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

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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 7 people found this review helpful.

Bjorn Lomborg's 'Cool It' Spouts More Hot Air

Like his earlier work, 'The Skeptical Environmentalist,' which prominent Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson called a 'sordid mess' and was found to have cherry-picked the facts, Bjorn Lombord's latest effort, 'Cool It' is more hot air. Lomborg's basic thesis, that 'scare-...
Like his earlier work, 'The Skeptical Environmentalist,' which prominent Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson called a 'sordid mess' and was found to have cherry-picked the facts, Bjorn Lombord's latest effort, 'Cool It' is more hot air. Lomborg's basic thesis, that 'scare-monger' environmentalists have over-hyped the threat of climate change and that we shouldn't take any serious action to tackle the climate crisis because doing so would harm economic growth that poor people need requires a particularly slanted view of the world and rests on 'facts' selectively picked to support his arguments as he ignores a vast body of science. As economist Eban Goodstein's review of 'Cool It' in Salon writes: 'In 'Cool It,' Lomborg has three messages. First, the planet will warm up no more than 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit this century, and on balance, this will be bad, but not too bad. Second, all benefit-cost models show that serious limits on global warming emissions are too costly, and therefore we should pollute with virtual impunity. And -- surprisingly -- we should invest a decent amount '$25 billion per year' in clean energy technologies now so that, starting in a few decades, we will have tools to slow down global warming just a little bit through 2100.' While I can't agree more with the third point, his first two messages are quite frankly bull. Lomborg's first agrument assumes that global warming will be held to 'only' 4.7 degrees F. First off, that's a swing of temperatures halfway to ice age proportions 'the last ice age was only 9 degrees F colder than today'. Not a big deal, eh? Lomborg argues that as the temperatures heat up, deaths from heat waves will be offset by less deaths from cold exposure. This contradicts the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's authoritative Fourth Assessment Report, released earlier this year. The report does agree that cold deaths will decrease with warming, but says that while 'climate change is projected to bring some benefits, such as fewer deaths from cold exposure ... overall it is expected that these benefits will be outweighed by the negative health benefits of rising temperatures, especially worldwide.' So sure, Mr. Lomborg, less people will die of cold exposure in rich countries in Northern climes. But at the same time, the IPCC report warns that literally billions of people will be affected by water and food shortages, droughts, floods, storms, etc. People in poorer developing countries, the people Lomborg supposedly cares so much about, will be most severely affected. These aren't the made-up scenarios of 'fear-mongering environmentalists.' They're the warnings of an international body of the world's top climate scientists, literally hundreds of them, and the report they produced is truly a consensus document every word in the 'summary for policymakers' report I referenced above has to be approved by representatives of 130+ countries 'including representatives of the Bush Administration'! In fact, throughout his book, Lomborg cites the IPCC report like gospel, all the while selectively ignoring much that doesn't serve his arguments. For example, in assuming that temperatures will not warm by more than 4.7 degrees, despite the inaction that he advocates, he ignores the fact that the IPCC includes a range of temperature estimates going all the way up to 10.5 degrees. The most crucial error in the book - the most glaring oversight that disqualifies the book as a serious examination of the risks and tradeoffs of climate change - is that Lomborg ignores the existence of powerful climate feedback loops hidden within the climate system. As Eban Goodstein writes,: 'The global warming 'alarmism' that Lomborg finds so distasteful is motivated by a serious, science-driven concern that hidden within our global climate system are powerful positive feedback loops. So that as we inch up from 3 to 4 and then 4 to 5 degrees of warming, we may

posted by Anonymous on September 6, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    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 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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2007

    Some common sense about global warming

    When I first saw this title I thought 'Oh man, another book about global warming.' But then, I saw it was by Bjorn Lomborg and started to read the back cover. This book has to be the most refreshing work on global warming I have read in a long while. The author does not deny that global warming exists, and that we are a factor in its rise. Instead he argues that perhaps there are other things we should be more concerned about. The author also suggests that there are different aspects to the global warming debate that are left out, whether on purpose, or due to poor science. Above all, the book offers rational and constructive advice for all people to consider. If you only read one book about Global Warming make it this one. (As trite as that sounds)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    Bjorn Lomborg does a great job of describing the global warming 'catastrophe'. He does not just jump all in to a conclusion but thinks about this decision a bit. He does admit that global warming is a problem, but right now we don't have the technology or knowledge to solve this global problem efficiently. It makes more sense to solve the pressing issues of today's world and concentrate more on finding a better solution rather than solving global warming with the ineffective plan we have now. Lomborg really makes some good comparisons, but he does not write this book strictly focused on his opinion. He provides facts to support his ideas, and he shows both sides of the debate.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2007

    A refreshing look at the state of the world and the hysteria surrounding global warming

    The great thing about this book is that it looks at the environment and the problems surrounding it with a level-headed and democratic mindset. Everything you read about global warming in the media today leads you to believe that the world is heading toward extinction. It was nice to read something that did not try to scare me into supporting an agenda. Aside from obvious grammer problems, 'Jesse Jenkins, a energy and climate change blogger' (the reviewer below) seemed to have a strong pre-determined view of the environment and likes to spit out stats that don't mean much to people to try and get an agenda across. That is exactly what this book is talking about. Lomborg realizes that global warming IS something that needs to given attention, but it should be looked at with a level-head and a composed mindset. He points out that scare tactics and hysteria do not lead to good debate and it causes us to waste money where it could be put to better use.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Snowclaw

    Can I have this house?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    Must Read

    A refreshing perspective on ehat is actualy emportant

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    To snowclaw

    Yes bank account number is 876 bank is result 1

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Kimberly to Kake

    Hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 22, 2011

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    Posted April 27, 2011

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    Posted February 22, 2010

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    Posted November 13, 2010

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