The Stories Michael Shellenberger Tells

Michael Shellenberger wants us to believe environmentalists are impeding our ability to solve environmental problems.

The Stories Michael Shellenberger Tells

Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenberger. Harper. 432 pages.

MICHAEL SHELLENBERGER WANTS US to believe environmentalists are impeding our ability to solve environmental problems. This has long been the position of Bay Area ecomodernists, who argue that technology and growth, not limits, will save the planet. Now, in his best-selling new book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, Shellenberger goes further, claiming that climate change and species extinction are not terribly threatening anyway. Lest we infer that this means environmentalists are off the hook, since the problems they’re preventing from being solved aren’t even that dire, Shellenberger tells us that poverty is actually our most urgent threat, and environmentalists, by blocking industry and artificial technologies, are working to keep the poor forever poor. He is contemptuous of anti-nuclear activists as well, who fight against what he claims is the only source of energy that is “abundant, reliable, and inexpensive,” and able to “power our high-energy human civilization while reducing humankind’s environmental footprint.” Along with his newest organization, Environmental Progress, he has spent the last four years trying to save nuclear power plants as if they were endangered species.

Shellenberger has a history of anti-green contrarianism. He thrust himself into the limelight in 2004, when he and Ted Nordhaus wrote an essay titled “The Death of Environmentalism.” Thirty-three at the time, Shellenberger was already portraying himself as an environmentalist who had realized that environmentalism’s problem was environmentalism itself. Not just an activist with a history, he was a successful opinion maker whose PR companies had challenged Nike’s labor practices and consulted for the Sierra Club and Ford Foundation. After their confrontational essay made waves, he and Nordhaus co-founded a think tank, the Breakthrough Institute, and another PR firm, American Environics. By 2008 they had published a book [1] that landed them among Time’s 32 “heroes of the environment” alongside the likes of Van Jones and Alice Waters. Their position was that if environmentalists want to win politically, including with fence-sitting conservatives, they have to invent and tell better stories. The story Shellenberger has stuck with is that the things environmentalists resist — nuclear, GMOs, fracking, industrial agriculture, and so on — are actually good for the environment.

In a 2019 academic article about ecomodernism’s history, Giorgos Kallis and I wondered whether denialists might soon take up these ideas. [2] This is exactly what has happened with the publication in June of Apocalypse Never. Climate change deniers and delayers have eagerly embraced a self-declared environmentalist who says that global warming is real but no big deal. In July, Shellenberger talked about his new book on Fox News [3] and a Heartland Institute podcast[4] Right-wing newspapers [5] and climate “truther” websites [6] praised it. When Forbes took down Shellenberger’s provocative piece plugging Apocalypse Never — an “apology” for the “climate scare” on behalf of environmentalists (whom he’s denounced since 2004) — because it violated their policy against self-promotion, Shellenberger tweeted on June 29 that he was censored. [7] The Daily Wire, Quillette, and Breitbart quickly published all or part of the article. [8] Conservative media can’t get enough of this story: the born-again whistleblower bashing scientists and environmentalists who want to cancel him for it. [9]


Many scientists and environmentalists are disowning Shellenberger, but it’s because he plays fast and loose with the facts. In his promotional article, in between trying to apologize for the actions of an entire movement he disavowed 16 years ago, Shellenberger includes bullet-point lists of bold claims such as “Climate change is not making natural disasters worse” and “Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003.” [10] Specialists pounced on these assertions. Seven experts fact-checked the article and deemed its credibility “low.” [11] Others, myself included[12] posted point-by-point evaluations of Shellenberger’s claims on blogs and social media, [13] finding that the “op-ad” presented a combination of truths, half-truths, cherry-picked facts, and misleading statements. [14] For example, he claims, “The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California,” when really both the increase in burnable material and the hotter, drier conditions brought by climate change have contributed to making fires more frequent and severe. [15] Contrary to what he implies, the global area burned by fires has decreased 25 percent despite climate change mainly because people have converted fire-prone savannas to farms. [16] If we were to pave forests too, there would be nothing left to burn.

The book itself is well written, with more nuance than the promo piece. This said, it is full of moral condemnations of movement leaders and generic greenies alike. It presents environmentalism as a nature-worshipping religion that has devolved into fanaticism about the apocalypse. Environmentalists find existential meaning in the idea of apocalypse, Shellenberger claims, and therefore reject obvious solutions. He writes,

When we hear activists, journalists, IPCC scientists, and others claim climate change will be apocalyptic unless we make immediate, radical changes, including massive reductions in energy consumption, we might consider whether they are motivated by love for humanity or something closer to its opposite.

