Friday, October 12, 2012

Bjorn Lomborg on global warming hysteria and other junk science

"Using Scary Science to Mislead Public"
... on September 26, the Climate Vulnerability Forum, a group of countries led by Bangladesh, launched the second edition of its Global Vulnerability Monitor. Headlines about the launch were truly alarming: Over the next 18 years, global warming would kill 100 million people and cost the economy upwards of $6.7 trillion annually.
These public messages were highly misleading – and clearly intended to shock and disturb. The vast majority of deaths discussed in the report did not actually result from global warming. Outdoor air pollution – caused by fossil-fuel combustion, not by global warming – contributed to 30% of all deaths cited in the study. And 60% of the total deaths reflect the burning of biomass (such as animal dung and crop residues) for cooking and heating, which has no relation to either fossil fuels or global warming.

In total, the study exaggerated more than 12-fold the number of deaths that could possibly be attributed to climate change, and it more than quadrupled the potential economic costs, simply to grab attention. But it will be used as a cudgel by those who claim that electric cars or solar panels – technologies that will make only a marginal contribution, given their huge incremental costs – are the solution to climate change.

The technologies that can really make a difference quickly and at lower cost are scrubbers that clean smokestack emissions, catalytic converters that reduce tailpipe emissions, and many others. By focusing purely on cutting CO2, we neglect to help many more people, much faster, and less expensively.

Likewise, overcoming the burden of indoor air pollution will happen only when people can use kerosene, propane, and grid-based electricity. If the Global Vulnerability Monitor’srecommendation to cut back on fossil fuels were taken seriously, the result would be slower economic growth and continued reliance on dung, cardboard, and other low-grade fuels, thereby prolonging the suffering that results from indoor air pollution.

When confronted with their exaggerations, the authors claimed that “if you reduce hazardous air pollution, it is difficult to not also reduce warming emissions.” But, for both indoor and outdoor air pollution, the opposite is more likely true: lower carbon emissions would mean more air pollution deaths.

When scare tactics replace scientific debate, whether about GM crops or climate change, nothing good can come of it. We all deserve better.

The debate on AGW hasn't been scientific for a long time. AGW is about politics and ideology and power. The shameless mendacity of AGW hysterics is astonishing.

The deeper irony-- the horrible irony-- is that environmentalist loons are responsible for many millions of actual deaths, by totalitarian One-Child Policies motivated by population control hysteria and by the war on DDT that has consigned tens of millions of poor people to death from malaria.

We need to tell the truth about the actual deaths environmentalists have caused. 


  1. “In total, the study exaggerated more than 12-fold the number of deaths that could possibly be attributed to climate change, and it more than quadrupled the potential economic costs, simply to grab attention.”

    So it’s only 8-9 million deaths and 1.65 trillion annually. I feel so much better


  2. Michael,

    You really are a stupid liar, aren't you? Bjorn Lomborg admits that AGW is happening and it needs action.

    Agreed; the report is hyperbole. But take a little time to think (I know it's difficult for you). Poor people in poor countries use biomass for energy because it's cheap and available. Obviously, there are sources of energy which are cleaner and safer, at least in the short term.

    Most poor countries don't have significant reserves of coal, oil or natural gas under their ground waiting to be tapped. To access them, they have to buy them on the world markets at world prices. And whenever there's a shortfall of supply over demand, prices skyrocket as rich countries are available to buy the energy they need.

    You have a naive approach. A business as usual plan will continue to condemn poor people in poor countries to continuing poverty. Unless you're proposing that the developed world increases its foreign aid enormously, which it should do anyway.

    Poor countries are poor because they don't have access to adequate energy. To have adequate energy, they need to become rich(er), which is the conundrum. One partial solution would be for developed countries to reduce their energy consumption, taking some pressure off prices. Voluntarily. Do you really think that we aren't wasting energy, and couldn't easily reduce our usage without strain?

    And DDT hasn't been banned. It's still available, has always been, available for malaria control.

    1. You understand nothing about poverty. What the people in the third world need most desperately to escape poverty is property rights, capitalism, rule of law, and protection from people like you.

    2. Michael,

      At least you've progressed. The last time I saw your list of solutions to poverty in the Third World it included the Bible as number 3.

      My list would be liberal democracy (which includes human rights and rights of minorities, unlike illiberal democracies, which are just mob rule), economic development (which requires access to energy, and private enterprise), universal education and equal opportunity to succeed (and fail too).

      I think my list has a better chance of succeeding than yours.