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Publisher's Summary

Climate change is real, but it’s not the end of the world. It is not even our most serious environmental problem.

Michael Shellenberger has been fighting for a greener planet for decades. He helped save the world’s last unprotected redwoods. He co-created the predecessor to today’s Green New Deal. And he led a successful effort by climate scientists and activists to keep nuclear plants operating, preventing a spike of emissions.

But in 2019, as some claimed "billions of people are going to die", contributing to rising anxiety, including among adolescents, Shellenberger decided that, as a lifelong environmental activist, leading energy expert, and father of a teenage daughter, he needed to speak out to separate science from fiction.

Despite decades of news media attention, many remain ignorant of basic facts. Carbon emissions peaked and have been declining in most developed nations for over a decade. Deaths from extreme weather, even in poor nations, declined 80 percent over the last four decades. And the risk of Earth warming to very high temperatures is increasingly unlikely thanks to slowing population growth and abundant natural gas.

Curiously, the people who are the most alarmist about the problems also tend to oppose the obvious solutions.

What’s really behind the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism? There are powerful financial interests. There are desires for status and power. But most of all, there is a desire among supposedly secular people for transcendence. This spiritual impulse can be natural and healthy. But in preaching fear without love, and guilt without redemption, the new religion is failing to satisfy our deepest psychological and existential needs.

©2020 Michael Shellenberger (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Apocalypse Never

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Science

Very informative and fact based. Climate change is real and we should plan and have good responses, but we can't even have those conversations because we are so ill informed by politicians and alarmists. This causes people to say science and scientists can't be trusted when really it's the reporting and people trying to use the science for other purposes that can't be trusted; and that's dangerous. I'm going to get a copy for each of my kids! Thank you for this book!

27 people found this helpful

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Environmentalist with integrity!

Apocalypse Never:Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All makes dozens of valid points about the false information coming from environmental alarmists/extremists. They get almost nothing right.

Author Michael Shellenberger apologies for his past role in spreading the incorrect information. Simplistically his major points fall into two categories: 1. Environmental alarmism is not justified. It is both false and counter productive. It has a major negative impact on the mental health of children. 2. The best solution to reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide is nuclear energy. Nuclear is the ultimate green energy.

As a past alarmist the author's honesty is refreshing.

Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All is an important book that deserves lots of positive attention.

25 people found this helpful

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The best book on the topic

This book is stunning in its breadth and implications. In short the book's argument is that climate change is happening but it isn't the fiery apocalypse the news media has portrayed it as. That view is largely manufactured by politicians and media. In addition a lot of things that the developed world is doing to "help" are exacerbating the problem. He gives examples ranging from the destruction of habitat for wind farms and pasture raised cattle. To the net increase in carbon emissions from the shutdown of nuclear plants.

When reading this book you are left with the impression that you are hearing the "adult" in the room. For every point I agreed with there was one that challenged me. The thoughts and ideas are fully formed. There are no halfpinions in the book. There are real discussions about use of coal and wood in the developing world. Habitat vs climate, Vegetarianism, GMOs, Wind farming and everything else.

The best thing about Apocalypse Never is that it leaves you with hope for the future but also primes you for action. Just fantastic!

17 people found this helpful

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Pro Nuclear Environmentalism. Who da Thunk it?

This is the logical path between climate skeptics and the alarmists. Schellenberger points out that every country that cares about its environment is wealthy and prosperous. He also points out that it's not that poor countries don't care about their environment, quite the opposite. they just cannot afford to give it the attention that a wealthy country can.
The energy progression is, first you burn wood, then you burn coal, then you burn petroleum and natural gas, then you have nuclear power. This is the energy path to prosperity. prosperous countries take care of their environment. The best thing that we can do to help the world's climate is to help poor nations develop their economies.
This is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject.

11 people found this helpful

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Not anti environmental

Well researched and from an insider. Rational call for rational and effective environmental protection and policy. Not a right wing reaction to leftist extremism. Based on data and lots of it.

10 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly Enlightening

A very thorough debunking of the climate catastrophe version of events we are told is happening everyday. The author approaches this as an environmentalist and climate scientist who believe climate change is real and largely worsened by humans and then proceeds to explain how and why the climate alarmists use fear mongering tactics by blatantly misrepresenting the data and conclusions in the major reports they love to cite so much.