His factual arguments often miss the point environmentalists are making. He argues, for instance, that humans are not causing a sixth mass extinction, and then leaps — illogically — to the conclusion that extinction is thus hardly a problem. In reality, humans are causing extinctions at a hundred times the background rate, [17] but of course we cannot know whether three-quarters of species on earth will eventually disappear as in previous mass extinctions. That depends on how bad climate change gets. Plenty of scientists and environmentalists are skeptical that a sixth mass extinction is occurring and yet are still alarmed by biodiversity loss. Shellenberger doesn’t address them, only the strawman he’s created.

In the introduction, he assures us that “[e]very fact, claim, and argument in this book is based on the best available science, including as assessed by the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and other scientific bodies.” But Shellenberger grants authority, or not, to scientific bodies based on whether their conclusions correspond to his favored arguments. For instance, he presents data on species extinction from two sources. The first is from what he refers to as “something called the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES),” which finds high rates of species extinction. In fact, it is the UN body of scientists responsible for global biodiversity equivalent to the IPCC for climate change. And the second is from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which finds lower extinction rates. He calls it the “the principal scientific organization studying species, extinctions, and biodiversity.”

The same institution can be cast one moment as trustworthy and the next as dubious depending on what suits his narrative. He treats the word of the “prestigious” IPCC as truth when noting that “none of the IPCC reports contain a single apocalyptic scenario.” But when the IPCC’s public communications sound the climate alarm, he accuses it of “publishing apocalyptic summaries and press releases” that don’t represent the science. The IPCC warns of runaway climate change, even though its modeling scenarios do not forecast it, because the climate might cross an impossible-to-predict threshold beyond which global heating becomes a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Shellenberger writes that uncertainty and complexity “make many tipping point scenarios unscientific,” but scientists say uncertainty and complexity make tipping points difficult to model [18] yet important to take seriously. [19]

Some of Shellenberger’s ecomodernist friends are now distancing themselves. Renowned climate scientist Kerry Emanuel, who sits on the board of Shellenberger’s nuclear advocacy organization, Environmental Progress, has expressed concern about his imprecisions. “For example,” said Emanuel to the Guardian in July, “he states ‘climate change is not making natural disasters worse’ when there is plenty of evidence that it is.” [20] Climate change is increasing the incidence and strength of droughts, storms, and heatwaves, [21] yet those events are killing fewer people because our defenses and responses have improved. [22] “The most we can say about climate disasters,” writes Emmanuel, “is that they have not (yet) actually reversed this trend.” [23] Better warnings, higher seawalls, and advanced medical care have fended off the worst effects of the first degree of warming, but that does not mean that wealth will automatically allow us to weather the weather wrought by two, three, or four degrees Celsius.

Fellow ecomodernists were already parting ways with Shellenberger before Apocalypse Never. Shortly after Nordhaus and Shellenberger orchestrated the publication of An Ecomodernist Manifesto [24] in 2015, the duo split over differences in vision. Shellenberger left the Breakthrough Institute and started his pro-nuclear organization. In 2017, Nordhaus expressed worry about a “nuclear zealot wing” threatening to turn ecomodernism into a “nuclear cargo cult.” [25] Undeterred, Shellenberger applauded when the Trump administration announced subsidies for coal and nuclear power together. [26] In 2018, he ran for governor of California as a Democrat and got 0.5 percent of the vote. Since then he has written his opinions on environmental issues for increasingly right-wing audiences. In the process of becoming laser-focused on promoting nuclear energy, he turned against renewables, and he now calls them “unreliables.” [27]

His derisive tone turns maniacal in his chapter on nuclear power. “As for nuclear waste,” he writes, “it is the best and safest kind of waste produced from electricity production. It has never hurt anyone and there is no reason to think it ever will.” Up to this point, he had been providing references for his factual claims, but here there is no superscript number corresponding to an endnote. Radioactive wastes from nuclear reactors are in fact incredibly dangerous. The burning question is whether humans can keep these substances sealed from all life forms for tens of thousands of years — longer than written language or civilization have existed. Instead of paying attention to the evidence, as he promised to do, he simply asserts the rightness of his opinion: “Only nuclear can accommodate the rising energy consumption that will be driven by the need for things like fertilizer production, fish farming, and factory farming — all of which are highly beneficial to both people and the natural environment.” He then goes on to tell us, twice, that nuclear power plants produce “zero pollution” (which no energy source does) and that “nuclear weapons were created to prevent war and end war, and that is all they have been used for and all they will ever be good for.”

