A speech given at Yale! Some rational ideas for our green friends. Even their allies are beginning to wonder.
Last week Breakthrough co-founders Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus returned to Yale University for a retrospective on their seminal 2004 essay, "The Death of Environmentalism." In their speech they argued that the critical work of rethinking green politics was cut short by fantasies about green jobs and "An Inconvenient Truth." The latter backfired -- more Americans started to believe news of global warming was being exaggerated after the movie came out -- the former made false promises that could not be realized by cap and trade. What is an earnest green who cares about global warming to do now? In this speech, Nordhaus and Shellenberger reflect on what went so badly awry, and offer 12 Theses for a post-environmental approach to climate change.
by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger
It is a great pleasure to be here at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for this retrospective on "The Death of Environmentalism." In early 2005 Yale invited us to debate that essay, and since then the School has continued to demonstrate a genuine interest in what our friend and colleague Peter Teague has taken to calling ecological innovation. You train your students to ask hard questions -- we saw this first hand in 2010 Breakthrough Fellow and Yale School Masters candidate David Mitchell -- and your flagship publication, Yale360, is publishing some of the most interesting green thinkers today. We are grateful once again for this opportunity to reflect on the nearly seven years since we wrote our essay, and make some new arguments about what the green movement must do now.