The author then proceeds to tell us why not only is the scale of danger no where near what the alarmists would have us believe, but that most of not all of the adverse effects of climate change are avoidable with simply adaptations and using technology the alarmists hate, like nuclear energy, that is far greener than the technologies that are far inferior and less green, like solar and wind power. He explains why large efficiently run corporate farms are much greener than many small organic farms. There are countless times he effortlessly explains away the popular conceptions of climate science with simple facts and stats that very often come from the same studies and organizations themselves cite to purvey their agenda, while conveniently leaving out the information that would instantly debunk their argument.

Great book for climate skeptics to solidify your arguments against climate alarmists as well as a great book for climate alarmists to gain some perspective from the little heard side as well as a great book for everyone in between that just isn’t sure what is going on.

I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.

8 people found this helpful

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Read with an open mind and it will open your mind

Fascinating. Especially the part about young people with anxiety and fear for the future. This one’s dead on. So much fantastic information in this book.

8 people found this helpful

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Good but too one sided.

Shellenberger makes good points about organizations that are too alarmist and guilty of over exaggeration. The problem with this book is its passing acknowledgement of the great work environmental alarmists have done to save species and reduce green house gasses. He glosses over the environmental damage of excessive fertilizer use and believes all the world has to do is keep building and acquiring stuff to make life better. I wouldn't be surprised if he recieves funding from the Heritage Foundation and the U S. Chamber of Commerce. I stopped listening after 7 chapters because his presentation and subject put me to sleep.

6 people found this helpful

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The Green in the Green Label

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
― Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

6 people found this helpful

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The best book addressing climate change

This book addresses some of the most surprising facts and solutions to climate change and tangentially addresses other world problems along the way. Great listen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-28-20

Finally a book that explains climate change

Since around 2004 I have been wondering why so many people profess to believe the climate change catastrophe story when an educated examination of the issue shows that the cures are a magnitude of times worse for the world than the disease. I realized that the emperor's new clothes is a fairytale. If it were real the little boy who pointed out that he emperor was naked would have been lynched by the emperors entourage.
In chapter 10 Shellenberger explains, as only an insider could, the financials underpinnings. Why fossil fuel interests support their suspected opponents, etc. Info about Governor 'Moonbeam' particularly eye opening. He also explains the Malthusian pseudo religion that underlies so much of it.
I think it is sad that so many people who vote green and think they are environmentalist vote for policies that do so much damage to the environment. Solar and wind farms kill birds of prey and bats, forests and food are burned as biomass, Minerals like cobalt are mined with child labourers in the Congo to provide minerals for the batteries in subsidized Teslas.
But it is the new state religion of the EU and many countries. At least with Michael Moore's 'Planet of the Humans' and Lomborg's 'False Alarm' more info about the harm caused by attempting to reduce carbon is coming out.

10 people found this helpful

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  • AmazonAccount13453
  • 08-10-20

Misleading, misinformed and frustrating read by a climate scientist

This book was incredibly frustrating to listen to as an active climate and biodiversity scientist. Shellenberger seems to choose narratives which suit his agenda rather than discussing the reality. Rather than choose established scientists as counterparts to his ideas he instead targets Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg which have no scientific grounding. I would not be recommending this book to a friend who wishes to learn about the future of humanity, nature and the consequences of our impact on the planet.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Andrei Predoiu
  • 08-17-20

The real other side of the climate discussion

Finally, a take on climate that doesn't sound like it's absolutely insane on its face.
This book actively tackles arguments with a clear regard to both sides of the coin. You cannot talk about wind farms or solar panels without talking about reliability and methane burning plants that have to cover the gaps.
One also cannot ignore the fact that we are strangulating the 3rd world's progress in the name of climate. We are stopping them from doing the same things that the west and far east have done and in the end, forcing them to burn wood and destroy the forests for energy.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-20

Glaring flaws and biases.

The author's bias towards farmers he knew well leads him to discuss an economic anthropocentric view on environmental damage and the book reads like an ideologue rant. He brandishes all environmental movements and scientists with one brush. This book will do more harm than good for book sales

6 people found this helpful

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  • cmwyoung
  • 09-02-20

Interesting, but disingenuous.

His appeal for rational prioritisation of our ecological challenges is laudable, but when Shellenberger says "Plastics are a waste byproduct of oil manufacturing", as if by buying plastic we're saving it from being dumped, he has stepped over the line into being an apologist for capitalism. I hope he is just being disingenuously provocative, and not funded by the oil and gas lobby...