Even Shellenberger’s seemingly innocuous contentions turn out to be questionable. To refute the possibility that terrorists could attack a nuclear power plant or steal material for bomb-making, he writes, “In the real world, the terrorists would be gunned down before getting through the nuclear plant’s entrance.” Yet when US Army special forces carried out simulated attacks on nuke plants in the 1990s, nearly half of their attempts were successful enough to reveal potentially disastrous vulnerabilities. [28] Mock terrorists have stolen plutonium from US weapons complexes. [29] In the 21st century, activists have breached nuclear facilities 12 times, [30] including an 82-year-old nun who sprayed pacifist graffiti on a building in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that holds enough highly enriched uranium to make thousands of bombs. [31] Shellenberger surely knows these things.

“Few things make one feel more immortal than saving the life of a nuclear plant,” he continues, in the same rapturous vein, in the epilogue to his book. Building the foundations of humanity’s high-energy future is his alternative to stirring up panic about the apocalypse. In place of environmentalism, he urges us to “re-embrace humanism, which affirms humankind’s specialness.” Humanism, he writes, “secularized the Judeo-Christian concept that humans were chosen by God to have dominion over Earth.” Environmentalists, by contrast, “reject the view that humans have, or should have, dominion, or control, over Earth.”

This is revealing. Shellenberger argues that climate change is overblown by alarmists and that “the real problem is not extinction but rather the decline in animal populations and their overall habitat.” If humans are the chosen kings of the earth, then it follows that we are justified in pursuing economic development for all people while maintaining acceptable populations of animals we love like gorillas and sea turtles. But if humans aren't so special then every extinction matters. And as scientists discover more and more about the ways that nonhuman beings think, feel, learn, remember, communicate, and care for each other, these other beings not only matter that much more but humans are likely to feel ever less exceptional. The hardcore environmentalists caricatured by Shellenberger might question humanity’s authority to extinguish a plant deemed ugly or a never-before-studied fungus in the name of progress.

“As environmental humanists,” he intones, “we must ground ourselves first in our commitment to the transcendent moral purpose of universal human flourishing and environmental progress, and then in rationality.” The order here matters, because scientific rationality gives us little reason to believe that universal human flourishing is more important than, say, universal milkweed flourishing. That’s okay, though. Moral principles or political goals must precede methods of pursuing them. Science can’t tell us what to value.

But I’m not convinced that environmentalists fully disagree with Shellenberger’s environmental humanism. Even among activists who fantasize about ecological catastrophe or civilizational collapse, many would get on board with universal human flourishing, environmental progress, and rationality. Many of them in fact root their dire warnings in precisely these principles: science tells us we must yell about looming doom in order to spark a change of course for the good of all people and of nature at large. Shellenberger used to argue that such scare tactics are bad communications strategy. [32] In this new book, he picks and chooses studies to defend his claim that alarmism is scientifically baseless, in support of a portrayal of environmentalists as the fearmongering missionaries of a dangerous death cult. This is not just wrong; it digs deeper divisions, unnecessarily.

Controversy gets attention. Shellenberger is aware; he’s a PR guy. “[O]n a bunch of these things, my view is not very interesting because I probably just agree with the mainstream environmental view,” he admitted in an interview about Apocalypse Never. “I don't usually write about things where my opinion is in the majority.” [33] As a veteran opinion maker, he also knows that he needs to establish common ground with his audience to be persuasive. Troublingly, he seems more concerned with showing climate-denying conservatives clever new ways to own the libs than with convincing environmentalists of anything. It’s little solace that he might talk a few denialists into accepting climate change if he does so by assuring them that suppressing environmentalism is all the social change that’s needed. While he is right that dogmatic environmentalism can alienate people, his tactics, which include hurling insults at Greta Thunberg, Bill McKibben, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Greenpeace, are assuredly not helping the situation.

