It's just not the end of the world. It's not even our most serious environmental problem. I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.
But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as expert reviewer of its next assessment report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.
Here are some facts few people know:
Humans are not causing a "sixth mass extinction"
The Amazon is not "the lungs of the world"
Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
Fires have declined 25 percent around the world since 2003
The amount of land we use for meat—humankind's biggest use of land—has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
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
Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s
The Netherlands became rich, not poor while adapting to life below sea level