Dr. Bjorn Lomborg: Get the Facts Straight on Climate Change

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg: Get the Facts Straight on Climate Change

Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?  Bjorn Lomborg on the Prager University You Tube Channel Reporting from Paris Climate Talks, Dec. 2015

bjornlomborg_320x475Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is an academic and the author of the best-selling The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It. He challenges mainstream concerns about development and the environment and points out that we need to focus attention on the smartest solutions first. He is a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School, and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center which brings together many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates, to set priorities for the world. The University of Pennsylvania asked almost 7,000 think tanks and thousands of journalists, public and private donors, and policymakers from around the world to nominate and rank the world’s best think tanks. Copenhagen Consensus Center’s advocacy for data-driven smart solutions to global challenges were voted into the top 20 among NGOs with up to 100 times’ larger budget.  The Economist said “Copenhagen Consensus is an outstanding, visionary idea and deserves global coverage.”

skepticalLomborg is a frequent participant in public debates on policy issues. His analysis and commentaries have appeared regularly in such prestigious publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Economist, The Atlantic, Forbes Magazine, Globe & Mail, The Guardian, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Australian, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Der Spiegel. Lomborg’s monthly column appears in around 40 papers in 19 languages, with more than 30 million readers. He is a television commentator on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and the BBC, among others, on shows such as “Newsnight”, “20/20”, “60 Minutes”, “The Late Show with David Letterman”, and “Larry King Live”. He was featured in the movie “Cool it”, by Sundance Award winning director Ondi Timoner.

Cool It poster, book by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg being made into a movie.

In 2011 and 2012, Lomborg was named Top 100 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy “for looking more right than ever on the politics of climate change.” TIME Magazine ranked Lomborg among the world’s 100 most influential people in 2004. In 2008 he was named “one of the 50 people who could save the planet” by the UK Guardian. In 2005 and 2008, Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine called him “one of the top 100 public intellectuals”, and in 2008 Esquire named him “one of the world’s 75 most influential people of the 21st century.”

Get Latest News is the Climate Change Debate from Dr. Bjorn Lomborg’s Website at this All articles link. 

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Climate change is real, but Paris treaty won’t fix it
Politicians will vaunt U.N. treaty, but its costs far outweigh its meager benefits
Opinion column by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, USA Today, April 24, 2016

World leaders will disembark from carbon-spewing jets in New York on Earth Day this Friday to sign the Paris climate treaty, the world’s costliest-ever accord.No doubt, American presidential candidates will use the spectacle to make hay. In line with President Obama, Hillary Clinton believes the treaty is a “historic step forward” against “one of the greatest challenges” of our age, while Bernie Sanders argues it “goes nowhere near far enough.” John Kasich has “serious concerns” the agreement will hurt the American economy; Donald Trump is not a “great believer” in man-made climate change and might ditch the treaty; Ted Cruz says he’d do the same because it was agreed to by “ideologues.”

Amid this political back-and-forth—man-made climate change is not real, or it is the worst threat facing humanity; the treaty is horrendous, or it is great—the facts are easily lost.

The reality is that we need to respond to the real problem of climate change, but this well-intentioned treaty is a hugely expensive way of doing very little.

The Paris accord talks a big game. It doesn’t just commit to capping the global temperature increase at 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The text goes even further and says the world’s leaders commit to keeping the increase “well below 2 degrees Celsius” and will try to cap it at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But this is just rhetoric. My own research and the only peer-reviewed published assessment of the Paris agreement used the United Nation’s favorite climate model to measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every major carbon-cutting promise in the treaty between now and 2030. I found that the total temperature reduction will be just 0.086 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

Even if these promises were extended for 70 more years, then all the promises would  reduce temperature rises by 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. This is similar to a finding by scientists at MIT. It’s feeble.

