Customer Reviews for

Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Sensible proposals for coping with the consequences of global warming

Bjørn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, has written another well-researched book. As he writes, ¿Global warming is happening, the consequences are important and mostly negative.¿ He notes that the 2...
Bjørn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, has written another well-researched book. As he writes, ¿Global warming is happening, the consequences are important and mostly negative.¿ He notes that the 2007 International Panel on Climate Change has predicted rises of 1.50C by 2050 and 2.50C by 2100, which will raise sea levels and increase malaria, starvation and poverty. But, Lomborg argues, it does not follow that directly combating climate change through cutting CO2 will do most to maximise human welfare. Preventing disease, providing clean drinking water and feeding people could do more good more cheaply. What are the options? We could, for example, spend $3 billion a year on mosquito eradication, medicine and mosquito nets: this would halve malaria incidence (2 billion infections and one million deaths every year) by 2015. We could spend $4 billion a year on helping three billion people to access clean water and sanitation. Or, by contrast, we could do what the EU tells us and spend $84 trillion to cut CO2 emissions to 20% below 1990 levels, to ensure that the temperature rises by no more than 20C above pre-industrial times. Yet this hugely expensive effort would have only a tiny effect: it would be 2.480C hotter than now by 2100 instead of by 2098. And a 2.5% rise is only what the IPCC predicted would happen anyway! As a 2007 peer-reviewed study in the journal Energy Policy concluded, ¿the 20C target of the EU seems unfounded.¿ Lomborg shows that the consequences of global warming will not be as bad as they have been painted. For example, the IPCC predicted that sea-levels would rise by 29 cm by 2100 (the same as the rise since 1860), as against the 20 feet that Al Gore publicises. We could cope with this by better use of floodplains, more wetlands, stricter building policies and fewer floodplain subsidies. Lomborg shows that global warming does not cause extreme weather events, which are anyway not curable by cutting CO2. The IPCC said of the Hollywood/Pentagon/Al Gore picture of a new ice age triggered by a shutdown of the Gulf Stream, ¿we can confidently exclude this scenario.¿ Fossil fuels have grown the industries that produce the goods we need and give us low-cost light, heat, food, travel and trade. As Lomborg writes, ¿a world without fossil fuels ¿ is a lot like a world gone medieval.¿ So he argues that we need to spend far more on researching renewable energy and energy efficiency. Directly cutting CO2 would be hugely expensive. Lomborg argues that we should do what is both cheaper and more effective - cope with the consequences of global warming rather than try to stop it at source. If he is right, we would maximise human welfare not by rolling back our civilisation¿s industrial advance, but by using our industrial ingenuity and know-how to prevent disease, provide people with food and water, and develop energy resources.

posted by Anonymous on April 28, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Skewed and Damaging

While Lumborg is certainly entitled to his own opinion, his facts are hand-picked and do not represent the whole global warming picture. Idly allowing an increase of 4 and a half degrees is insane due to the costs of dealing with the consequences. Displacement from ri...
While Lumborg is certainly entitled to his own opinion, his facts are hand-picked and do not represent the whole global warming picture. Idly allowing an increase of 4 and a half degrees is insane due to the costs of dealing with the consequences. Displacement from rising ocean levels, droughts and monsoons due to shifting weather patterns, and the subsequent loss of farmland are reasons alone to try to keep global warming to a minimum doing whatever we can. Ignoring the feedback loops is just as dangerous, and while Lumborg argues against sensationalist environmentalism, it is no more sensational or emotional to appeal to the natural laziness of the average person.

posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Kate

    Here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2008

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