Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Michael Shellenberger is the author of Apocalypse Never, a wonderful takedown of green eggs and scam schemes and schemers.
Michael Shellenberger is a thinking environmentalist, an all too uncommon sort of individual in the environmental movement these days. Unlike me, he is a political progressive, with an office in Berkeley, California, of all places. He’s also a big-time nuclear energy advocate and not much of a friend to natural gas when nuclear is available. Nonetheless, he has written a marvelous book titled Apocalypse Never that should be considered must-reading by anyone truly committed to the environment and the welfare of our own species. I highly recommend it.
Why do I recommend a book by a nuclear energy promoter who prefers it over natural gas? It’s simple enough. Apocalypse Never is an exercise in truth-telling. Moreover, Shellenberger doesn’t reject natural gas; he actually endorses it as something that has helped reduce carbon emissions and is critically important to the environment. He simply likes nuclear better. I could take issue with that and I don’t accept everything he has to say on the subject, but he makes a great case. More importantly, though, he bares his own soul in explaining how he came to the nuclear position as an enviro, why natural gas is important, how folks such as Bill McKibben are doing great harm and solar and wind are no solution.
The title of Shellenberger’s book — Apocalypse Never — provides the first clue as to what it’s all about. Combined with the picture of the polar bears on the front and the intriguing “Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” it speaks to the hyperbolic zealotry that characterizes far too much of environmental advocacy today. Extinction Rebellion, which he artfully describes as sort of a death cult, is a prime example.
But, it’s not just the wackos, it’s also smarmy hired ideologues such as Bill McKibben who has always been attracted to trouble-making as a vocation and has held an affection for a little violence here and there. It’s also the insufferable Greta Thunberg, the Center for American Progress, the IPCC, the United Nations, the World Bank and a host of others who have exaggerated the threats from global warming. He explains how these entities have exploited the threats for their own purposes in promoting special agendas, perpetuating scams and signaling their supposed virtues and commitments to ideological causes that substitute for religion.
Shellenberger has their number. He describes, in a chapter titled “False Gods for Lost Souls,” the nature of the beast. They are all preachers of long debunked Mathusian dogma and adjustment to a false religious-like unseen order vaguely described as “natural.” They suppose natural is superior even though they can’t really define it. They intuitively imagine, therefore, solar and wind must be better when, in fact, they disturb far more land, produce far less energy and do nothing to advance the lot of the poor to the point where the environment is something to be conserved. He employs one real life example after another to make his point that we cannot hope to save anything if we don’t address the human condition first.
Here’s an extremely articulate description he gives of what’s dark about big green:
Environmentalism today is the dominant secular religion of the educated, upper-middle-class elite in most developed and many developing nations. It provides a new story about our collective and individual purpose. It designates good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains. And it does so in the language of science, which provides it with legitimacy.
Nature replaces God for these folks and pseudo, as well as real, scientists play the priests. Unfortunately, it is a creed that “has become increasingly apocalyptic, destructive and self-defeating,” says Shellenberger and its adherents seek to progress by “demonizing their opponents.” The fact they do so hypocritically isn’t helpful. As he notes, these folks typically wear hypocrisy as a badge of honor. Attacking Leonardo DiCaprio for traveling to a global warming confab in a CO2 jet machine may seem profitable to us as a means of embarrassing the fellow. For him, though, it only proves he’s special enough to not have to comply with the rules he proposes for little people. The hypocrisy only reinforces his legend in his own mind. The more we point out, the bigger the swell of his chest and the cock of his head.
There’s a whole lot more to Apocalypse Never that I don’t have room for here. It includes 104 pages of footnotes documenting his sources as he relates what’s wrong with apocalyptic environmentalism, renewables other than hydro-electric power and a media that facilitates problems rather than solutions. It’s also the story of a thinking environmentalist who has evolved over three decades and left despair behind in favor doing something positive for his fellow human beings. I give the book five stars!
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