CMD superman logo.jpg SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy,

depends on donations from people like you!

Click here to make a tax-deductable contribution.

Bjorn Lomborg

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

Bjorn lomborg.jpg

Bjorn Lomborg is associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark; his books have been "hugely influential in providing cover to politicians, climate-change deniers, and corporations that don't want any part of controls on greenhouse emissions".[1]

Lomborg is not a climate scientist or economist and has published little or no peer-reviewed research on environmental or climate policy. His extensive and extensively documented[2],[3] errors and misrepresentations, which are aimed at a lay audience, "follow a general pattern"[2] of minimizing the need to cut carbon emissions.

Essential argument and rebuttal

Lomborg's essential argument is that we should be directing our resources toward fighting poverty now, rather than acting now to lessen future climate change, since "[the future] larger economy will allow future generations to deal with an exacerbated climate problem"[4]. But this argument ignores the likelihood that "if climate change limits economic growth, there is no larger economy, and even if there is a larger economy, it may not be enough to deal with the chaos associated with climate disruption. The Dark Ages in Europe were not nearly as pleasant as Roman times."[4]

2010

Book and film

Lomborg is editor of a 2010 book titled Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits (see "Books" section below).

Cool It, a film about Lomborg and his ideas, was released in November 2010. A box office failure[5], it still has influence:

"A film is a ticket to widespread media attention, far more than even a new book provides. For instance, the movie means that credulous reviewers who don’t follow the energy and climate debate closely will write columns that millions will read...compared to the...hundreds that are flocking to the film. The movie also gives newspapers a ‘reason’ to run more disinformation..."[6]

Op-Ed debunked

Claims made by Lomborg in a November 2010 Op-Ed in the Washington Post[7] were subsequently debunked by the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, "a scientist-run initiative to link top climate scientists with the media".[8]

Announced shift in views; little change in bottom line

(for more information on how Lomborg's views have changed, see the section "Shift in views over time" below)

Until 2010, Lomborg used cost-benefit analyses to suggest we should delay climate action until after tending to other environmental or public health problems, and was noted as a leading skeptic on significant climate change action. In Fall 2010 in his new book[9], he switched to supporting immediate action against climate change[10], saying "we all need to start seriously focusing, right now, on the most effective ways to fix global warming". However, his basic prescription hasn't changed, it's still to levy a small tax on carbon emissions to raise funds for energy R&D - but now his proposed CO2 tax is $7/ton not $2, and R&D budget $100 billion/year not 25 - but it's still considered "alarmingly risky" and insufficient to reduce GHG emissions enough.[11]

Lomborg vs. experts on geoengineering

Lomborg also advocates geoengineering, despite the concerns of heavy hitters.

Geoengineering research proponent Ken Caldeira has said "the vision of Lomborg’s Climate Consensus is “a dystopic world out of a science fiction story... Geoengineering is not an alternative to carbon emissions reductions ... If emissions keep going up and up, and you use geoengineering as a way to deal with it, it’s pretty clear the endgame of that process is pretty ugly.”"[9].

Presidential Science and Technology advisor John Holdren has said "The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects."[12].

Joe Romm points out that geoengineering "’solutions’ do nothing to stop the consequences of ocean acidification, which recent studies suggest will be devastating all by itself". and he notes that "a major analysis in Science this year by leading experts on volcanoes and/or climate - Alan Robock, Martin Bunzl, Ben Kravitz, and Georgiy L. Stenchikov - "A Test for Geoengineering?" ... concluded: "Stratospheric geoengineering cannot be tested in the atmosphere without full-scale implementation.""[12]

Background

Lomborg earned his Ph.D. in political science - specifically, game theory - at the University of Copenhagen in 1994.[13]. He got an M.A. in political science in 1991[14] from University of Aarhus, with the thesis "An evolution of Cooperation"; it is unclear whether he has a bachelor's degree.[15].

From 2002 - 2004 he was head of the Environmental Assessment Institute. In 2004, following the Copenhagen Consensus, he resigned the post to return to academia. [16]

Scientific papers

Lomborg's only published work is in "game theory and computer simulations", according to the Skeptical Environmentalist frontispiece. Australian National University academic John Quiggin, writing in the Australian Financial Review in March 2002, pointed out the number of refereed publications Lomborg has produced on statistical or other scientific analysis of environmental issues "is zero".

