Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” Green Book Award Winner, and author of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All (Harper Collins, June 30, 2020).
The root cause of climate change, say many activist leaders, is economic growth. “How dare you!” Greta Thunberg told the United Nations last September “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth!”
And yet it was economic growth that lifted Thunberg’s ancestors out of agrarian poverty, raised life expectancy from 40 to 70 years, and liberated women and girls from feudal patriarchy.
Without Sweden’s economic growth, and the fossil fuels upon which it depended, the person who is Greta Thunberg would not exist.
Some climate activists acknowledge the need for poor nations to burn more fossil fuels if they are to achieve decent standards of living. Thunberg herself suggested as much in her January 2019 TED talk.
But in the name of fighting climate change, powerful first-world organizations including Sierra Club and Greenpeace, whose annual revenues nearly total $500 million, have forced World Bank and other banks to divert lending from cheap and reliable energy sources like hydroelectric dams and natural gas power plants to expensive and unreliable ones like solar panels and industrial wind turbines.