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« Girl (nickname), interrupted | Main | Has power changed Erdogan for the worse? »
12:10AM

Lomborg's U-turn on global warming? Complete nonsense

Readers know how much I like Bjorn Lomborg and how much his stuff has influenced--nay, bolstered my existing--optimism on questions of resource consumption, disaster hype, global warming, and the overall progress of humanity.  My current brief shows the faces of only two authors:  Lomborg and C.K. Prahalad. I don't advertise other people's books lightly, since I'm always trying to move my own product! But that gives you some sense of my respect for the man.

So you can imagine how many people sent me messages about Lomborg's alleged U-turn on global warming. Actually, on first, second and third blushes, I interpreted that possibility to be a lot more important--on any number of scales--than Fidel Castro's similarly hyped confession.

But deep down, I knew it was false and just a matter of misinterpretation. 

Lomborg lays out all his logic here in a nice summary piece. Basically, he's never "denied" anything with global warming. He simply argues that cranking hard on the C02 "knob" isn't our best choice for dealing with this world across this century.  He sees money better put elsewhere, and he makes stunning convincing arguments to that effect.

I heartily endorse his thinking on the subject: global warming is real and we will be forced to deal with it, but it's not the central reality of our age and it must compete for our efforts and attention with a host of other issues where--dollar-wise--more gain can be had more rapidly for more of humanity.

But what Lomborg has also advocated for years now is an R&D push of serious money (tens of billions) on green techs and geo-engineering to deal with the rising impact of global warming (which he consistently says is reasonably mitigated by humanity). 

Well, he made that pitch again recently to some--apparently--clueless Guardian reporter who jumped on Lomborg's statement that global warming is "one of the chief concerns facing the world today" as evidence of a U-turn.

That's it, a leap-frogging conclusion from a reporter who obviously has never read any of Lomborg's books.

So simmer down, now!

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Reader Comments (4)

There's going to be a new solar panel farm in Southern California, the largest single farm in the world. There is going to be 1000 MW capacity on 7,025 acres. For comparison, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant is on 750 acres and produces 2240 MW. Simple math and reality apparently isn't an obstacle to being "green." Yet, we still burn coal, which is why places like China have that sooty air. It's .14 MW/acre vs 3.00MW/acre

This aversion to reality is so ridiculous, I am speechless....

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPetrer

That's just typical of the way that the media operates. Largely ignorant of the issues; looking only for the big sellers. Such is the case here: "Green skeptic changes ideas" is a great headline. "Green skeptic suggests there might be more than one answer, advocates pragmatism" isn't.

Is there anything to be done about this?

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Dixon

Those who have believed that the CO2 problem could be dealt with by conservation, solar, wind, and other green fuels have never understood size of the problem. Lomborg always has. Adaptation rather than mitigation has always been the best policy if we are to maintain our standards of living and raise those of the Third World.

However, if the Peak Oil pundits are correct, we must find new non-fossil energy sources in the next 100 years anyway. As fossil fuel availability winds down, new sources will have to be devloped, or humans will be going back to pre-industrial standards of living. Given the scale of time and obvious need for new sources it will probably be a free-market driven process rather than one driven by government fiat, which is so heavily advocated by those in the AGW as crisis camp.

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy J.

Friend of mine works in China for a company that does continuous solar power. You use solar to make steam. For that they need 2 RMB per kwh. Coal generators get 0.25 RMB a kwh. Residences pay about 0.50 kwh, industries 0.7 kwh and commercial users about 1 RMB/kwh. Does anyone see the economic difficulty of solar? It would be much more practical to just bring China's coal generators up to Western standards. They'd need to put in emissions measurement equipment that couldn't be faked. Flue Gas Desulfurization, Boiler Modification and SCR for the NOx and energy efficiency. Lots of bang for a lot less bucks than solar or wind. But these changes would require the Chinese government to surrender a lot of control of the industry to outsiders. i.e. I think foreiigners would have to own or have substantial control of the power industry. So this is not likely to happen. "Green" energy will continue to get it's 1% of load base token support and China will continue to get more and more polluted.

September 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Dunn

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