Environmental skepticism

Environmental skepticism is an umbrella term that describes those that argue that particular claims put forward by environmentalists and environmental scientists are incorrect or exaggerated, along with those who are critical of environmentalism in general. The use of the term is contested. Supporters of environmentalists argue that "skepticism" implies an open-minded attitude to empirical evidence and that their opponents are in fact advocates for predetermined positions reflecting ideological commitments or financial interests.cite web |url=http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1431306,00.html |title='Denial lobby' turns up the heat | Business | The Observer |accessdate=2008-02-07 |format= |work=] Critics of environmental skepticism frequently use more pejorative terms such as denialism.

The popularity of the term was enhanced by Bjørn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist".cite book |author=Lomborg, Bjørn; Bjorn Lomborg |title=Global crises, global solutions |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge, UK |year=2004 |pages= |isbn=0-521-60614-4 |oclc= |doi=] Lomborg approached environmental claims from a statistical and economic standpoint, and concluded that often the claims made by environmentalists were overstated. Lomborg argued, on the basis of cost benefit analysis, that few environmentalist claims warranted serious concern.

Tom Bethell's "Politically Incorrect Guide to Science" extends environmental skepticism to a more general critique of scientific consensus. [cite book |author=Bethell, Tom |title=The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science |publisher=Regnery Publishing |location=Washington, D.C |year= |pages= |isbn=0-89526-031-X |oclc= |doi=] Bethell rejects mainstream views on evolution and global warming and supports AIDS denialism.

A recent study of the environmental skepticism movement found that the overwhelming majority of environmentally skeptical books published since the 1970's were either written or published by authors or institutions affiliated with conservative think thanks. The authors identified four defining themes in the movement:
# The "denial of the seriousness of environmental problems and dismissal of scientific evidence documenting these problems"
# The "question [ing of] the importance of environmentally protective policies"
# The "endorse [ment] an anti-regulatory/anti-corporate liability position"
# And the promotion of the idea that "environmentalism [is] a growing threat to social and economic progress and the ‘American way of life’"They "conclude that scepticism is a tactic of an elite-driven counter-movement designed to combat environmentalism, and that the successful use of this tactic has contributed to the weakening of US commitment to environmental protection." [cite journal|last=Jacques|first=P.J.|coauthors=Dunlap, R.E., and Freeman, M.|date=June 2008|title=The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism|journal=Environmental Politics|volume=17|issue=3|pages=349–385|doi=10.1080/09644010802055576]

ee also

*Global warming controversy
*Silent Spring
*Genetically modified food controversies
*Global warming denial

References

Bibliography

* Bethell, Tom, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science", Washington, DC, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005 ISBN 0-89526-031-X
* Huber, Peter, "Hard Green: Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists", New York, Basic Books, 2000 ISBN 0-465-03113-7
* Lomborg, Bjørn, "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World", Cambridge & New York, Cambridge University Press, 2001 ISBN 0-521-01068-3
* Mooney, Chris, "The Republican War on Science", Basic Books. ISBN 0465046762.
* de Steiguer, J.E. 2006. "The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought." The University of Arizona Press. Tucson. 246 pp.


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