Yet, we will hear claims this week from green campaigners that the treaty will do a lot more. But we should check their math. Such claims are based on completely unrealistic scenarios in which governments do little now but embark on incredibly ambitious carbon reduction policies after 2030. Given that it’s hard to know whether the Paris treaty will withstand the results even of this year’s U.S. presidential election, it seems foolhardy to predict that governments will suddenly become dramatically more ambitious 15 years from now.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, we learned that the only surefire way to make substantial emissions cuts was to go through a major economic recession. Obviously, this approach is not very popular with politicians, and we are unlikely to hear even the most climate-alarmed presidential candidate calling for an economic downturn.

By the United Nations’ own reckoning, this treaty will only achieve less than 1% of the emission cuts needed to meet its target temperatures. Ninety-nine percent of the problem is left for the leaders of the 2030s to deal with.

And what does it cost to make such feeble cuts? A great deal. This is likely to be among most expensive treaties in the history of the world.

U.S. promises alone—to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025—would reduce gross domestic product more than $150 billion annually.

What is needed to solve global warming is a massive increase in green energy technology research and development. This is by far the most effective and efficient way to find new breakthrough energy technologies that will be so cheap, they can outcompete fossil fuels. If that happens, we will have fixed global warming, because everyone will switch to those cheaper green energy sources.

The green energy innovation coalition backed by philanthropist Bill Gates, business leaders and about 20 governments to double global green energy research and development is an excellent initiative and is likely to achieve far more than the Paris treaty.

But the Gates fund is just a start. A panel of Nobel laureates for the project Copenhagen Consensus on Climate found that we shouldn’t just double R&D but make a tenfold increase, to reach at least $100 billion a year.

Sadly, that will not be the focus of the treaty signed at the U.N. this Earth Day. Amid the political sloganeering for and against, we should bear in mind that we need to respond to climate change, but this treaty will do very little at a very high cost.

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to the Opinion front page and follow us on Twitter @USATOpinion

The November/December 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs features a 9 page article by Bjorn Lomborg

Promises to Keep: Crafting Better Development Goals

The November/December 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs features a 9 page article by Bjorn Lomborg. The article entitled Promises to Keep Crafting Better Development Goals, highlights the work of the Post-2015 Consensus project and the valuable knowledge the project is injecting into the post-2015 debate. Click at the link below to read the entire article on Foreign Affairs.

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Lomborg presents to the Open Working Group at the UN

Lomborg presents to the Open Working Group at the UN

Bjorn Lomborg presented at the Sixth Session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations on 13 December 2013. He addressed the need for smart targets in the setting of the Post-2015 development goals that will replace the Millennium Development Goals. Watch the entire video at the link below. Dr. Lomborg’s address begins at 20 minutes.

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Bjorn Lomborg is featured in two videos on Gates Notes, the blog of Bill Gates

Lomborg at Gates Notes

Bjorn Lomborg is featured in two videos on Gates Notes, the blog of Bill Gates. In these pieces, Lomborg addresses the issue of energy poverty and argues that the world’s poor need better access to cheap fuels, including fossil fuels. Gates states that “…we should be investing dramatically more money in R&D to make fossil fuels cleaner and make clean energy cheaper than any fossil fuel.” Find the videos and commentary from Bill Gates at the link below.

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The Skeptical Environmentalist
Measuring the Real State of the World

skepticalIn The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg challenges widely held beliefs that the global environment is progressively getting worse. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues and documents that the global environment has actually improved. He supports his argument with over 2900 footnotes, allowing discerning readers to check his sources.

Lomborg criticizes the way many environmental organizations make selective and misleading use of scientific data to influence decisions about the allocation of limited resources. The Skeptical Environmentalist is a useful corrective to the more alarmist accounts favored by green activists and the media.

… probably the most important book on the environment ever written.
The Daily Telegraph, UK, Aug 27, 2001

This is one of the most valuable books on public policy – not merely on environmental policy – to have been written for the intelligent general reader in the past ten years….The Skeptical Environmentalist is a triumph.–The Economist, June 9, 2001

The Skeptical Environmentalist is the most significant work on the environment since the appearance of its polar opposite, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in 1962. It’s a magnificent achievement.
Washington Post Book World, Oct 21, 2001