About time too. Michael Shellenberger, a self-confessed ‘climate activist’, last month issued a ‘formal apology’ for the ‘climate scare’ environmentalists had ‘created over the last 30 years’.

Climate change was happening, but it was not the end of the world or even its most serious environmental problem. Mr Shellenberger, who has himself been an activist for 20 years, said that until last year he had mostly avoided speaking out against the climate scare. This was partly out of embarrassment because he had been ‘as guilty of alarmism as any other environmentalist’.

Mostly, however, ‘I was scared.’ He had remained quiet during the ‘climate disinformation campaign’ because he was scared of losing friends and funding. So he mostly ‘stood by and did next to nothing as my fellow environmentalists terrified the public’. Last year, however, ‘things spiralled out of control’ with apocalyptic warnings that the world would end in 12 years if climate change was not addressed and that civilisations would be wiped out, while one in five British children had been having ‘nightmares about climate change’.  

Such warnings have been issued year in and year out over the past three decades. ‘Project fear’ was perfected by climate alarmists long before British European Union enthusiasts cooked up their own Project Fear about the apocalypse that Brexit would bring about.

‘A terrifying glimpse’

And the scare-mongering continues. Last week, for example, Daily Maverick ran an article by a Stellenbosch professor under the headline ‘A terrifying glimpse of a future where overpopulation and climate crisis overwhelm earth’. The professor managed to describe people who moved from country to town as ‘climate migrants’. Rising temperatures and pollution were likely to cause premature, underweight, and even stillborn births.    

Two months ago an academic at the University of Cape Town had an article in the Daily Maverick under the headline ‘Donald Trump’s disdain for climate science is an existential threat to the planet’. Helpfully informing readers that ‘I am a scientist’, the writer declared that ‘air that transmits Covid-19’ was also ‘heating the planet to a metaphorical boiling point’. The response to this existential threat should not simply be ‘fuck any carbon guilt’.

So Mr Shellenberger’s courageous admission of real guilt comes not a moment too soon. His new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, will no doubt be blacklisted and/or abused.

‘Facts that few people know’

In the formal apology he issued last month ‘for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public’, Mr Shellenberger presented a list of ‘facts that few people know’. They included:

+ humans are not causing a ‘sixth mass extinction’

+ climate change is not making disasters worse

+ fires have declined around the world since 2003, while the build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explains why there are more fires in Australia and California

+ the amount of land used for meat has declined by an area as large as Alaska

+ air pollution and carbon emissions have been declining in rich countries for 50 years

+ habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change, and

+ using wood fuel is far worse for people than fossil fuels.

Mr Shellenberger goes on to argue that modern farming is one of the keys to environmental progress, in that it makes it possible to produce more food on less land. He also contends that the most important means of reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is to move from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium. Moreover, 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’.  

Mr Shellenberger further maintains that institutions such as the World Health Organisation and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ‘have undermined their credibility through the repeated politicisation of science’. As for the ‘ideology behind environmental alarmism – Malthusianism – [it] has been repeatedly debunked for 200 years’.

Summarily dismissed

Little of what Mr Shellenberger says is unfamiliar to anyone willing to consider the arguments that have been put forward for a long time by a great many scientists who have been summarily dismissed as ‘denialists’. Although he believes that Malthusianism, notwithstanding having been repeatedly debunked, is ‘more powerful than ever’, he thinks environmental alarmism will have diminishing ‘cultural power’, because the actual crisis of the coronavirus pandemic will put the climate ‘crisis’ into perspective.

Also, he argues, ‘social media is allowing for a wider range of new and independent voices to outcompete alarmist environmental journalists at legacy publications’.  

Mr Shellenberger’s book will no doubt come in for plenty of abuse from the powerful, well-funded, Climate Alarmist Establishment, which will do its best to deny him platforms in accordance with long-standing treatment of ‘denialists’. As a believer turned heretic he will no doubt also be subject to special vilification. But that should also boost the sales of his book.

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  1. Thw truth will out, as they say, but a lie travels around the world before truth has put its pants on. That is unfortunately what has been happening with so many iGreen ssues. Conservation is fine but Nature has now been co-opted by the same intellectual layabouts who ruined eastern Europe, Russia and China, during the Cold War, beggared Cuba, turned North Korea into a distopian nightmare and is doing the same thing successfully to Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

  2. Sad that you had to indulge Mr Schellenberger for the so many inaccuracies and false claims about climate change . The Daily Friend usually puts out well researched and balanced articles, where was the opinion on the other side of the fence or was this just to promote the book ! What is the IRR stance on Climate change as it will have a devastating impact on Southern Africa and its people.

