In his new book, Patrick Allitt argues that the history of American environmentalism is filled with repeated alarms that later turned out to be false.
“Denier!” It has become the epithet of choice among climate change activists to malign those who dissent from the prevailing consensus Patrick Allitt, author of A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism. The term, inherently political, is almost exclusively limited to two groups of people: Holocaust deniers and climate change skeptics. When used against the latter group, the implication is that questioning the accuracy of a scientific study is like questioning the historical reality that Nazis murdered 6 million Jews. Is the position of a climate change skeptic as meritless as someone who denies a well-documented genocide?
Patrick Allitt, a professor of environmental history at Emory University, is of the position that the response to climate change has been disproportionate to the scope of the problem. Is he a denier, as his detractors would suggest? No, Allitt insists. He says he believes in the overwhelming array of evidence that shows that the climate is changing and that this has serious implications. Where Allitt departs from the herd is that he does not believe climate change is catastrophic; rather, he believes that the benefits of industrialization outweigh the perceived harms of climate change.