Elsewhere in his book he offers another reason, beyond their need for existential meaning, for why environmentalists reject his solutions to environmental problems: they revere natural things, when in fact artificial ones are better for the environment. This, for me, is his central truth claim. Industrial farming, he argues, spares land compared to organic. Nuclear is denser and safer than “unreliables” like wind and solar. Coal and oil save forests from use as wood fuel or charcoal. Plastics replace tortoise shells, ivory, and other materials whose acquisition requires killing animals. Shellenberger acknowledges that separating “natural” from “artificial” is an artificial, if you will, distinction, but he says natural means old things and artificial new ones. I notice that he generally uses artificial to describe mined materials and natural to describe harvested beings. He prefers to concentrate human activity in mines, cities, and factory farms rather than interacting more lightly with larger areas.

He writes, “We save nature by not using it, and we avoid using it by switching to artificial substitutes” — and by intensifying land use. These are ecomodernism’s two strategies for what they call “sparing” nature: technological substitution and land-use intensification. Both require using more energy. Burning fuel replaces photosynthesis. Ecological economists like me agree with ecomodernists that material wealth depends on energy use. I, too, am skeptical of environmentalist claims that increasing efficiency can decouple energy from wealth, or that solar panels and wind turbines alone can power a world where everyone lives like Americans do today. Unlike most ecomodernists, however, ecological economists tend to doubt that substitution and intensification will reverse climate breakdown or biodiversity loss for the simple reason that they spark growth, which comes with more material extraction and carbon emissions. Shellenberger, for his part, seems to recognize this reality: maybe we can save certain populations of wild animals by getting our fuel from fracking instead of forests, but that will, if anything, accelerate climate change. So Shellenberger declares wildlife conservation more important than climate mitigation.

It’s a convenient workaround to a contradiction at the heart of ecomodernism. Substitution and intensification increase energy use and supposedly spare nature. But using more energy cannot mean transforming less nature because energy transforms nature. That’s what it does. When ecomodernists propose saving nature by not using it, they really mean thoroughly dominating small swaths of sacrificed space instead of spreading impacts out. They mean using minerals and fossil fuels instead of plants and animals. In practice, they often mean pushing impacts elsewhere. Vermont, where I live, has reforested over the last century, but only because much of our food now grows in enormous fields out west. Every human activity uses nature. Industrialization separates us from our relationships with the living world, and more often than not this means pushing concentrated pollution and degradation toward the environments where poor and oppressed people live.

Ecomodernists think that not using nature — or, rather, using nature that’s out of sight — is not just the best way to care for it but also the best way to care about it. Shellenberger states, “It was only after humans started living in cities, and growing wealthier, that they started to worry about nature for nature’s sake.” What about worrying about nature for our own sake, because we rely on it? What about caring for our relationships with the rest of the mesh of existence because those relationships themselves matter? The world’s rural poor consume little and, in many places, they fiercely defend their environments from destruction by industry and governments. [34] The idea that they don’t worry about nature is plain wrong.

“Indigenous people reportedly treated whales with reverence,” Shellenberger acknowledges. (That he refers to Indigenous people in the past tense is interesting.) Two pages later: “Whatever reverence some traditions have for whales, humans around the world have mostly treated them as prey and sought to eat them, not worship them,” as if eating and worshipping were mutually exclusive. He continues, “The Inuits [sic] may have freed beached whales but they also survived by hunting them.” I’m pretty sure the Inuit free beached whales because they hunt them for subsistence. Not only is it possible to care for and about a being you eat, but to depend on other beings motivates you to protect them.

Industrialization and growth have coincided with ever greater environmental pressures, which is obviously not a coincidence. Accelerating these processes, as Shellenberger proposes, is risky to say the least. “Industrial modernity for all” certainly won’t save the planet. But is it the key to universal human flourishing? “Machines liberate women from drudgery,” Shellenberger proclaims, erasing the struggles of generations of feminists and the reality that some machines subjugate them. The sweatshops he contested as a young activist are a case in point. In this book, in a chapter titled “Sweatshops Save the Planet,” he celebrates them as sites of economic opportunity. In a similar vein, he argues that economic growth is good for women, queer people, and racial and religious minorities because equal rights and toleration coincide with growth. One might deduce that fights for equality and emancipation depend mostly on making sure all countries keep getting richer and every household has an electric washer and dryer.

