Good News about the Environment
Scientists and environmentalists have constantly warned us of the worsening state of our environment. Their view can be summarized in the list below:
●Our resources are running out.
●The population is growing ever larger, leaving less and less for everyone to eat.
●The air and water are becoming ever more polluted.
●Large numbers of the planet's species are threatened with extinction.
Many people agree with such views. However, a Danish statistician named Bjorn Lomborg argues for an opposite point of view. In his opinion, the available evidence does not back up this list of environmental problems. He argues that there are no shortages of energy resources; that fewer people are starving today; that species are not disappearing at an alarming rate; and that growth is the solution to environmental problems like pollution and global warming.
Let us examine his views in more detail on two environmental issues.
Firstly, are Earth's energy resources running out? According to Lomborg, the mineral resources on which modern industry depends are not running out. He argues, for example, that known reserves of fossil fuels and most commercially important metals are now much larger than they were 30 years ago and that known oil reserves that could be extracted at reasonably competitive prices would keep the world economy running for 92 years at present consumption rates.
He argues that although we consume an increasing amount of these resources, we've discovered even more. We have also become more efficient and less wasteful in extracting and exploiting them.
The story is the same for non-energy resources, says Lomborg. Despite an astounding increase in production and consumption, the available reserves of the most important resources -- aluminum, iron, copper, and zinc -- have grown even more, and their prices have also declined over the past century.
Meanwhile, Lomborg says, the cost of both solar and wind energy has dropped by more