4 people found this helpful

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  • The Tuscan
  • 07-24-20

Must-read if interested in the politics of climate

A thoroughly well-researched book that is written from the position of a person with deep and long interest environmental protection, Michael Shellenberger helps the layperson sort out the fog and myth from the reality and agenda.

4 people found this helpful

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  • rascallybear
  • 07-24-20

ALL eco warriors need to listen to this

Greta Thunberg and all eco warriors need to listen to, and think on this. They mean well, but the world is so complex -- often counter-intuitive -- as this book explains. Often difficult listening: some of its messages are unpleasant, yet the facts of how we might improve life for every creature on our planet are inaugural. This is a book for REAL eco warriors, rather than the simplistic stories we're hearing today. I just hope it's available in Swedish, and that Greta (who is well-meaning) gets to think on its message.

4 people found this helpful

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  • The Vikid Truth
  • 07-09-20

brilliant book

If you care about the environment then this is the book for you. Written by a genuine long term activist, this book will show you many of the pitfalls in activism and ideological thinking that may actually have you doing more damage than good.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Harrison
  • 10-28-20

highly informative book

highly informative book about climate change alarmism, I would recommend to anyone.
the author explains the whole myriad of climate change talking points that exist and uses his own personal experiences and research to put forth his valid arguments against them

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tahir Nasser
  • 08-04-20

Most important book on the Environment ever

easy to listen to. fantastic evidence based analysis. would recommend to everyone I know. great!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jon
  • 07-05-20

Disingenuous...

... and transparent. I really feel the author should fully divulge his institute's backing, because that is important context for this. I'm very open to the idea that alarmism can be counter-productive, and that environmentalists often don't get everything right - but there were so many attacks against strawmen in this that it had my head reeling.

I'd highly recommend anyone who finds this compelling should read Naomi Orsekes' 'Merchants of Doubt'

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-24-20

Genuine Conservation Not Politics

Shellenberger shows how climate alarmism has betrayed both science and humanity, without denying the facts of climate change. At the same time he offers real solutions to real conservation problems such as overfishing of the oceans, plastic pollution, loss of wildlife habitat, and destruction of rainforest. He takes a Humanist approach, starting with the premise that human beings are important, too. People who are more interested in fixing the problems, rather than marching in the streets, should read this book!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jason P. Green
  • 07-30-20

Finally, some optimism and facts.

"Prosperity and Nature for all" says it all, and something realistic and achievable to rally behind.

3 people found this helpful

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  • eek
  • 07-09-20

common sense at last

this is an amazing and timely book. it is by far the most heartening, insightful and realistic analysis of climate change challenge. Michael Shellenberger highlights the need to reassess the role of nuclear energy as the key to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable development. it is a must-read.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mars
  • 08-02-20

essential read

Initial review: 2 August 2020
------------------------------------------

Whilst I have some difficulty with some of the the comments on nuclear weapons, overall I believe this is a very important book. I intend to use it as a springboard for further research, and I aim to cross check much of the material. If I subsequently change my mind, I shall come back and revise this review.

For now however, I feel everyone should read this book. I fear, however, that those that need it most will not give it the time.


Follow up review: 9 March 2021
---------------------------------------------

It is now about 7 months since my above review. I have spent a considerable amount of time reading various critiques of the book and conducting my own fact checking. I shall first emphasize that I have only skimmed Shellenberger’s comments on nuclear power and not reviewed these or any of the associated critiques. This should be kept in mind when reading my review below.

This review is both of Shellenberger’s book and his Forbes article “On Behalf of Environmentalists I Apologize for the Climate Scare” published on 28 June 2020. His article was a promo for his book, and so I shall treat both in unison here.

Some of the criticisms levelled at Shellenberger are on the basis that his article provides no evidence or substantiation to his assertions and that many are sensationalist I nature. It is true that some of the article’s claims, on their own, do seem sensationalist. Remembering that Shellenberger’s contention is that much of the environmental movement is pushing an alarmist agenda, it’s worth noting that alarmism is just another form of sensationalism. A good example is Shellenberger’s reference, in the article, to the word ‘natural disasters’. Another example is his reference to the impact of climate change on wild fires. The book provides the nuance that is absent in the article, and while it is true that the article was a promo for his book, a very small amount of clarification would have circumvented many of the criticisms.

