CommunityFDL Main Blog

Climate Skeptic Bjørn Lomborg Reverses Himself on Climate Change

Bjørn Lomborg (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Pretty big news for a movement struggling to find its footing after a series of setbacks:

The world’s most high-profile climate change sceptic is to declare that global warming is “undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today” and “a challenge humanity must confront”, in an apparent U-turn that will give a huge boost to the embattled environmental lobby.

Bjørn Lomborg, the self-styled “sceptical environmentalist” once compared to Adolf Hitler by the UN’s climate chief, is famous for attacking climate scientists, campaigners, the media and others for exaggerating the rate of global warming and its effects on humans, and the costly waste of policies to stop the problem.

But in a new book to be published next month, Lomborg will call for tens of billions of dollars a year to be invested in tackling climate change. “Investing $100bn annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century,” the book concludes.

Lomborg’s “friendly skepticism” of man-made global climate change obviously made him a target in the scientific community, but he also got a lot of mainstream pickup as the kinder, gentle face of denialism. Lomborg never specifically denied the existence of climate change, but accused proponents of exaggerations and said that mitigating the effects wasn’t worth the expense. That’s what has changed.

Specifically, Lomborg favors investment in clean energy, including R&D, and geoengineering options.

The environmental community is at a crossroads after the failure of a climate bill in Congress this year, and I don’t expect Lomborg’s conversion to change that dynamic. While I don’t think they should necessarily adopt Lomborg’s platform either, they can use the messaging that investing in the clean energy future would be responsible, and far cheaper than the chaos that would result from unchecked warming. They have plenty of evidence just in the past few weeks – in China, in Pakistan, in Russia – to support this.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Climate Skeptic Bjørn Lomborg Reverses Himself on Climate Change

Pretty big news for a movement struggling to find its footing after a series of setbacks:

The world’s most high-profile climate change sceptic is to declare that global warming is “undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today” and “a challenge humanity must confront”, in an apparent U-turn that will give a huge boost to the embattled environmental lobby.

Bjørn Lomborg, the self-styled “sceptical environmentalist” once compared to Adolf Hitler by the UN’s climate chief, is famous for attacking climate scientists, campaigners, the media and others for exaggerating the rate of global warming and its effects on humans, and the costly waste of policies to stop the problem.

But in a new book to be published next month, Lomborg will call for tens of billions of dollars a year to be invested in tackling climate change. “Investing $100bn annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century,” the book concludes.

Lomborg’s “friendly skepticism” of man-made global climate change obviously made him a target in the scientific community, but he also got a lot of mainstream pickup as the kinder, gentle face of denialism. Lomborg never specifically denied the existence of climate change, but accused proponents of exaggerations and said that mitigating the effects wasn’t worth the expense. That’s what has changed.

Specifically, Lomborg favors investment in clean energy, including R&D, and geoengineering options.

The environmental community is at a crossroads after the failure of a climate bill in Congress this year, and I don’t expect Lomborg’s conversion to change that dynamic. While I don’t think they should necessarily adopt Lomborg’s platform either, they can use the messaging that investing in the clean energy future would be responsible, and far cheaper than the chaos that would result from unchecked warming. They have plenty of evidence just in the past few weeks – in China, in Pakistan, in Russia – to support this.

Previous post

The Most Hopeful Thing I Have Read about Obama in Ages: Is He Really a Closeted Non-Believer?

Next post

Career Death By PowerPoint

David Dayen

David Dayen