It's pretty clear that the purpose of this article, and probably the purpose of dr. Lomborg's book as well, is to present a political argument against government regulation of pollution.
Actually the way I read the article - and the book - dr. Lomborg's political agenda is not to deregulate everything mindlessly, but instead to use our resources intelligently. His point is not that we should just relax and let the invisible magic hand of the free market handle the environment - his point is, that alarmist tactics has harmed the environment... by focusing attention on the wrong problems, in the sense that the same amount of resources could be used to save a larger (or more vital) part of the environment.
In other words, he's much more likely to favour Gore than Bush.
But why, pray tell, did that happen? Gee, could it have something to do with the last several decades of concerted political effort by environmentalists worldwide? Could it be that the Cuyahoga isn't an open industrial sewer precisely because those "environmental wackos" coerced Congress to pass laws disallowing the ejaculation of raw, untreated chemical factory wastes via clay pipes through the seawall directly into the flow? And was this legislation not enacted over non-stop and still-continuing resistance by nearly every large corporation in the country?
Please! I think you are being unfair here, as well as deliberately inflaming in your choice of words and subjects.
I have so far been unable to find any evidence that dr. Lomborg denies the necessity of acting to keep polution levels down, or cleaning up severly poluted areas. Quite the contrary! Why is it that he can't make a case for a better use of resources in the cause of preserving the environment, without being cast as a rabid anti-environmelist?
Obviously you are not familiar with the current eco-political climate in Europe, much less Denmark. There is currently a "zero-tolerence" policy in place, accompanied by a reversal of the normal "innocent until proven guilty" rules you'd expect in any kind of trial, even the courtroom of public opinion. In other words there are laws demanding that certain resources - such as drinking water - should be 100% clean, and that any "contamination" is presumed lethal unless proven diffent. This is obviously nonsense, as nothing in the real world is 100% clean. THIS is the principle that mr. Lomborg is trying to expose as a waste of resources, and an unatainable goal. In his words: If you look close enough, there is no such thing as a clean plate - there is only a reasonable amount of time and/or effort you want to spend cleaning it.
It will probably comes as a surprise to you that a book like The Sceptical Environmentalist could be written by a Dane...
Yeah, it sure surprised me. I've always been confident all Danes were entirely in lock-step when it came to political issues. I mean, you know what conventional conformists those Danes are!
:) First of all: Please allow as me a writer some stylistic freedom with regards to presentation and hooking the story. This was an obvious hook... and also (intentionally and deliberatly) truly a false one, as the story itself proves. I - the author of the original K5 story here - am Danish, and I'm certaintly fed up with the normal presentation in foerign media of my country as either:
The Fairy-Tale Country of Hans Christian Anderson (who - by the way - was called AnderSEN)
The Internaional Political and Ecological Boy-Scouts, Saviours of the Jews, They of the King who Wore the Star of David (the last of which is a myth BTW, and thoroughly debunked).
The Home of Pornography, Haven for Gay Persons Around the Globe, which Overflows with Tall Blondes (this at least has some truth to it...)
Actually, out country, though small, is quite a lot more complex (and complicated) than that, which mr. Lomborgs book (and mr. Lomborg himself) is proof of. The real world - at least in this case - is just not soundbite-friendly ;)
We do however have an abundance of pretty woman, compared to most other countries I have visited, but that is a personal and subjective opinion. But if your taste runs to tall, statuesque blondes, you should really visit Norway or Sweeden, as we have quite a lot more variety with regards to type and looks here.
...I urge you to at least read the book, before you comment on the validity of Bjorn's claims.
You do understand that K5, though is isn't quite as fast-paced as some weblogs, is a site where the news articles have only a short active lifetime. So even for the author's next-door neighbor up there in cool and pleasant Denmark, what he's saying is "you have to buy and read a complex voluminous text (3000 footnotes!) before I will accept any criticism from you!", but of course by the time he gets that done this article will surely have scrolled off to archive heaven. For me it's worse; I'm sure it would take years before I could master Danish well enough to read a book that big! No, I won't read the book before commenting, sorry.
First of all, I'm certaintly not personally acquainted with dr. Lomborg, although I have been at a debate and bellieve he would be pleasant company. Second Denmark is far from cool, albeit pleasant, as the temperature just peaked at 33 degrees celcius this week. Third, the book was just about to be published in English at the time I posted the article, and has now - just a few days later - been released for general comsumption.
Fourth, my primary reason for posting this article was - as you can plainly see from the text - to preemt exactly the kind of arguments you have brought to the forum. I know from bitter experience that this book provokes the worst kind of knee-jerk reactions, ie. name calling and denouncement from hard-core environmentalists and praise and calls for total deregulation from industrialists, simply because the message does not confirm to ANY established dogma. That is the risk you take, when you try to set (or change) the agenda. However, if you do take you time to read it, it's well researced, rather levelheaded, makes a case for preserving rather than mindlessly over-exploiting the environment and is a very entertaining and thought-provoking read. That is, if you are sufficiently brave to risk reading a book that probably challenges your worldview.
I personally felt that this was quite evident from the linked articles. Obviously you disagree. That is your priviledge - but personally I feel that reasonable (and rational) people ought to choose to check their facts, before shooting off their mouth. In fact, I'd love if everyone did just that, but there I go being an idealistic dreamer again :)
You, on the other hand, clearly feel that emotionally charged rethoric is justified in the struggle to save the environment. I accept your point of view as one of many possible, but I certaintly don't agree. In my opinion the whole concept of preserving the environment ignores the fact that we, by our very existence, change the environment because we are a part of it. The goal in my mind should be striking an acceptable balance from the human-centric point of view, rather that preserving the world in it's current, or even pre-industrial, state. To me, the concept of preserving the current state of the planet like a fly in amber is the worst kind of conservativism, reactionary and possibly immoral, as it denies the starving masses in the third world the chance of a decent, long and disease- and hunger-free life. We just can't tell them to halt industrial epansion, until we have developed a safe and pollution-free way of doing it, which is resource-neutral to boot.
You want to make the world into a giant national park? Fine by me, but first you have to find a place to put the industry that we need in order to preserve a reasonable and acceptable lifestyle, and a place to acquire the resources that this industry will invariably consume, in order to produce the goods we need. If, on the other hand, you are willing to accept a less extreme solution than total and unconditional ecological preservation, I'm ready to descuss, where we should strike the balance. Absolutely!
But the extreme, uncompromising and emotionally charged point of view you present does not leave much room for a productive and constructive dialog. It is therefore only succeding in making a lot of noise - and keeping you out of the loop, with regards to actually having a say in the future of the environment.
Don't get me wrong... and don't try casting ME as a rabid gaia-destroyer! I'm all for clean air, drinkable water and bio-diversity. However environmentalism in my country - and possibly elsewhere in the world - has gone over the edge, to the point where we actually have people opposing the construction of wind-driven turbines, because they aledgedly make a nasty swoshing noise, and in most cases are higher than the surrounding trees, chimneys and whatnot. Apparently they would rather keep on polluting the air by burning oil and coal, as I have had no indication that these people are willing to live without power and/or heat, and have presented no alternative to the turbines. One pundint even suggested that the fact that the highest point in Denmark is now a wind-driven turbine, rather than a natural feature of the landscape, was in some way a threat to our national identity. Imagine what a world of good that kind of arguments do for the eco-cause....
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