Shift in views over time

Kåre Fog notes that Lomborg's argument has shifted over time, from:[17],[18]

"1) There is no problem.
[Jan. 1998: "The greenhouse effect is extremely doubtful"[18]]


2) If there is a problem, it is only minor.
[Sept 1998: "There is no doubt that mankind has influenced the CO2 content of the atmosphere and is well on his way to double it. But it is still not clear whether this will lead to severe temperature rises."; Sept 2001: "There is no doubt that mankind has influenced and is still increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and that this will influence temperature. Yet, we need to separate hyperbole from realities..."[18]]
3) If it is not minor, it will pay better to remedy other problems that are even larger. [June 2004: "Copenhagen Consensus...organised by...Bjorn Lomborg...recommended that global governments spend money on combating HIV/AIDS before tackling issues such as climate change."[19]; Aug. 2007: "Doing too much about [climate change] means we are focusing too much effort on climate change and forgetting all the other things that we have a responsibility to deal with, like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and malnutrition. If we spend too much time and resources focusing on climate change, then we do the future a disservice" [20]]
4) If it pays to resolve the climate change problem, this should not be done by reducing CO2 emissions, but rather by adaptation and by applying geo-engineering.
[date/quote/ref needed]
5) If adaptation and geo-engineering is not enough, then [mandated] reductions in CO2 emissions should be very modest, and the main emphasis should be on research to find better alternative energy sources, rather than those that could be implemented right now.
[Oct 2010: Global warming is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" and "a challenge humanity must confront". . . "Investing $100bn annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century." [18]]

These shifting arguments over the years look like a tactical retreat. In every case, the conclusion is ...the best that the fossil fuel industry could obtain..."[17]

Books

2001: The Skeptical Environmentalist

In 2001, Cambridge University Press published an English translation of The Skeptical Environmentalist: measuring the real state of the world. In it Lomborg argued that a statistical analysis of key global environmental indicators revealed that while there were environmental problems they were not as serious as was popularly believed:

The world is not without problems, but on almost all accounts, things are going better and they are likely to continue to do so into the future. The facts and information presented here should give us an opportunity to set free our unproductive worries and allow us to focus on the important issues, so that we may indeed help make an even better world for tomorrow".

In particular, Lomborg argued that while global warming is occurring, projections of its magnitude "are rather unrealistically pessimistic" and that "the typical cure of early and radical fossil fuel cutbacks is way worse than the original affliction and moreover its total impact will not pose a devastating problem for our future".

Uncritical media acceptance

The Skeptical Environmentalist received widespread and largely favourable coverage as a critique of global environmental policies and priorities. Much of the commentary embraced Lomborg's claim that scientists and environmentalists were being unduly pessimistic and making claims that were not based on good science.

The 'lapsed environmentalist' narrative

Routinely, journalists reported that Lomborg had -- before he undertook the research for his book -- been a supporter of Greenpeace. However, Greenpeace has no record of Lomborg ever being actively involved in the organisation. When challenged on this point on ABC Radio National's Earthbeat Lomborg said "I'm a suburban kind of Greenpeace member, your stereotypical person who contributes and nothing else."

Participating in a panel on the Earthbeat program, Dr Tom Burke, a member of the Executive Committee of Green Alliance in the UK and an environmental adviser to Rio Tinto and BP, challenged the suggestion that that made Lomborg an environmentalist: "That doesn't make you an environmentalist Bjorn, I mean that would make me a statistician because I've done some calculations".

Rejection by scientists

Scientific American critique

The extensive and uncritical acceptance of Lomborg's claims prompted a reaction from the scientific community. In January 2002 Scientific American's editor, John Rennie, wrote the preface to a ten page critique written by four specialists. Rennie commented that "the errors described here, however, show that in its purpose of describing the real state of the world, the book is a failure". [21]

When Lomborg reproduced the Scientific American critiques on his website with his responses interleaved, the magazine threatened to sue him for copyright infringement. Lomborg withdrew the file from his website but it was later re-published on the Patrick Moore's website. Scientific American stated that the unauthorised reproduction was damaging its ability to sell copyrighted material, while Moore portrayed Lomborg as being persecuted for his views.