    • Would you kindly list some of those ‘many inaccuracies & false claims’ about so called climate change that you hinted at?

  3. So, JKB has found an obscure ‘activist’ who supports his jaundiced view. Why not actually read some science from the reputable research labs all over the world who are involved in climate research and modelling, and who understand what we are doing to our planet.

  4. So Mr Schumann, no-one is entitled to have a view or opinion contarry to yours? My, My, you must be a really high and mighty person in society.

    The problem with snowflakes and greenies is that there is no theorems contrary to what they believe, they were born with a message from whomsoever that they will be saving the world from all the evil people.

    I say good luck to Michael Schellenberger and I know that he is not alone in exposing this bullshit global warming nonsense that the marxists have been spreading for the past 20 years.

    • That is such a petty response! Eckart Schumann’s whole point was to draw attention to more reputable opinions than his own or that of Michael Schellenberger’s but here you are laying a trip on him as if he were running a censorship programme. Sies! Shame on him for mentioning the real scientists!
      You are just nice living proof that those who sit at the opposite end of the alarmist spectrum – those with their heads up their rectums – will grab at this to confirm their rooi gevaar fears.

      • Nope, I’ve read it repeatedly & have still not found any real scientists that you claim he mentioned.
        On the other hand I found more than 31000 ‘real scientists’ who put pen to paper to debunk climate change /global warming as a political scam.

  5. Yah well no fine as it is so common to say in SA . I read his apologetic article and the point which he did not address and all the ” Climate Change ” heroes still cannot concede/understand/admit? ,is that whatever we do to the planet ,we cannot affect the weather ! It IS apparently normal for the weather patterns to change because of long term cyclical change , I am happy to concede that ,but to affect the climate by what WE do , do not talk nonsense !

  6. Ice sheets melting?? These people will only wake up when the waves are breaking on their doorsteps. 10 years? 20 years? Water world is coming! Begin rowing, IN, OUT, IN, OUT, etc., etc.

    • Melting? The Arctic ice sheet extent seems to be cyclic, growing and shrinking over the years. The Antarctic sheet, at least on the land, is thickening. The Antarctic sea ice doesn’t seem to be cyclic, but is growing and shrinking erratically. One area that IS shrinking just happens to be over a highly volcanic area, so THAT isn’t ‘climate change’ either. If you look at the long-term sea level reports, you will find that the oceans have been rising at a steady rate of about 1.5-2.5 millimeters per year. So, like ex-president Obama, no-one has to worry about their seaside cottage, except for erosion (which has NOTHING to do with climate).

    • Sea ice doesn’t affect ocean levels significantly but that doesn’t mean it is not of interest to climate scientists. The land ice is relevant to ocean levels and what Russ Wood is saying is not quite true. Antarctic land ice is shrinking in places and growing in others but clearly shrinking overall at an accelerating rate. As always, the real science defies oversimplification. Details here:

  7. So Eckart Schumann, you want to know “Why not actually read some science from the reputable research labs all over the world who are involved in climate research and modelling, and who understand what we are doing to our planet.” I am a scientist and although I do not work in climate research myself, I do read publications and I actually also understand the hard science. Sadly, the science and scientists are basically ignored by both the fundamentalist right and left wings. Both defend and propagate their views from their respective ideologies, rather than the actual science. The loony lefties doesn’t want to waste a good excuse for raising yet more taxes on anybody working for a living. The ridiculous righties doesn’t want to waste one for raising another crazy conspiracy theory.
    So what’s the truth? Simply that climate is a VERY complex subject and that it is not possible to make definite statements about it. Also that we do know of lever mechanisms that can have effects way beyond what we expect. Thus we do need to be seriously cautious, but not alarmist. Nothing is more hazardous for the continuing health of our planet than the incessant “wolf, wolf!” cries of the lefties.

    • Nico. The easiest manner to achieve a proper prespectiv on the fore ever changing climate of our dear
      earth, is to do some reading on the findings of thousands of archaeologist, spesifically in the field of human evolution, One then also comes to understand why we have slightly varing peoples around the earth today.

