After reading "The Skeptical Environmentalist" I was astonished at how effectively Lomborg challenged many of the ideas about the environment I'd been holding dear for so long. I was especially impressed by the case he makes for allocating resources based on analysis of the lives saved and a cost benefit approach rather than the often irrational, politically motivated spending that saves only a few but costs a lot.
This led me to a fascinating email exchange with the editor of Scientific American, which had blasted Lomborg in a very long critique of the book. The SA critique was written by four internationally recognized experts, but in my view they'd done little more than attack Lomborg personally and suggest – speciously – that his objective was to disparage a scientific approach to problem solving.
What consistently impresses me the most about Lomborg is his willingness to take on his critics point by point, addressing their concerns with citations and what only appear to be legitimate personal criticisms. (Such as noting that climatologist Schneider used to warn about potentially catastrophic global cooling but now warns of potentially catastrophic global warming).
I suggest that Lomborg is thinking very clearly and applying science appropriately, but has challenged his critics effectively and aggresssively enough that they've responded in an emotional fashion rather than a scientific one.
The enthusiasm many scientists seem to show for Al Gore's excellent but misguided propaganda film "An Inconvenient Truth" reflects poorly on the state of scientific thinking. I think it reveals the limitations we primates, even those primates high on the scientific food chain, have with mathematical constructs and allocation of risks, costs, and benefits.
Later: Wadard does NOT agree with me or Lomborg – the debate continues over at Global Warming Watch:
Here's a clear thinking piece by Lomborg