John P. Holdren, author of one of the rebuttal articles in Scientific American, noted:

"Bjørn Lomborg has posted on his Web page a long response to the critiques that appeared in Scientific American of four of the chapters in his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, including my critique of his chapter on energy. No part of my critique escapes rebuttal. Perhaps Lomborg felt obliged to use all of the submissions he received in response to the appeal for help he broadcast to a long e-mail list after the Scientific American critiques appeared. It is instructive that he apparently did not feel he could manage an adequate response by himself. (In this, at least, he was correct. But he could not manage it with help, either.) Just as the book itself betrays the seeming inability of its author to discriminate sensible arguments from nonsensical ones, so also does the posted response to my critique suggest that Lomborg just tossed in, uncritically, whatever replies popped into his head or into his e-mail 'in' box."[21]
"In a "Dear Sir or Madam" broadcast e-mail sent out by Lomborg on December 18, he wrote, inter alia, "Naturally, I plan to write a rebuttal to be put on my web-site. However, I would also love your input to the issues -- maybe you can contest some of the arguments in the SA pieces, alone or together with other academics. Perhaps you have good ideas to counter a specific argument. Perhaps you know of someone else that might be ideal to talk to or get to write a counter-piece."[21]
Schneider on misrepresentation of IPCC

The late Dr. Stephen Schneider, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, criticised Lomborg for inaccurately portraying the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and misrepresenting the Kyoto Protocol. (Schneider is also editor of Climate Change and lead author of several of the IPCC chapters and the IPCC guidance paper on uncertainties).

The IPCC produced a range of six equally ranked paths of climate change spanning an increase in carbon dioxide concentrations from doubling in 2100 to well beyond a tripling in the 22nd century. "Lomborg, however, dismisses all but the lowest of the scenarios," he wrote. [2]

Dr. Schneider also writes "most scientists I know working on these problems are outraged by Lomborg's work and consider it to be faulty and misrepresentative of their published views. In addition to referencing a biased sample of literature that wasn't nearly broad enough, Lomborg used quotes out of context and proved numerous times that he did not fully understand the science behind climate change"[22]

Raven on distortions

Dr Peter Raven, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2002 said of Lomborg: "...he's not an environmental scientist and he doesn't understand the fields that he's talking about so in that case, if you have a point to make and you want to get to that point, which is: everything's fine, everybody's wrong, there is no environmental problem, you just keep making that point. It's like a school exercise or a debating society, which really doesn't take into account the facts". [3]

"Raven said that the success of Lomborg's book 'demonstrates the vulnerability of the scientific process -- which is deliberative and hypothesis driven -- to outright misrepresentation and distortion.'" [4]

The Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty

The concern over Lomborg's misrepresentation of the science was so great that three complaints were lodged with the Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty, which Lomborg describes as "a national review body, with considerable authority". [5]

The committee found "the publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice". [6] They stated "there has been such perversion of the scientific message in the form of systematically biased representation that the objective criteria for upholding scientific dishonesty ... have been met".

In the wake of the decision the conservative Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, requested a review of the work of the Institute for Environmental Valuation (IEV) which Lomborg had been appointed to head in February 2002. [7]

Subsequently, the Danish government appointed a panel of five scientists to evaluate the reports produced by IEV. In August 2003 the committee announced that "the panel must conclude that none of the reports represent scientific work or methods in the traditional scientific sense". [8]

In December 2003, the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (a branch of the government that had appointed Lomborg) repudiated the findings of the Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty, saying its treatment of the case was "dissatisfactory", "deserving criticism" and "emotional" and contained a number of significant errors. [9]. It told the DCSD to reconsider their verdict.[10]

In March 2004, the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty declined to reconsider its verdict against Lomborg. [11]

2007: "Cool It", on climate change

In 2007, Lomborg published the book "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming."