      In the massive fieldof Natural Health nowdays, it is also thought that whatever excess Co2 we produce,
      can easily be neutralized by changing all openfield crop cultivation to organic cultivation as Co 2 is actually
      healthy for plant growth. Apparently it is even financially more rewarding as well. I was very pleased to
      hear that the Univ of Stellenbosch is now also seriously promoting this manner of cultivating crops.

    • Nico Lemmer, why would you make out like Eckart Schumann is referring to the “loony left” when he mentions “reputable research labs all over the world who are involved in climate research and modelling”? Is that because you define people working at the coal face of the issue as the loony left or because scientists who know the field better than you are loony left? Or is it just that you’d like to paint yourself as ideological middle ground? I’m not saying there isn’t a “loony left” just curious as to how you identify them.

  8. One of Daily Maverick’s biggest funders is George Soros.
    As someone once said: “Between Lucifer and Soros, it is hard to tell who admires the other most.”

  9. Hail all the so-called scientists who have lit the flame held by their false gods Al Gore ( who I believe attended
    half a science semester at Harvard or maybe Yale) and child goddess Gtreta Thunberg who is still getting around to it. Climate change, as in seasonal or sun spots is no part of an argument. The big lie is the construct of a coming catastrophy. Those who propagate this promote only vilification of the truth, not the verification. It has all happened before; go study the long-term graphs and leave us ‘deniers’ and progeny to wallow in our long-term safe futures.
    Jaap Earle

    • Maybe start 1. ‘To all the scientists (leave out Hail all) :first sentence

      2. Leave the Big lie and say’The real issue’:Second sentence

      3.Leave out , end of last sentence, all after ‘deniers’.

      I hope that will be more acceptable.
      Jaap Earle

  10. Yeah, no. Scientific credibility of this article and Mr Shellenberger’s book promotion (aka scientific claims) is rather low. Mixing just enough trivial truths with private speculation to mask the true state of the academic debate. It’s not as easily dismissed as throwing it under the bus of ‘Malthusianism’ – a red herring.
    The author’s dog-whistle for his in-group, predicting “plenty of abuse from the powerful, well-funded, Climate Alarmist Establishment” is classic poisoning the well, an ironic move after you’ve just bemoaned the politicisation of science.


    • At last, a sensible comment.
      Don’t tell John Kane-Berman but here is another very well-referenced resource published by scientists working at the coal face of the issue:
      One of the nice things about it is it’s tabbed into basic and advanced modes so, if you understand the maths and modelling, you check the details for yourself, all of it properly referenced.

  11. https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/article-by-michael-shellenberger-mixes-accurate-and-inaccurate-claims-in-support-of-a-misleading-and-overly-simplistic-argumentation-about-climate-change/

    I’ve just been reading this and I think it bears repeating since it is written by 6 top scientists in the field and is detailed and well-referenced. Also worth noting is the fact that it was published 9 days ago so either John Kane-Berman preferred not to mention it’s existence or content or he didn’t pull his head out of the sand to look around before satisfying his confirmation bias. If I were a journalist or academic. I’d never write something like this without checking what the critics or experts in the field have to say. John, I’ve paid attention to what you have to say since the bad old days but recently had you shrinking in my estimation like the sea ice. Occasionally it grows again but this sort of quality of discourse (I’m not referring to your conclusions) has it shrinking overall.

  12. The 2nd (and smallest ) eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 putting more gunk into the atmosphere in a few hours than the next gazillion years worth of V8’s will ever do and the natural world cleansed itself (water and forests)
    I was a young adult in the 1970’s and the world was “about to freeze up”…go figure, now its about to burn up!!!
    This does not mean that our current trajectory of cleaning up our act is wrong, no, clean rivers, sustainable forests, clean plastic free seas and breaches, environmental conservation and sustainable population growth is the correct path but I am glad that the alarmists are beginning to be shown up for what they are….profits and profiteers of gloom and panic
    Thank you John for this article

  13. The Environmentalists succeeded in opening another tax robbery channel in the form of CARBON TAX!!!!! How nice to contribute another stream of money to the feeding troughs of corruption.
    What has the government of RSA done or intend to do with the tax money collected for reducing carbon sins?


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