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Category — The Skeptical Environmentalist (Lomborg)

“The Skeptical Environmentalist”: A Ten Year Appreciation (Bjørn Lomborg vindication of the late Julian Simon continues to resonate today)

Ten years ago this month, a landmark book was published that put neo-Malthusianism on the defensive. The unvarnished facts were there to weaken doom-and-gloom prognostications, but it took a rare individual named Julian Simon (1932–1998)  ) to uncover the anomalies and present them in integrated and compelling form–and to win the most famous wager in the history of economics!

Then came a young Dane named Bjørn Lomborg set out to refute Simon but instead rediscovered the bogey of fixed-pie, depletionist thinking. This audacious 36-year-old also found that whether the result was of market progress or regulation, virtually all environmental indicators were trending positively, not negatively. Lomborg could agree with the title of Simon’s last major public address, “More People, Greater Wealth, Expanded Resources, Cleaner Environment.”

A Heated Debate

And then, with the debate joined, came a slew of establishment neo-Malthusians, led by John Holdren, now Obama’s science advisor, who got emotional and nit-picked.

This story is told in the introduction to an essay I wrote, The Heated Energy Debate: Assessing John Holdren’s Attack on Bjørn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist,” published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2002.

I spent months on the 160-footnote essay and even worked with Dr. Holdren’s personal secretary at Harvard University’s Kennedy School to receive the entire corpus of Holdren’s writing. But when I sent Dr. Holdren a draft of my paper for critical review and rebuttal, this is what the not-so-good Doctor wrote back to me: [Read more →]

September 9, 2011   7 Comments