Lomborg Speaks About Global Warming

by William Yeatman on June 22, 2002

At a briefing in Capital Hill on October 5 Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, once a member of Greenpeace, argued that predictions of the world heading for ruin are wrong. In 1997 he set out to challenge acclaimed economist Julian Simon who refuted environmentalist claims that the world was running out of resources. Lomborg discovered that the data on a whole supported Simon. “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Lomborg’s new book is a composite of graphs, charts and statistics that factually show the earth’s environment is steadily improving.

His book asserts among other things that the global warming issue is overblown. In short he attests, “Things are getting better.” In his presentation, Lomborg said that global warming is a real issue, but suggested that the prime danger is the Kyoto Treaty, which he cites as a grand waste of money. He said, “Essentially Kyoto will do very little to change global warming. On the other hand Kyoto will be very expensive. It will cost anywhere from $150-350 billion a year, and that’s a lot of money when compared to the total global aid of $50 billion a year. Basically, just for one year of Kyoto, we could give clean drinking water and sanitation to every person on earth. This would avoid 2 million deaths a year, and assist half a billion people from not getting seriously ill each year.”

Environmentalists tend to be ecologically pessimistic about the future. Veterans of the environmental movement such as Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University and Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute have formed a litany of fears. These fears include depletion of natural resources, ever-growing population, extinction of species and pollution of the planet’s air and water. However, Lomborg’s approach is decidedly different. He says, “We must remove our myths about an imminent doomsday and remember we do not have to act in total desperation. Essential information is necessary to making the best possible decisions. Statistics tell you how the world is. Resources have become even more abundant and things are likely to progress in the future.”

The briefing was sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition, made up of 23 non-profit organizations that work on global warming issues.

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