Lomborg’s about turn?

In: Uncategorized

5 Sep 2010

The biggest environmental news of the week was the apparent about turn of Bjorn Lomborg, the self-styled “skeptical environmentalist”.

In an “exclusive” story on the controversial Danish statistician the Guardian newspaper describes him as being “a climate change voice who changed his tune”. Although Lomborg built his reputation by arguing, among other things, that climate change is not the greatest challenge facing humanity. Yet in his book, Smart Solutions to Climate Change (Cambridge UP) he evidently argues for an annual investment of $100 billion (£65 billion) to tackle the problem.

The shift was apparently enough to prompt Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to endorse the book after previously likening him to Adolf Hitler.

I have not read the new book yet but it is likely that those who argue the shift is over-played are probably right. Lomborg always accepted that the earth was warming and that human activity played a substantial part in the process. His argument was always that other challenges, such as poverty, should be accorded a higher priority than climate change. He also argued for a higher priority should be given to practical solutions, such as adaptation, rather than investing in expensive mitigation exercises.

For more on this topic read the post on Roger Pielke Junior’s blog and Ben Pile’s article on the Climate Resistance blog.