiracies exists, but not every result one does not like is due to conspiracies.

  91. That’s okay. They’ve replaced all that gross and dangerous nuclear fuel with perfectly clean and harmless lignite. Progress!

  92. ” Low probability will never mean zero probability, ”

    Now do flying, driving, rockets, eating, etc, etc, etc.

  93. Its called self censorship. When you say “I’d better not say that or i’ll be repenting of it for months in my struggle sessions”.

  94. Censorship is a concept that pertains only to governmental action, forbes is incapable of censoring anyone. It’s not nearly as melodramatic, perhaps he should inquire with his host the reason for that post being marked as inactive.

  95. I thought it was simplified so that even deeply indoctrinated “greenies” can understand at least some of the points.

  96. It doesn’t matter how long Nuclear plants can last or how often solar fields needs rebuilding, Germany stopped using nuclear to avoid any possibility of an accident. Low probability will never mean zero probability, what else can one do when the consequences are serious enough?

  97. I suspect that the narrative is simplified to pander to ‘eco-skeptics’ so he can move some paper.

  98. Censored within hours. This is not the behavior of a cause that thinks they can win an argument.

  99. He raises a lot of really great points. One gets stuck for me – and it’s about free range cattle. Two-thirds of the world are degraded grasslands that are now desert – have desertified and there is a lot of success among ranchers practicing herd management Holistic Planned Grazing which attempts to move herds of ruminants in a way that mimics wild herds. They graze intensively on smaller more tightly packed areas and then move on and allow that land to recover. It increases topsoil via stimulating root growth that when it dies off stores carbon in the ground which in turn makes the ground more porous and able to hold more groundwater. It bears more research and investigation but seems to reverse desertification and restore the function of natural systems like grasslands.

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