The Electric Commentary

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Al v. Bjorn

Al Gore testified yesterday, but so did skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg. It should be pointed out that Lomborg isn't actually that skeptical about global warming, just about how we should handle it:

“We need to know just how many more heat deaths we can expect compared with how many fewer cold deaths,” Lomborg said. He cited statistics that showed that each year about 1.5 million people die from excessive cold in Europe, more than seven times the heat deaths. “That we so easily forget these deaths and so easily embrace the exclusive worry about global warming tells us of a breakdown inour sense of proportion,” Lomborg said.

On the issue of sea level change, Lomborg asked, “How is it possible that one of today’s strongest voices on climate change can say something so dramatically different from the est science (provided by the IPCC)?” He added, “IPCC estimates a foot, Gore tops them 20 times.”

Gore’s prediction that if Greenland melted or broke up and slipped into the sea or if half of Greenland and half of Antarctica id the same thing, sea levels worldwide would increase between 18 and 20 feet, Lomborg said, is “simply positing a hypothetical and then in full graphic and gory detail showing us what – hypothetically – would happen to Miami, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, Dhaka and then New York.”

Lomborg said stronger and more frequent hurricanes have been cited as a calamity of global warming, yet the most reputable scientific sources have drawn no firm conclusions. “When Al Gore tells us that there is a ‘scientific consensus’ that global warming is making hurricanes more powerful and more destructive, it is incorrect.”

The recent increase in human suffering and economic impact as a result of tropical cyclones “has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions,” Lomborg said. “There are many more people, residing in much more vulnerable areas, with many more assets to lose,” he said. “In the U.S. today, the two coastal South Florida counties, Dade and Broward, are home to more people than the number of people who lived in 1930 in all 109 coastal counties stretching from Texas through irginia, along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.”

Gore’s assertions that malaria has increased as a result of global warming are similarly flawed, Lomborg said. “Like most stories, there is at core some truth to the claim that malaria will increase with temperature, but it is a small part compared to richness and health infrastructure,” he said. “Even if we could entirely stop global warming today…we would only change malaria risk in 2085 by 3.2 percent.” Even with a “stringent climate policy” Lomborg said studies show “there is little clear effect by the 2080s.”

“Compare this to current expectations that we can cut malaria incidence to about half to three‐fourths by 2015 for about $3 billion annually – or 2 percent of the cost of Kyoto,” Lomborg said.

More here.


  • Gore exaggerates, nothing new. I haven't seen his movie, but everything I've seen and heard suggests he's still at it.

    I think the idea is that you have to make it as compelling as possible in order to get people to pay attention.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 7:37 PM  

  • yes, scott, for example WMD's in Iraq

    By Blogger Realism, at 10:07 AM  

  • Realism, I think there is a difference between telling people the worst case (yet possible) scenario to draw attention to an issue that has been neglected for decades and actively misrepresenting and coercing intelligence reports.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 10:50 PM  

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