Salon review's criticisms

A Salon.com review was critical of the book's assumptions and conclusions: [12]

Lomborg presents scientific and economic debates as much more settled than they are....
The glaring error in "Cool It," and the one that disqualifies the book from making a serious contribution, is that Lomborg ignores the main concern driving the debate. Incredibly, he never mentions even the possibility that the world might heat up more than 4.7 degrees. Although he claims IPCC science as gospel, in fact the scientific body gives no single "standard" estimate as its official forecast for this century's warming. Instead, the IPCC provides a range of up to 10.5 degrees -- more than double the number on which Lomborg bases his entire argument.

Misleading citations

Sharon Begley of Newsweek noted that "a big reason Lomborg was taken seriously is that both of his books, The Skeptical Environmentalist (in 2001) and Cool It(in 2007), have extensive references, giving a seemingly authoritative source for every one of his controversial assertions" in reviewing Howard Friel's book The Lomborg Deception, which exposes Cool It's citations as consistently misleading.[1],[23]

2010: "Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits"

In 2010, a Lomborg-edited book titled "Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits" was published. Howard Friel said that in this book,

[Lomborg] writes: "The risks of unchecked global warming are now widely acknowledged" and "we have long moved on from any mainstream disagreements about the science of climate change". ...[Yet] Lomborg still argues in this book, as he did in the others, that cost-benefit economics analysis shows that it is prohibitively expensive for the world to sharply reduce CO2 emissions to the extent required by the scientific evidence: "Drastic carbon cuts would be the poorest way to respond to global warming."

...Lomborg does not seriously address the fundamental problem of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the absence of global greenhouse reductions: what will happen to the earth and human civilisation when atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise – essentially unchecked, if we followed Lomborg's recommendations – to 450 parts per million, 550ppm, 700ppm, 800ppm; and when the average global temperature rises by 2C, 3C, and 4C to 7C?

Climate scientists have set 350ppm and a 2C average temperature rise (from 1750 to 2100) as the upper range targets to prevent a global climate disaster[citation needed]. Since we are already at 390ppm and since a 2C plus rise is a near certainty, how does Lomborg's appeal to forgo sharp reductions in CO2 emissions reflect climate science? He argues that there are "smarter solutions to climate change" than a focus on reducing CO2. This is hardly smart: it's insanity.[24]

Lomborg and the Philanthropy Roundtable

In November 2004 Lomborg was the after dinner speaker at a special pre conference environmental meeting ahead of the annual meeting of the Philanthropy Roundtable, the coordinating committee of conservative foundations.[13]

"We need to stop our obsession with global warming", says Lomborg

In May 2004, Lomborg's Environmental Assessment Institute hosted the Copenhagen Consensus, an attempt to redirect global priorities away from current environmental concerns. As expected the majority of the conference participants agreed that climate change was less important to take action on than a range of other priorities such as combatting HIV/AIDS or providing clean drinking water.

In mid-December 2004 Lomborg attended the Conference of Parties meeting on the Kyoto Protocol in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In both an opinion column in the British newspaper the Telegraph and public presentations Lomborg argued that the outcome of the Copenhagen Consensus demonstrated why calls for action on climate change should be ignored.

Unlike earlier climate change sceptics, Lomborg accepts the reality of climate change but adopts a triple track argument for doing little. First, he adopts a fatalistic position that little can be done. "Global warming is real and caused by CO2. The trouble is that the climate models show we can do very little about the warming," he wrote in the Telegraph.[14]

Then, he argues, the first round of commitments in the Kyoto agreement for the period to 2012 are too little to make much difference by the year 2100. (This ignores the understanding that additional cuts will be negotiated in subsequent committment periods). "Even if everyone (including the United States) did Kyoto and stuck to it throughout the century, the change would be almost immeasurable, postponing warming by just six years in 2100," he wrote.

Finally, he argues that the costs are too great compared to other initiatives that have broad public appeal. "Likewise, the economic models tell us that the cost is substantial. The cost of Kyoto compliance is at least $150billion a year. For comparison, the UN estimates that half that amount could permanently solve the most pressing humanitarian problems in the world: it could buy clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care and education to every single person in the world," he wrote.

"We need to stop our obsession with global warming, and start dealing with the many more pressing issues in the world, where we can do most good first and quickest," Lomborg concluded.

