Introduction: The Virtues and Vices of Skeptical Environmentalism Academic Article uri icon


  • Introduction Extract: The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World by Bjorn Lomborg' is the most talked about environmental book in recent memory. Lomborg's central thesis is relatively straightforward: "Our doomsday conceptions of the environment are not correct." To the contrary, in recent decades humanity's lot has "improved in terms of practically every measurable indicator." Lomborg is not the first author to make this argument,4 but his book is the first to spark such a maelstrom of public attention. Its publication ignited controversy and debate on both sides of the Atlantic. Lomborg himself, an associate professor of statistics in the political-science department at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, has become a virtual celebrity, alternatively praised and reviled by partisans in environmental policy debates. In February 2002, largely due to the book, the Danish government made him director of the newly created Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen.5 Nearly one year later, a Danish scientific community accused Lomborg of presenting a "systematically biased representation" of environmental conditions.

author list (cited authors)

  • Adler, J. H., & Morriss, A. P.

publication date

  • January 2002