I’d really urge people to read Bjorn Lomborg more carefully. He is a very good analyst but unfortunately he’s become a major lightning rod for controversy because people don’t like to hear such well presented views that challenge their sensibilities about global climate change policy. Thus he’s often branded a “climate denier” when this is ridiculous.
Lomborg should certainly NOT be called a climate change “denier”. First, hose terms simply get people thinking irrationally about the issues, which are about science and policy. Also because he *agrees* with even the most active activists that climate change is happening and that it poses risks to humanity. He just feels those risks should be managed rationally in line with the many other challenges faced here on the planet.
The basic science seems clear:
* There is global warming – about a degree last century.
* Most or all of that warming is very likely to be caused by humans via CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.
* Increasing CO2 emissions, with China and USA leading the pack, will continue to influence the environment both as pollutants and as catalysts of warming.
So, up to here most climate activists and Lomborg would be in total agreement.
However, it’s the NEXT step that matters most in terms of policy, and that’s where I don’t agree at all with most activists. Based on observations and current science papers, I’m not convinced that we are facing catastrophic environmental damage. Sea level rise is very small and manageable. Even the island nations of Tuvalu is actually *increasing* in land mass due to the complex geological patterns there that appear to be swamping out the effects of sea level rise.
More importantly it’s very clear to me that *even if we are*, people are not willing to make the changes needed to lower C02 enough to matter more than to lower perhaps a few percent of the increased warming.
Prioritizing our concerns matters because about a billion people are *currently* facing truly catastrophic conditions in terms of poverty and health in poor countries, and curbing C02 (which is expensive), will divert resources and make it harder for those countries to realize the higher standards that come from modern industrialization/globalization.
Although I strongly believe that the first diversion of resources to fight poverty should come from our bloated defense budget – now topping a staggering 600 billion per year, I don’t want us to turn around and spend billions trying to stem environmental changes that are likely to happen anyway. Let’s spend that on saving people *now*.