If climate change is worsening disasters, high-intensity fires, & mass extinction (ie 75% species) then why

- are disaster deaths at their lowest in 120 years?

- do high-intensity fires become low-intensity ones in well-managed forests?

- are 73% of species *not* threatened?
I have been accused of being wrong about disasters, fires, and extinctions, and of course I might be: I have been wrong before. More than once. And I am human.

But when I have been shown to be wrong, I have not only admitted it, I have explained why & how I was wrong, in detail.
I was wrong about nuclear energy. I thought we didn't need it. I thought the waste was a huge problem. I thought many died from nuclear energy accidents.

I investigated why I was so wrong & spoke publicly about it:

I was wrong about renewables. I thought they would save the world from climate change. I thought they harmonized us with nature. I thought they were cheap.

I sought to understand why I was so wrong, and spoke publicly about it

I thought climate change was the world's biggest environmental problem, that the Amazon was the lungs of the world, that people's lives were better working on farms than in factories, and many other common myths

I was wrong, and wrote about them

The experience of being wrong is humiliating & I hate it

But being wrong has also taught me to be more skeptical & to avoid rushing to judgement

Do I always do so? Of course not. Just 6 days ago I was wrong

But I immediately admitted it & apologized

Does that mean you should trust what I say? Of course not!

Please *don't* take my word for anything. Don't take anyone's. Be skeptical. Look at sources. Ask hard questions.

Even if you think someone has been right about some things doesn't mean they're right about everything
There's a reason I write books. They give you the time to really look at the evidence, and change your mind privately, when it is less humiliating to do so. I interviewed over 150 people for my forthcoming book, about half of them credentialed "experts," & read everything I could
I consider it an honor and privilege to write books, and take the responsibility extremely seriously. I try to take my tweets seriously, too, but there are many more barriers & much more time between researching/thinking/writing and publishing a book than there is tweeting.
I stand by what's in Apocalypse Never, and I believe the book has held up to scrutiny.

Where we made errors, we corrected them:


Where we were accused of being wrong, we responded with evidence:

We even corrected the book for facts that changed *after* we had gone to press

Ten days after it was published, IUCN changed its classification of a whale species from "endangered" to critically endangered

In my late 20s & early 30s I did activist publicity for various progressive, environmental, & social justice causes

I wrote about these efforts in Apocalypse Never & in my forthcoming book

I quit that work after I lost confidence in the people I was working for
I am still proud of much of the work I did back then, but when and where I have changed my mind, I have explained, at length, in my writings and talks, why & how I was wrong

I promise to keep doing so by presenting the best available evidence:


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More from @ShellenbergerMD

21 Jul
Year of Flood in China : Death Toll

1954: 30,000
1911: 100,000
1935: 145,000
1887: 1,000,000
1931: 2,000,000

Source: Angus Gunn, Encyclopedia of Disasters, 2007 Image
But weren't past floods due to poverty whereas today's floods are due to excess rainfall?

No. "Whilst the roots of the 1931 flood lay in pattern of environmental history, the proximate cause of the disaster was extremely high levels of precipitation."

Does that mean climate change isn't playing a role in China's floods? No. But its role has to be considered in context of urbanization, better infrastructure, and declining deaths and damages

Read 9 tweets
19 Jul
People say climate change caused the floods in Europe but the main reason for them was the failure of warning systems, dams, and the public's response.

In truth, deaths & damage from flooding in Europe declined dramatically over last 150 years

The floods in Europe that killed over 150 people in recent days were a result of climate change, many people say. “Deadly Floods Show World Unprepared to Cope with Extreme Weather,” blared the headline of The New York Times.

“‘No One Is Safe.’” Said a German climate activist, “This is the climate crisis unravelling in one of the richest parts of the world.” The country’s interior minister agreed. "This is a consequence of climate change," he said.
Read 37 tweets
14 Jul
“There are a lot of myths around the Portuguese model,” said the architect of its drug program.

The main one, he said, is that “we just liberalized [drugs], that 'You can do whatever you want. You have all the room to develop the behavior you wish.’ That’s not the case."
"Using drugs is still prohibited. There’s a clear sign of disapproval from our society. We do not incentivize or normalize the use of drugs.”

“If somebody was injecting heroin in public in Portugal,” I asked, “what would happen to them?”

“They would be arrested.”
We were on Zoom and I had a shocked look on my face.
“Yes!” he said. “You would sent to the police station. The substances would be apprehended. And if he or she had more than the amount for personal use for 10 days, there would be criminal penalties."
Read 6 tweets
14 Jul
Drug deaths skyrocketed to 93,000 deaths in 2020

Increased from 72,000 deaths in 2019

Drug abuse is the biggest problem in America

We need to wake up to the crisis and take strong action

In the late 1990s I advocated for drug decriminalization, harm reduction, and liberalized drug laws

I thought it would result in people getting the help they needed — treatment rather than prison

I was wrong. The policies had some benefits but also contributed to rising deaths
Over the last several years I have tried to understand what we got wrong and how to make it right

I have recently published a series of articles on the topic, and in October, HarperCollins will publish a book by me on the topic

Read 10 tweets
13 Jul
New study finds that, of the people released from jail before trial in San Francisco, half committed new crimes and 1 out of 6 committed a violent crime

"San Francisco’s observed safety rate is substantially lower than local & national validated rates"

I, like many people, have long liked the idea of pre-trial diversion, for some crimes. Why hold people in jail at great cost to taxpayer? Few will re-offend, I thought.

That assumption turned out to be wrong.
“Nobody can look at this report and say we’re doing great. It validates the experience that people in San Francisco are feeling when they’re concerned about crime,” said SF Supervisor @SupStefani

She was rightly skeptical about previous (wrong) reports of low recidivism rates.
Read 9 tweets
11 Jul
“People wonder how we made it through the heat wave of 2006. The answer is we had San Onofre [nuclear plant] and a number of other plants totaling thousands of megawatts not there today.” - California electricity grid manager, 2020

“For years we pointed out that there was inadequate supply after electricity from solar has left the peak. We have indicated that procurement needed to be fixed. We have told regulators over and over that more should be contracted for. That was rebuffed. And here we are”
Despite the on-going energy crisis created by shutting down a nuclear plant that generated power for 3M Californians, Gov @GavinNewsom is moving ahead with plans to shut down another nuclear plant that provides electricity for 3M Californians

Read 9 tweets

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