Review of Break Through

Brian Cook

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Editor's Note: The following review of Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus' new book Break Through is by In These Times' National Political Web Reporter Megan Tady.Strutting My Stuff By Megan TadySo I may want a job working with the “bad boys of environmentalism”-- Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger-- the duo who has single-handedly given the mainstream environmental movement chronic heartburn for the last five years. Lucky for me, they’re hiring.But in order to even be considered for the post, I need to strut my stuff. The pair has asked applicants to write a “funny and smart” review of their new book, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility and post it on a blog. As a journalist committed to transparency the way Cheney clings to secrecy, I’ll give this warning to my dear readers:“What you are about to read was written at the behest of my future employers, who I am trying to impress. Fortunately, the following would be true even if I wasn’t trying to score a job. Children and the faint of heart should cover their mouths—I just want them to be quiet.”This fall, Nordhaus and Shellenberger riled the environmental community for the umpteenth time when they broke out Break Through. The basic premise of the book is that the only way to truly reverse or stop climate change is a massive public investment in clean-energy technologies. They argue that America should be pushing for more economic development, not less.Of course, to the mainstream environmental movement, obsessed with limiting economic growth, this is Judas talking. Environmentalists have long espoused that fighting climate change can only come in three colors: capping greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the cost of dirty energy, and reducing personal consumption.Before we jump to the present frenzy, let’s discuss how Nordhaus and Shellenberger came to be the foremost hunter of the environmental dinosaur. In 2003, I was working as an intern for Yes! Magazine and an article about Nordhaus and Shellenberger’s new

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Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
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