To conclude the discussion of the polemics generated by the work of Bjørn Lomborg, in this article Jacques Theys, former scientific head of the French Institute of the Environment, argues that the success of the book The Skeptical Environmentalist reflects the genuine malaise affecting environmental issues for almost a decade.
Jacques Theys stresses, first, that this book - quite apart from the fact that it fails to "demystify" the alarmist studies by militant environmentalists because Lomborg is himself too biased by his own blind enthusiasm for market forces - has a very static vision of the environment. Far from being forward-looking, it confirms a trend that has been latent for some years in which the approach taken to environmental issues is that of the late 1970s, as if the aims could not change over time.
Jacques Theys then argues that the unexpected success of this book - plenty of others have expressed similar views without attracting as much media attention - is linked to a certain shift in public opinion in the industrialized countries towards a dedramatization of environmental concerns.
Finally, he is sorry that the criticisms generated by Lomborg as to the relevance of the statistical indicators available have not led to a review of the way that data about the environment are gathered and information is disseminated, even though the methods are unsatisfactory.