The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-fi… (2024)

O.K. - I get it. The prophets of doom have not been right, so far, and those on the left are motivated by lust for power (and influence and funding of course), but this book is simply too celebratory and optimistic. Not having been caught so far does not mean that we will never be caught.

On the other hand the "peak oil" folks were/are just silly.

I was disappointed by the discussion of Climate Change, which missed both of the fatal flaws in the argument that the very real warming we have experienced is anthropogenic.

The ninety-ninth book I have finished this year.

1. Peak Population

p. 9. . . . Duke University researcher Russell Hopfenberg . . .

The countries with the greatest food security are also the countries that are experiencing below replacement fertility.

O.K. - The prophets of doom from Malthus to Hopfenberg have, so far, seemed pretty clueless. Perhaps also politically (lust for power) motivated. Still this section is too celebratory: we should be worried about population growth and doing our best to stop it.

p. 17. The chief difference between the two population forecasts is the issue of the education of women.

p. 27. In other words, economic freedom actually serves as an invisible hand of population control.

2. Is the World Running on Empty?

p. 43. As the IEA 2013 report succinctly notes, "Fossil fuels are abundant in many regions of the world and they are in sufficient quantities to meet expected increasing demands."

p. 45. In their April 2013 study "The Global Energy Outlook," Duke University researchers Richard Newell and Stuart Iler . . . .

p. 60. Consider that the EPA reports that between 1980 and 2011, US gross domestic product increased 128 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 94 percent, energy consumption increased 26 percent, and the US population grew by 37 percent. During the same period, total emissions of the six principal pollutants dropped by 63 percent.

p. 62. As increases in efficiency make goods cheaper . . . . but this is likely wrong.

Does Mr. Bailey know the Jevons Effect?

3. Never Do Anything for the First Time

p. 82. This has eliminated considerable swaths of wildlife habitat, and fertilizer runoff has created an extensive low-oxygen dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

p. 94. But there are billions of people who still yearn to have their lives transformed.

4. What Cancer Epidemic?

p. 99. Muller, DDT's inventor, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948.

p. 100. . . . . in 1820 about 72 percent of the population worked in agriculture, the proportion in 1950 was only about 15 percent," reported Weiss. . . . to under 2 percent today.

p. 113. . . . . DDT remains unquestionably remains one of the most effective . . . malaria . . . The 200 million people who come down with malaria and the 600,000 who die of the disease every year might well wonder what authoritarian made that decision.

5. The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?

p. 144. When it comes to biotech crops and pesticide use data, the go-to guy for anti-biotech activists is Charles Benbrook. . . . at Washington State University.

p. 154. Continued environmentalist opposition to this technology is just plain evil.

p. 163. This corporate concentration is the predictable result of the restrictive regulatory system promoted by the activists themselves.

6. Can Cope with the Heat?

p. 185. The upshot is that many researchers remain convinced that natural fluctuations in the climate unaccounted for in the computer models are responsible for keeping average global temperature flat for the past sixteen to eighteen years.

p. 196. . . . the weather is not necessarily getting worse; there are simply more people and property for storms to damage.

p. 200. . . . . boosting the wealth of poor people through economic growth is their best protection against meteorological disasters in the long run, . . . .

p. 201. . . 2C, global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 must be between 40 and 70 percent lower than they were in 2010.

p. 219. The group uses a theory of cultural commitments devised by Aaron Wildavsky, . . . .

p. 232. However, potentially disruptive innovations like the solar subcell developed by German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems that can turn 44.7 percent of sunlight that strikes it into electricity or Sakti3's new high-capacity battery that the Michigan - based company claims offers double the energy density of current lithium - ion technology at a fifth the cost could accelerate the wider adoption of solar power.

7. Is the Ark Sinking?

p. 240. "Current rates of extinction are about 1000 times the likely background rate of extinction," starkly asserts . . . Duke University biologist Stuart Pimm and his colleagues.

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-fi… (2024)
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