The fourth installment on the climate change debate by Gray Reed energy partner Paul Yale looks at criticisms of Bjorn Lomborg’s False Alarm: How Climate Panic Costs Us Billions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. These short summaries can’t do justice to Paul’s articles, or the books themselves for that matter. I encourage you to read them.
Lomborg’s criticism of the Paris Climate Agreement is that even if the signators undertook all emission cuts they’ve agreed to, the best case scenario would cause temperatures to fall only .05°F, at a cost of $2 trillion annually. That $1.00 in costs for every $.11 in benefits.
The critics – Robert Ward
Robert Ward, with the Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics, says Lomborg, and Shellenberger in Apocolypse Never, rely on sources that are outdated, cherry picked or just wrong, and that William Nordhaus, the 2018 winner of a Nobel Prize for his work on climate economics, advanced conclusions that omitted the biggest risks.
Ward asserts that Lomborg says there’s nothing we can do about climate change. But Lomborg has an entire section entitled “How to Fix Climate Change”.
Is it more important to arrest rising temperatures or getting CO2 concentrations halfway back to preindustrial levels? Higher CO2 levels are good for plant life but higher temperatures have fewer benefits and subject humans to higher risks. Perhaps humans can adapt to higher temperatures with technological innovations.
Lomborg cautions against making extreme assumptions about the dangers of climate change, planning for the worst, overspending on wind and solar, and underspending on other opportunities to improve life over the course of the next century. Lomborg insists that’s inefficient and morally wrong.
Your musical interlude.