While Lomborg's views are dismissed by the overwhelming majority of those researching climate change, his attendance in Buenos Aires ensured that his views where not only projected into the 'echo chamber' by conservative news sites such as CNSNews.com, but picked up by the BBC as well.[15]

Others don't think the outcome of the Copenhagen Consensus should be taken all that seriously. Not only were the invited presenters all economists, critics of the process point to the constrained choices they were presented with in ranking priorities that the global community should address.

"Climate strategies are compared with measures to address problems that everyone agrees are crucial. But climate strategies should also be compared with other goals that society spends (or wastes) money on. One relevant example is to ask what can be delayed with the least harm: climate measures or exploration of Saturn’s rings? Or what about ranking climate measures in relation to spending tens of millions of dollars a year developing new kinds of nuclear weapons, as the Bush administration seems prepared to do?," wrote Pål Prestrud and Hans Seip from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO).[16]


Affiliations

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sharon Begley (2010-02-22). Debunking Lomborg, the Climate-Change Skeptic. Newsweek. Retrieved on 2010-02-24. “Friel's conclusion, as per his book's title, is that Lomborg is "a performance artist disguised as an academic."”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kare Fog (unknown). Lomborg Errors. Lomborg Errors website. Retrieved on 2010-11-14. “because the errors seem not to be inadvertent, but to follow a general pattern, they give a bias in a certain direction, probably an intended bias. If the errors remain uncommented, the readers of Lomborg´s books will be misled in this distinct direction . There are many examples where the misleading seems to be deliberate”
  3. Friel, Howard (2010-03-01). The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming. Yale University Press. Retrieved on 2010-11-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Eli Rabett (pseudonym) (2011-07-15). The Models Suck: Part I. Rabett Run. Retrieved on 2011-07-16.
  5. none (2010-12-02). Cool It (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2010-12-04. “Domestic Total as of Dec. 2, 2010: $58,408”
  6. Joe Romm (2010-11-22). Climate Science Rapid Response Team debunks Bjorn Lomborg’s Washington Post op-ed. Climate Progress. Retrieved on 2010-12-04.
  7. Bjorn Lomborg (2010-11-17). Bjorn Lomborg - Cost-effective ways to address climate change. Washington Post. Retrieved on 2010-12-04.
  8. Brad Johnson (2010-11-22). Climate Science Rapid Response Team Debunks Bjorn Lomborg. Wonk Room. Retrieved on 2010-12-04. “Because Washington Post editorial editor Fred Hiatt did not bother to fact-check Lomborg’s column...We chose to test the new Climate Science Rapid Response Team, a scientist-run initiative to link top climate scientists with the media...we submitted questions about Lomborg’s claims to the team...[and] received comprehensive answers from three top climate scientists...[who] independently confirmed that Bjorn Lomborg had misrepresented the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report.”
  9. 9.0 9.1 Joe Romm (2010-08-31). Lomborg flip-flop: 'Climate change is undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today'. Climate Progress. Retrieved on 2010-11-06.
  10. Juliette Jowit ""Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change" The Guardian, August 30, 2010.
  11. Dr Alex Bowen, Dr Simon Dietz, Dimitri Zenghelis and Bob Ward of Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (2010-09-02). Letters: Still wary of Bjørn Lomborg's pronouncements on climate change. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-11-07. “Dr Lomborg last year began to call for an investment of $100bn per year on research and development for low-carbon technologies, instead of the $25bn he was advocating 18 months ago. He now proposes that this should be raised through a carbon tax of $7 per tonne of carbon dioxide, rather than the $2 per tonne for which he previously argued. However, his strategy is alarmingly risky – invest heavily in R&D and hope that this alone will keep atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases low enough to avoid the risk of serious and damaging impacts from climate change. This might work, but it might not. A more robust approach to managing the risks of climate change would be not only to invest in R&D, but also to use a carbon tax (or cap-and-trade) to discourage greenhouse gas emissions in the short run. The latter, not raising revenue, would be the primary purpose of introducing a carbon price. But to encourage enough emissions cuts in the next few years to keep greenhouse gases at low enough atmospheric concentrations, a carbon price considerably higher than Dr Lomborg's $7 per tonne is required. We welcome the fact that Dr Lomborg has implicitly acknowledged that his previous arguments about climate change were flawed, but it would be wise to remain wary of his pronouncements...”
