In previous books Ecoscam (1993), The True State of the Planet (edited, 1995), Earth Report 2000 (edited, 2000), Global Warming and Other Eco-myths (edited, 2002), and Liberation Biology (2005), plus many articles in Reason and elsewhere, Ronald Bailey has marshaled, often with other authors, massive amounts of hard data against environmental doomsters’ claims of present or predictions of future disasters from population growth, resource depletion, pollution, species extinction, and Frankenstein’s monsters arising from bioengineering.
The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century (2015) is his latest in the long and consistent series of high-quality, well-researched works. This 544-page tome isn’t the longest he’s done, but it may be the best because of the clarity, conciseness, and persuasiveness that are the fruit of such long and dedicated study. From ADHD to wind power, with lots of subjects in between, Bailey explains precisely why essentially none of the claims of environmental alarmists are true, or even close to true. Want to understand why the world isn’t overpopulated and population growth isn’t a problem. Bailey explains, clearly, with solid data. (He doesn’t, however, discuss the possible hazards of declining population.) Why we’re not running out of oil, coal, natural gas, copper, silver, bauxite, land, water, and any number of other resources? Check. Why electromagnetic fields (including those created by cell phones) and genetically engineered foods create no risks? Check. Why we’re safer with than without synthetic chemicals? Check. Why human health and longevity are improving and claims of cancer epidemics are exaggerated or totally false? Check. Why claims of rapid species extinction are bogus? Again, he explains—and this time, the explanation is in principle quite similar to why claims of dangerous manmade global warming are also bogus, namely, that they rest on computer models not validated by real-world observation.
Readers who exercise self-restraint will find themselves waiting with bated breath from early on in the book, where Bailey says his views on global warming have changed, till the next-to-last chapter, “Can We Cope with the Heat?”, to discover his new view. Well, not entirely new, because he first announced it in 2005, much to the chagrin of many climate-skeptic friends, at least at first. But when they came to understand his full view, as it’s now laid out in this book, their concerns diminished considerably.
His view? That “the balance of the scientific evidence indicate[s] that man-made global warming likely pose[s] a significant problem for humanity.” Well, that probably won’t satisfy the James Inhofes, Christopher Moncktons, or Marc Moranos of the “climate skeptics” world, but it’s certainly not the apocalypticism of Al Gore, James Hansen, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, either. And digging a little deeper reveals that his overall argument is that even if we accept the IPCC’s own estimates of how much warming comes from anthropogenically added greenhouse gases, economic analysis overwhelmingly concludes that people are far better off if we do nothing to mitigate global warming but rather pursue continued economic growth. In this respect, he’s taken a position quite similar to that of Bjørn Lomborg.
All in all The End of Doom is the kind of book every parent should get for a child navigating the treacherous (as in treachery, “betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature”) shoals of environmentalism permeating every level, and every subject, of American education nowadays, Kindergarten through graduate school. The student who’s read it will be well equipped to counter, and disprove, the vast majority of eco-disaster claims, with solid data from solid sources. It lacks the Christian worldview underpinnings the Cornwall Alliance seeks always to provide, but otherwise it’s a treasure trove of good common sense wedded to detailed technical knowledge.