After multiple viewings, I’m still uncertain what Lomborg’s aim is here. His most substantive suggestion is to protect the poor from natural disasters.
His larger narrative, clearly, is that the climate-change “alarmists” are maniacal. But if you look carefully at each of his supporting arguments, little deceptions are discernable. Some examples:
The point about Antarctic sea ice would probably startle most of us. If it’s true, why doesn’t Lomborg say more about it? Does it mean ocean levels will not rise? And if so, why is this fact not being trumpeted to counter all the climate-change hype?
It’s because it doesn’t affect the larger global-warming reality. (Check out this article.) Rising average global temperatures do not have a uniform effect across every location, and Lomborg knows this. But if he only says that ice is decreasing in the Arctic and increasing in the Antarctic, then it sounds like a self-correcting system and presumably sea levels will not rise.
For those of us not too good at calculus, the above statements might be easy to interpret as “the sea-rising nightmare is starting to end.” But, no. First, the rise doesn’t have to be accelerating for it to be disastrous. If it rises at a constant, non-accelerating rate each decade, that means it will keep rising—ten feet, then twenty, then etc. Second, even the “decline in the rate” cited in two cherry-picked papers wouldn’t mean the rise is reversing—the sea would still be rising.
Maybe Lomborg thinks the number of people who could be confused by that math is miniscule.
“Adjust for population and wealth”? What possible relevance does that have to changes in hurricane characteristics? Does increasing hurricane severity not matter, as long as the financial costs are contained?
Baloney—the severity is what’s relevant to the discussion about climate change. Lomborg has cleverly switched over to an irrelevant metric. He continues with this misdirection later:
Wait, what? “The poor” normally brought up in in the context of climate change are in places such as Bangladesh… what good is increasing their incomes if their land completely disappears?
This isn’t of course to say that helping the poor is a bad thing; it’s just, wasn’t this presentation supposed to be about climate change?
Finally, something we can all agree about: a one-sided focus on worst-case stories is a poor foundation for sound policies. But—wait, did Lomborg establish that people are promoting a one-sided focus on worst-case stories?
He hasn’t in this video, for sure. That doesn’t mean, of course, that no one focuses on worst-case stories. How likely is it, though, that most writers or policymakers are doing so? You’d think there are enough eyes on the science that the view getting communicated to the public is relatively balanced. Lomborg hasn’t given us any reason to think otherwise.
At any rate, on to what we as a society should (or should not) do about climate change…
Totally confusing: is Lomborg arguing for or against investing in solar and wind energy? If against, then what other “green energy” is he advocating? Nuclear energy? If so, why doesn’t he come out and say that? So, again, it’s really unclear what action he advocates, aside from helping the poor.
Admittedly, it still is possible that climate activists are hyping things way too much. But the way in which Lomborg grasps at straws here, he only weakens that case. If these flimsy arguments are the only ones he can come up with, maybe greater alarm really is called for!