All of that said, many of those providing critiques were more than happy to tear into the article without regard to the book itself, even though they knew it was a promo for the book. These were, after all, highly respected and/or prominent scientists (‘experts’), not radio shock jocks. This itself speaks volumes. It speaks of a scientific community who’s first instinct is to defend their turf – rather than provide the dispassionate feedback we expect from our leading scientists and relevant institutions. This itself is indicative of the zealotry and intentional alarmism that Shellenberger is decrying.

But it gets much worse. Much of the critiquing commentary is at best selective and at worst deliberately misleading. Sometimes it is irrational – depressingly so, considering that I am referring to ‘expert’ critiques (notably, but not exclusively, that provided by climatefeedback.org). Usually when I examined the footnoted reports cited in the critiques, I found at best vague statements about possible risks of this that or the other, and at other times I found no corroborating evidence at all. At times the cited material was even deliberately misleading.

It went generally like this:

The expert reviewer would give a strong and often emotive counter to Shellenberger’s claims, with footnoted references. I would examine the cited reference reports and generally find a lot of hair splitting and sometimes essentially nothing of any substance.

The point is that Shellenberger is referring to alarmism in the community, including a widespread sense of impending doom. He cites concrete examples of this, including public statements by prominent figures. If the best the ‘experts’ can do is counter with a whole lot of hair splitting, then isn’t this a ringing endorsement of Shellenberger’s premise?

My best guess is that the reviewers, in their mad rush to damage control, were more intent on point scoring than in reasoned critiquing – and were counting on most readers (especially their ‘constituency’) not bothering to get stuck into the fine detail. Admittedly, and sadly, this was probably a good strategy for them, as they know that no one wanting to be tainted by the word ‘denier’ would dare question their message.

But to anyone willing to go there, the ‘expert’ critiques amount to a massive home goal. For if the experts themselves cannot find better evidence to counter Shellenberger’s claims of alarmism, then isn’t the logical conclusion that it probably doesn’t exist? After all, they’re the experts.

It is clear to me that essentially there is an ideological war raging. In one camp we have those that believe that economic development will continue to bring human progress, including solutions to sustainability. In the other camp we have those that believe that economic development will bring ecological ruin and that humanity needs to take a step back. With every war comes the fog of war. It is unfortunate that our leading scientists and scientific institutions are not immune to it.

We who are watching from the sidelines can save ourselves a lot of despair, frustration, disappointment and confusion, if we simply accept this fact.

My conclusion, after spending several months on this, is that Shellenberger does have his biases and blind spots, as we all do – and can be accused of confirmation bias in a number of cases. I still believe we need to tread carefully and show respect for our planet. However, the thrust of his contention stands. I now have less trust in our scientific community and institutions, certainly with regards to environmental issues, than ever.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 07-10-20

A compelling case for an alternative approach

This book presents a compelling case for an alternative pathway to achieving a future that is not just cleaner and cooler but better. This is not climate denialism, only an alternative solution to the problems humanity faces.

One need not and should not take the book as definitive, only suggestive of an alternative energy and development pathway.

What is clear is that clean and abundant energy changes the game for all societies and solves many of our problems. With such a power source, many solutions become viable that were not viable before.

The Climate Problem is really the Energy Problem, and seen in this way, possible solutions become much clearer.

Regardless of your belief about the correct pathway forward, this book is worth reading and consideration. I believe it also paints a future that climate change deniers may be willing to invest in regardless of their skepticism; what's good for the environment can also be good for us as individuals and societies.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-03-20

Must Read for the entire World

This is singularly the most important book I have ever read.
If we could get the politicians and the media to understand what is really going on then maybe we can work out how to manage the problem of energy sustainability.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pieter
  • 07-20-20

A must read

Shellenberger makes a thoughtful and compelling argument why alarmism is undermining the efforts of environmentalism.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-09-20

Brilliant

Much better than the title suggests. A well reasoned and compassionate reflection on the environment movement from someone who has lived and breathed it for 30 years. The relationship between petroleum interests and renewables was the most insightful part for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gavin
  • 07-08-20

Common sense at last!

Media please read. Parents please read. A prosperous world for all. Not spin and bullshit. We can do this.

1 person found this helpful