Okay, but why are some countries already rich while others are not? In the first chapter, Shellenberger writes that the Congo is dysfunctional because it “is a victim of geography, colonialism, and terrible postcolonial governments.” After that, the most we get on this question is, “Higher temperatures reduce labor productivity, which helps explain why nations in tropical climates are less developed than nations in temperate ones. It is simply too hot to work for much of the day.” Step aside colonial theft, violence, and unequal exchange, the real reason some countries are poor is bad weather for working. At times we are led to believe that everyone would be affluent by now if the construction of mega-dams and coal-fired power plants weren’t impeded by environmentalists (often poor women of color protecting their homes in real life, but always meddling elites from wealthy countries in Shellenberger’s narrative).


It’s too bad Shellenberger wrote Apocalypse Never the way he did. Tucked away in his tirade are some challenging truths for environmentalists to reckon with. Nuclear reactors do basically what coal-fired power plants do except with negligible carbon emissions and little air pollution. Fewer people are dying from natural disasters even as climate change is increasing their number and potency, and that’s largely because we’re wealthier. Factory farming and fertilizer have in this century allowed the global area dedicated to pasture, humanity’s biggest use of land by far, to shrink by the size of Chile. Progress toward social justice has involved extending high levels of material consumption to more people. Shellenberger makes these points easier to dismiss than they should be by exaggerating them and ignoring evidence that complicates them — such as the dangers of nuclear waste and weapons, the possibility of catastrophic climate change, the poisoning of environments by industrial agriculture, or the ecological consequences of growth.

My first draft of this review was all about how Shellenberger is bad and wrong. In my work analyzing ecomodernism, it’s tempting at times to take the opposite position, jump on every error, call out each contradiction, and depict its proponents in the worst possible way, an equal and opposite reaction to Shellenberger’s treatment of environmentalists. And it turns out that if we cherry-pick the science to emphasize one side of the story, it’s possible to do just that. But reality is so much more interesting and complicated. The world doesn’t fit neatly into pre-cooked narratives. Life on earth is messy, wrought with contradictions. Truth is more both-and than either-or. The future is unknowable.

And so it is for these reasons that I’ll take an ecological worldview and a politics of self-limitation over Shellenberger’s vision. The other day my friend Aaron Vansintjan, drawing on the late Murray Bookchin, tweeted, “The view that because we, as human beings, are so special we can, and should, have the right to dominate nature is rooted in the same logic that justifies colonialism, patriarchy, and racism.” [35] Men in power have rationalized all those forms of domination by claiming that they facilitate economic development, which is purportedly great for people and nature. Sound familiar?


Sam Bliss is a PhD candidate in natural resources at the University of Vermont.


[1] Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility, First Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007).

[2] Giorgos Kallis and Sam Bliss, “Post-Environmentalism: Origins and Evolution of a Strange Idea,” Journal of Political Ecology 26, no. 1 (August 23, 2019): 466–485,

[3] See Michael Schellenberger on Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News, 2020,

[4] Donny Kendal, Isaac Orr, and Jim Lakely, Apocalypse Never with Michael Shellenberger, Podcast, vol. 250, In The Tank (Heartland Institute, 2020),

[5] John Tierney, “‘Apocalypse Never’ Review: False Gods for Lost Souls,” Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2020, sec. Arts,; Tom Leonard, “Eco-Warrior Brands Going Veggie Pointless and Mass Species Loss a Myth,” The Daily Mail, July 22, 2020, sec. News,

[6] Peter Murphy, “Book Review: ‘Apocalypse Never’ by Michael Shellenberger,” CFACT (blog), June 29, 2020,

[7] Michael Shellenberger, “Forbes Has Censored My Article. I Have Reposted It Here: Https://T.Co/PPcd2DrinO,” Twitter, @ShellenbergerMD (blog), June 29, 2020,

[8] You can read the article here: Michael Shellenberger, “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare,” Quillette, June 30, 2020,

[9] Multiple conservative outlets ran pieces saying, contrary to the official statement from Forbes, that Shellenberger’s article being retracted meant that had been “cancelled”; see for example John Robson, “Forbes Falls to Cancel Culture as It Erases Environmentalist’s Mea Culpa,” National Post, June 30, 2020,

[10] Shellenberger, “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare.”

