The San Francisco Chronicle just ran a double review by Robert Collier, a visiting scholar at the Center for Environmental Public Policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. The review ends pointedly:
[T]he arguments of Nordhaus and Shellenberger attain an intellectual pretense that could almost pass for brilliant if their urgings weren’t so patently empty. The closing chapter calls for “greatness,” but, like the rest of the book, it offers little in the way of substantive proposals to back up its rhetorical thunder.
Perhaps that’s for their next book. Or perhaps real solutions, rather than pretentious sniping, are not the authors’ purpose. Nordhaus and Shellenberger, like Lomborg, will get plenty of attention in Washington from those who want to preserve the status quo. But for those who recognize the urgent need to transform the national and world economies and save the planet as we know it, they are ultimately irrelevant.
Yes, I suppose I am biased because the author takes up my “delayer” language and cites this blog in a follow-up blog post:
In my review of Break Through, I made clear that Nordhaus and Shellenberger are not global warming deniers. As I mentioned, they are part of a new breed of anti-environmentalist pundits who accept the scientific evidence for global warming. They could be described as global warming delayers — that is, they oppose government regulatory action such as stricter auto fuel-economy standards, and they propose long-term strategies that would delay any near-term action to reduce emissions …
It would be a mistake to conclude that Break Through represents a substantive, useful contribution to public dialogue about what to do next on global warming. Their book devotes only one sole paragraph — yes, one — to details of their energy R&D proposal. The vast majority of the book is essentially a long hit piece, a rambling, disjointed screed against major environmental groups and former Vice President Al Gore. This may be good entertainment for conservatives and political junkies who enjoy that sort of ideological contact sport, but it’s a waste of time for anyone else.
For those with patience for more detail on why the ideas of Nordhaus and Shellenberger don’t stand up to scrutiny, I suggest commentary on the Climate Progress blog here, here, here and here by Joseph Romm, a top Energy Department official during the Clinton administration.