  12. 12.0 12.1 Joe Romm (2010-11-15). Caldeira calls Lomborg’s vision "a dystopic world out of a science fiction story". Climate Progress. Retrieved on 2010-11-16. “John Holdren resasserted in 2009 of strategies such as space mirrors or aerosol injection, "The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects." Second, of course, those ’solutions’ do nothing to stop the consequences of ocean acidification, which recent studies suggest will be devastating all by itself (see Geological Society: Acidifying oceans spell marine biological meltdown "by end of century"). Third, a major analysis in Science this year by leading experts on volcanoes and/or climate - Alan Robock, Martin Bunzl, Ben Kravitz, and Georgiy L. Stenchikov - "A Test for Geoengineering?" ... concluded: "Stratospheric geoengineering cannot be tested in the atmosphere without full-scale implementation."”
  13. [PhD information from Wikipedia]
  14. Biography - Bjørn Lomborg. Retrieved on 2009-12-04.
  15. [email from Lomborg associate Zsuzsa Horvath dated 2009-12-02
  16. Jan Olsen (2004-06-23). Critic of Kyoto pledge quits as green adviser. The Guardian.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Kåre Fog (date unknown). Hidden Agenda. Lomborg Errors. Retrieved on 2010-11-14.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specifiedKåre Fog (date unknown). . Lomborg Errors. Retrieved on 2010-11-14.
  19. Paula Oliver (2004-06-09). AIDS 'bigger problem than global warming'. New Zealand Herald News. Retrieved on 2010-11-15. “A "dream team" of the world's top economists has recommended that global governments spend money on combating HIV/AIDS before tackling issues such as climate change. The economist panel, which included three Nobel laureates, met in Copenhagen last week to decide on the 10 biggest challenges facing the world. The conference, known as the Copenhagen Consensus, was organised by Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute - led by controversial and outspoken critic of the Kyoto Protocol Bjorn Lomborg.”
  20. Kevin Burger (2007-08-29). Bjørn Lomborg feels a chill. Salon.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-14.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Misleading Math about the Earth: Scientific American (2013-10-20). Retrieved on 2013-10-20. Science defends itself against The Skeptical Environmentalist
  22. "[1]"
  23. Tim Lambert (2010-02-23). The Lomborg Deception. Deltoid. Retrieved on 2010-02-24.
  24. Howard Friel (2010-08-30). Bjørn Lomborg's missing questions. Comment is free - The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-11-14. “"[Lomborg] writes: "The risks of unchecked global warming are now widely acknowledged" and "we have long moved on from any mainstream disagreements about the science of climate change". This is the lipstick, but the pig is still a pig. This is because Lomborg still argues in this book, as he did in the others, that cost-benefit economics analysis shows that it is prohibitively expensive for the world to sharply reduce CO2 emissions to the extent required by the scientific evidence: "Drastic carbon cuts would be the poorest way to respond to global warming." Here's where the missing question comes into play, since Lomborg does not seriously address the fundamental problem of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the absence of global greenhouse reductions: what will happen to the earth and human civilisation when atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise – essentially unchecked, if we followed Lomborg's recommendations – to 450 parts per million, 550ppm, 700ppm, 800ppm; and when the average global temperature rises by 2C, 3C, and 4C to 7C? Climate scientists have set 350ppm and a 2C average temperature rise (from 1750 to 2100) as the upper range targets to prevent a global climate disaster. Since we are already at 390ppm and since a 2C plus rise is a near certainty, how does Lomborg's appeal to forgo sharp reductions in CO2 emissions reflect climate science? He argues that there are "smarter solutions to climate change" than a focus on reducing CO2. This is hardly smart: it's insanity.”
  25. Project Syndicate, "Who We Are", Project Syndicate website, accessed April 2009.

External resources

  • Lomborg Errors website, documenting same, by Danish biologist Kåre Fog

External articles

Moved to Bjorn Lomborg (external articles) Wikipedia also has an article on Bjorn Lomborg. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.