Bjorn Lomborg’s >False Alarm<, the book the New York Times doesn’t want you to read …
Greg Lance – Watkins
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From Alex Epstein, host of Power Hour who interviews Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, author of:
How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions,
Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.
As I discussed in my review of the book several weeks ago, I think this is an extremely valuable book, on two counts above all.
1. It documents in case after case how the media and political leaders wildly distort the conclusions of mainstream climate research.
2. It documents in case after case how human adaptation can neutralize climate danger.
The book was recently attacked in a New York Times “review” by the famous near-socialist economist Joseph Stiglitz.
Bjorn systematically refuted the pseudo-review in an impressive LinkedIn article.
On the Podcast is discussed:
* How trusted media sources manipulated a climate research paper to predict 187 million climate refugees when the number was actually around 300,000 (half the number of people who move out of California every year)
* Why we always need to look for positive and negative impacts, not just one or the other
* How many seconds worth of electricity all of America’s batteries can store today
* The true state of solar and wind in the world today
* How people in developing countries around the world demand “real electricity,” not the meagre, unreliable electricity provided by much-heralded solar installations
* The prospects for nuclear energy
* Some of the crude errors of the New York Times review of False Alarm
* How global capitalism will encourage energy progress even when specific technophobic countries reject it
To view/listen to The Original CLICK HERE
Here’s a review of the book from Amazon:
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 July 2020
I was surprised to realise that it’s over 12 years since Bjorn Lomborg published “Cool it!”, his last specifically on Climate Change, and almost twenty since “The Skeptical Environmentalist” brought him fame, or notoriety, depending on your viewpoint. Much of his work through his Copenhagen Consensus think-tank focuses on how to spend money most effectively to relieve poverty and other hardships around the world, and he is well known for his scepticism as to the cost-ineffectiveness of global policies on climate change.
The basic premises of False Alarm, therefore, did not come as a surprise to me. He advocates a four-pronged strategy to deal with climate change: a small but steadily increasing carbon tax, ideally one that is coordinated internationally, research into new carbon-free technologies (but little spending on deploying today’s immature ones), adaptation and, finally, research into geoengineering as an insurance policy (but not for deployment other than in extremis). Lastly, he reminds us that climate change is not the only challenge, and, indeed, for most people around the world even in the West, but especially in the developing world, it is far down their list of priorities. Prosperity, he says, is the overlooked climate policy – more prosperous people and peoples are better placed to deal with the effects of climate change as they are to overcome other problems.
Lomborg starts by asking why we get our reaction to climate change so wrong, and specifically how we became fixated on becoming “carbon neutral” by 2030 so as to limit global average temperature rise to 2.7F at the end of the century. (Minor gripe: he uses Fahrenheit in deference to the US market, only occasionally giving the Celsius equivalent; I would have preferred it the other way around, and giving both measures each time would surely have caused little additional work or disruption to the reading flow.) The answer: ask scientists a silly question – Lomborg says an impossible one – and you get a silly/impossible answer. He implicates mainstream media in particular – good news sells no stories, and headlines like “Climate Change Could End Human Civilization by 2050” as published in the New York Times sells more newspapers than “Life in the future will be very recognizable but could be somewhat more challenging in certain respects.”
Second only to the MSM Lomborg implicates university researchers and politicians as contributing to the hype for their own benefits – he does not suggest a conspiracy, rather a self-reinforcing group-think. He points out that environmental catastrophism goes back to the 1960s, and has already had a long history of promoting expensive, unnecessary and in some cases downright barbaric solutions to avert perceived Armageddons. Paul Erlich – in response to whom Lomborg supposedly wrote Skeptical Environmentalist – comes in for particular stick.
In the second section Lomborg concentrates on debunking suggestions that hurricanes, droughts or forest fires are actually worse natural phenomena than before (or linked to climate change), it’s just that we humans have placed more of our assets into harm’s way without taking appropriate precautions. He uses the reports of the International Panel on Climate Change and other government-funded reports to demonstrate just how relatively mild their predictions are compared to the hysterical reaction they are engineered to produce, and refers to the work of Nobel-Laureate economist William D. Nordhaus who has worked out the economic effect of the predicted temperature rises in terms of GDP – and concludes that the effects are all entirely manageable.
Lomborg details why almost nothing we have done so far has been effective In the third section and demonstrates the shocking expense of the subsidies that the EU, and Germany in particular, has paid (from taxpayers’ money!) to deploy renewable technologies (while attempting to phase out the one non-carbon technology that does work at scale, nuclear fission). But, he says, it’s the very attempt to work to arbitrary targets to reduce CO2 that is at fault – even if the Paris Agreement delivered as planned (and he explains why it won’t) the rise in temperature by 2100 would be reduced by an imperceptible amount. In the hard-hitting tenth chapter “How climate policy hurts the poor” he focuses on one of the key arguments of the book – which dovetails with his work in the Copenhagen Consensus – that inept climate policies actually cause deaths amongst the world’s poorest. The fashion for biofuels in the early 2000’s, for example, pushed food prices up by 75%, with predictable effects of poverty – and starvation – levels. He decries climate-based aid programmes which offer renewable (e.g. solar-based) off-grid electrification that entirely fail to meet the expectations of local people. Although written before the current campaign, it is interesting to view the intended effect of western climate campaigners on ordinary people in the rest of the world through the prism of “Black Lives Matter”; which Lomborg does not refer to that movement, he does suggest that the climate campaigners are “enacting a kind of imperialism”.
This is an excellent book. Apart from my minor quibble about F rather than C, my only concern is that he doesn’t take the time to explain why a temperature rise of 5C or 8.7F or whatever is only going to cause a small reduction on GDP and is entirely manageable. Our own dear George Monbiot and The Guardian (both quoted, not necessarily positively) are convinced and have played their part in convincing so many that this does in fact mean the end of the world, and Lomborg might usefully have spent more time providing evidence that such a rise in temperature would indeed something that we could, if necessary, adapt to. Highly recommended.
I read this in the Kindle edition, which is/was published before the hardback. The illustrations, always a weakness of ebooks and kindles in particular, aren’t bad, although it was good to be able to look at them on my PC (via the PC Kindle app) to see the detail. I also downloaded the synced audible audiobook – Jim Seybert does a credible job or narrating.
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