[11] Nikki Forrester, “Article by Michael Shellenberger Mixes Accurate and Inaccurate Claims in Support of a Misleading and Overly Simplistic Argumentation about Climate Change,” Climate Feedback (blog), July 6, 2020,

[12] Sam Bliss, “Mike Shellenberger’s New Book Apocalypse Never Is an Amazon Bestseller. @g_kallis and I Have Spent 5 Years Reviewing the Science around the Ecomodernist Ideas Presented and Found That They Are Often Wrong. Here Is Why. THREAD.,” Twitter, @ii_sambliss (blog), July 2, 2020,

[13] See for example Michael Tobis, “Shellenberger’s Op-Ad,” RealClimate (blog), July 9, 2020,

[14] Alex Kasprak, “Shellenberger’s Optimistic, Viral Take on Climate Future Challenged by Scientists He Cites,” Snopes, August 4, 2020,

[15] Nicky Phillips, “Climate Change Made Australia’s Devastating Fire Season 30% More Likely,” Nature, March 4, 2020,

[16] N. Andela et al., “A Human-Driven Decline in Global Burned Area,” Science 356, no. 6345 (June 30, 2017): 1356–1362,

[17] Gerardo Ceballos et al., “Accelerated Modern Human–Induced Species Losses: Entering the Sixth Mass Extinction,” Science Advances 1, no. 5 (June 1, 2015): e1400253,

[18] Joan Dudney and Katharine N. Suding, “The Elusive Search for Tipping Points,” Nature Ecology & Evolution, August 17, 2020, 1–2,

[19] This point was made in Peter H. Gleick, “Book Review: Bad Science and Bad Arguments Abound in ‘Apocalypse Never’ by Michael Shellenberger,” Yale Climate Connections, July 15, 2020,

[20] Quoted in Graham Readfearn, “The Environmentalist’s Apology: How Michael Shellenberger Unsettled Some of His Prominent Supporters,” The Guardian, July 3, 2020, sec. Environment,

[21] Peter Stott, “How Climate Change Affects Extreme Weather Events,” Science 352, no. 6293 (June 24, 2016): 1517–18,

[22] Roger A. Pielke Jr., The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change (Tempe, Arizona: Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, 2014),

[23] Bud Ward and Kerry Emanuel, “MIT Climate Scientist Kerry Emanuel on Energy and Shellenberger’s ‘Apocalypse,’” Yale Climate Connections (blog), July 29, 2020,

[24] John Asafu-Adjaye et al., “An Ecomodernist Manifesto,” April 2015,

[25] Ted Nordhaus, “Debate Is All to the Good. but Beware Turning Ecomodernism into a Nuclear Cargo Cult...,” Tweet, @TedNordhaus (blog), December 8, 2017,

[26] Michael Shellenberger, “How Trump’s Nuke Bailout May Help America Meet Paris Climate Commitments,” Forbes, June 6, 2018,

[27] See Michael Shellenberger, “Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet,” Quillette (blog), February 27, 2019,

[28] Elizabeth Kolbert, “Indian Point Blank,” The New Yorker, February 24, 2003,

[29] Danielle Brian and Peter Stockton, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security At Risk” (Project On Government Oversight, October 1, 2001),

[30] Gary A. Ackerman and James Halverson, “Attacking Nuclear Facilities: Hype or Genuine Threat?,” in Nuclear Terrorism: Countering the Threat, ed. Brecht Volders and Tom Sauer (New York: Routledge, 2016).

[31] Matthew L. Wald and William J. Broad, “Pacifists Who Broke Into Nuclear Complex Due in Court,” The New York Times, August 7, 2012, sec. U.S.,

[32] Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, “Global Warming Scare Tactics,” The New York Times, April 8, 2014, sec. Opinion,

[33] Amy Westervelt, “Apocalypse Maybe: Michael Shellenberger’s Book and the Problem with Either/Or Arguments on Climate,” Drilled News, July 16, 2020,

[34] Joan Martínez-Alier, The Environmentalism of the Poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation (Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2002).

[35] Aaron Vansintjan, “The View That Because We, as Human Beings, Are so Special We Can, and Should, Have the Right to Dominate Nature Is Rooted in the Same Logic That Justifies Colonialism, Patriarchy, and Racism.,” Tweet, @a_vansi (blog), August 18, 2020,

LARB Contributor

Sam Bliss is a PhD candidate in natural resources at the University of Vermont.


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