The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming
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In this major assessment of leading climate-change skeptic Bjørn Lomborg, Howard Friel meticulously deconstructs the Danish statistician’s claim that global warming is “no catastrophe” by exposing the systematic misrepresentations and partial accounting that are at the core of climate skepticism. His detailed analysis serves not only as a guide to reading the global warming skeptics, but also as a model for assessing the state of climate science. With attention to the complexities of climate-related phenomena across a range of areas—from Arctic sea ice to the Antarctic ice sheet—The Lomborg Deception also offers readers an enlightening review of some of today’s most urgent climate concerns.
Friel’s book is the first to respond directly to Lomborg’s controversial research as published in The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001) and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (2007). His close reading of Lomborg’s textual claims and supporting footnotes reveals a lengthy list of findings that will rock climate skeptics and their allies in the government and news media, demonstrating that the published peer-reviewed climate science, as assessed mainly by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has had it mostly right—even if somewhat conservatively right—all along. Friel’s able defense of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth against Lomborg’s repeated attacks is by itself worth an attentive reading.
states that income in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase at a 3.4 percent annual rate from 1995 to 2020; however, this will increase per capita annual income from US$280 per person in 1995 in Sub-Saharan Africa to only US$359 per person in 2020. Likewise, IFPRI reports that income will rise in South Asia at an annual rate of 5 percent from 1995 to 2020; however, this will increase per capita annual income from US$350 per person in 1995 in South Asia to US$830 per person in 2020. Overall, income is
industrializing developing world, such as China and India. Whereas the developing world now is responsible for about 40 percent of the annual global carbon emissions, by the end of the century that figure will more likely be 75 percent. More CO2 will hold on to more heat and raise temperatures. This is the man-made greenhouse effect.”5 To my knowledge, this is an acceptable introductory summary of the greenhouse effect and human-induced global warming, which Lomborg supported by citing four of
“focused on five categories of health outcomes: temperature-related morbidity and mortality, the health impacts of extreme weather events (e.g., storms and floods), health outcomes associated with air pollution, water-and food-borne diseases, and vector-and rodent-borne diseases.” The Ebi Report continued: “The integrated assessment approach that was used [by the HSA] reviewed a wide-range of literature on climate and health, relied on the expert judgment of the health sector team and those with
notes, pointing to studies showing that a warmer planet would mean fewer temperature-related deaths in Europe and worldwide.8 Like Revkin, Tierney unquestioningly accepted Lomborg’s argument. If he had checked, he might well have come across the “Human Health” chapter in the 2007 IPCC assessment report, which extensively examined the direct and indirect impacts of rising temperatures on human mortality.9 This part of the report concluded that global warming will “bring some benefits to
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2008). 8. Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, 4, 354. 9. Ibid., 5. 10. Ibid. 11. “World Food Summit: November 13–17, 1996: Rome, Italy: Technical Background Document: FAO, 1966,” Table 3, last accessed on July 24, 2009, at http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/w2612e/w2612e01.htm. 12. “The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Food Insecurity: When People Must Live with Hunger and Fear