In the fifth and final installment on the climate change debate, Gray Reed energy partner Paul Yale considers (and responds to) another criticism of Bjorn Lomborg’s False Alarm: How Climate Panic Costs Us Billions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.
Joseph Stiglitz in the New York Times negatively reviewed False Alarm … . Stiglitz, well-qualified as a professor of economics at Columbia University and a Nobel Prize laureate, accuses Lomborg of being simple and simplistic and implies that Lomborg admits there’s not much we can do about climate change. This is not an accurate portrayal of the book. Lomborg discusses many things that can be done to address climate change: carbon taxes, nuclear fusion, fission, carbon capture, water splitting, refining oil from algae grown on ocean surfaces, and geoscience engineering techniques. Lomborg recalls Paul Ehrlich’s 1960’s book The Population Bomb, which predicted mass starvation in the 1980s. Except it didn’t happen because of technological innovation.
Stiglitz accuses Lomborg of being biased but it looks like everybody is biased. In asking whether the benefits of some proposals to combat climate change are worth the cost, Lomborg refers to reducing the speed limit to 3 mph as a way to eliminate car crashes that kill 400,000 people per year. At what point is the benefit worth the cost? And spending trillions to combat climate change will take funds away from solving other problems.
In the end, Lomborg is an optimist who believes that global warming is real but manageable and that there are ways to beat climate change without having to sacrifice global economic growth.
Another musical interlude for our upcoming holiday.