"What exactly is the difference between Lomborg and Shellenberger & Nordhaus?"
Proving conclusively that we have a long, long way to go before the mainstream media stops promoting climate
misinformation disinformation, the Washington Post gave global-warming delayer Bj¸rn Lomborg a front-page opinion piece in its Outlook section.
Lomborg repeats his nonsense about polar bears and sea level rise and why global warming (at least on Planet Lomborg) is no big deal, which I have previously debunked here and here and here respectively. He also claims Greenland’s “Kangerlussuaq glacier is inconveniently growing,” which is the opposite of what experts say here or here (if anyone has a source for Lomborg’s claim, I’d love to see it — not that Lomborg is a stickler for facts).
The reason for this post is not to debunk Lomborg again, but to answer the question posed in the headline. S&N don’t like being linked to Lomborg (see here) — who can blame them? — but I think the link is legitimate. Read Lomborg’s article. The similarities are scary. Like S&N, Lomborg acknowledges the reality of human-caused climate change. But like S&N, Lomborg attacks the climate strategy endorsed by most environmental groups:
Environmental groups say that the only way to deal with the effects of global warming is to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions — a project that will cost the world trillions.
Like S&N, Lomborg is “frustrated at our blinkered focus on policies that won’t achieve it” arguing at length that environmentalists have little to show for their efforts so far and “Proponents of pacts such as Kyoto want us to spend enormous sums of money doing very little good for the planet a hundred years from now.”
[Lomborg and S&N are convinced environmentalists have failed because they have the wrong strategy — neither appear willing to accept the possibility that a key reason environmentalists have failed is that the Deniers and Delayers have launched such an effective disinformation campaign, a campaign only now being (somewhat) effectively combated–notwithstanding Lomborg’s best efforts.]
Like S&N, Lomborg believes that instead of focusing on raising the price of carbon, “We need to reduce the cost of cutting emissions from $20 a ton to, say, $2.” Like S&N, Lomborg brings up China as a key reason for focusing on lowering costs. Finally, exactly like S&N, Lomborg argues:
The way to achieve this is to dramatically increase spending on research and development of low-carbon energy. Ideally, every nation should commit to spending 0.05 percent of its gross domestic product exploring non-carbon-emitting energy technologies, be they wind, wave or solar power, or capturing CO2 emissions from power plants. This spending could add up to about $25 billion per year but would still be seven times cheaper than the Kyoto Protocol.
Lomborg and S&N would seem a marriage made in heaven. To hold their views you must believe both 1) existing technology just can’t make a big dent in emissions at an affordable price and 2) there is “no looming apocalypse” (as Lomborg argues and as seems implicit in S&N’s repeated critiques of Gore’s supposedly apocalyptic vision — if S&N disagree, I’d love to hear it).
I strongly disagree with both statements — but I go further than simple disagreement, which is why I have spilled so much ink debunking both Lomborg and S&N. As long as Lomborg and S&N keep repeating their core positions and beliefs, they help undermine the consensus needed to achieve the urgent steps that could avoid apocalypse. In that sense, their disdain for the beliefs and the strategies of environmentalists is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Lomborg’s explicit message is — don’t worry so much about global warming. Unintentionally or not, S&N’s implicit message is the same.
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