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Bjorn Lomborg, the Not-So-Skeptical Environmental Skeptic

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday September 1st, 2010 | 0 Comments

(Also reported on by RP Siegel here) The economist and author Bjorn Lomborg has been called the Danish doubter and compared to Adolf Hitler because of his failure to add the human element into his analysis of the climate crisis. In his books The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, published in 2001 and 2007, respectively, he took a non-alarmist line with respect to environmental degradation, saying that while global warming is obviously real, we should first put global energy into fixing other problems.

But Lomborg’s newest contribution to bookshelves takes a new tack. In Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits, due out next month, he advocates throwing a great deal of monetary resources at fighting climate change—to the tune of $100 billion each year. He tells the Guardian that this new book does not represent an about-face, however.
If one simply judges his books by their covers (or rather, titles), he is at least changing his tune a bit.
Given that his research for his new book centered on polling his economist peers on how money should best be spent to solve the climate crisis within this decade, he’s still far from a bleeding-heart enviro, however, and that’s a good thing.
It seems likely that Lomborg will remain, for better or for worse, somewhat of a pariah among environmentalist because he’s still advocating that a potion of the dollars thrown at low-carbon energy generation go toward developing fusion and fission, as well as climate engineering.
Still, at least one key figure seems to be warming (ha!) to the new Lomborg. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Guardian reports, said this about the new title: “This book provides not only a reservoir of information on the reality of human-induced climate change, but raises vital questions and examines viable options on what can be done.”
Of course, the Pachauri is carrying his own load of political baggage these days, so it might not be the best endorsement for Lomborg.
Sound off below: Is Lomborg changing his colors or just re-wording his old rhetoric?

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