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In which I sympathize with Bjorn Lomborg.

February 21, 2012

There are times when one re-examines something that at the time one originally encounters it prompted thoughts and feelings different from what one currently feels and thinks. So it was with an interesting opinion piece by Bjorn Lomborg that appeared in “The Nation”, Thailand’s other english language news paper a few months back. It was written by Bjorn Lomborg one of about three Climate Change deniers often trotted out in the name of fair and balanced whenever an actual climate scientist refers to recent changes in the world’s weather and its long-term trends. None of the three or so, as far as I know, have ever done any climate research themselves.

There used to be a fourth denier that the media used to appeal to. Unfortunately, when he scored the money from an oil company funded foundation opposed to actions proposed to deal with the effects of climate change that enabled him to do his own research, his findings confirmed the existence of recent human induced impacts on the world’s climate. So, he seems to have lost his job as a professional testifier. As a result the media appears to have lost interest in his opinion.

What Lomborg seemed to argue in his opinion piece was that Climate Change does not exist because, in fact, Climate Change is not so bad and may even be good for you. In support of this argument by non-sequitur, he points to a recent UN sponsored study that asserted that both existing warm areas and cold areas will warm and concludes that as everyone knows there are many more people who die of freezing to death in the cold than there are people who die burnt to a crisp in the sun. (He is probably right. Score one point for him.)

He goes on to argue that floods happen in places prone to floods and that there is no evidence that increased moisture in the air actually will fall in these areas. (Another point for him. Climate scientists agree when they caution that although increased flooding is consistent with Climate Change one should refrain from concluding that any single flood is the effect of changes to weather patterns.)

He then refers to the finding in the UN report that suggests that we should expect hurricane storms’ strength to increase, but that there should be fewer of them and asserts that this is a positive effect of rising atmospheric temperatures. (I am equivocal on this, so no points for either side.)

He then continues that the only reason there are damages from hurricanes, including the predicted stronger ones, is because humans persist in living is places they shouldn’t. (Another point for him. Radical environmentalists agree that people should not be encouraged to live in flood plains and other hazard areas by governmental action like subsidized flood insurance. Now if we can get them together with the conservative economists who argue unemployment does not exist because the worker is simply unwilling to move his life and family somewhere else to search for a job, we can for example, eliminate economic development funding and tax benefits to Florida and Texas and refuse public assistance to them following natural disasters because people shouldn’t live there and if they were not so lazy and subsidized they would pick up and move to a more accommodating environment, like Canada. Damn, he gets two points here.)

Score: Lomborg 3, hysterical climate scientists 0.

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