Clean Slate? Asking Bjorn Lomborg To Help Figure Out ‘The Most Pressing Issue Facing’ America Is Like…

  • “ … asking Ted Cruz to help you defuse a hostage situation”
  • “… asking Miley Cyrus to oversee the FCC’s new codes and standards.”
  • “… asking Charlie Sheen to chaperone your daughter on a trip to Las Vegas.”

I like Slate. I check it out every day. It has must-read bloggers like Matthew Yglesias and Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait. Plus it has just the right amount of quirkiness.

But, like your best friend who is seeing the “wrong” guy or gal, Slate is being led astray by its inexplicable love affair with Bjorn Lomborg, who is probably the most widely debunked climate confusionist in the world (see, for instance, “Climate Science Rapid Response Team debunks Bjorn Lomborg’s Washington Post op-ed”).

It is bad enough that Slate runs anti-science columns that promote inaction on the gravest threat humanity faces by a guy who writes the same exact stuff for Rupert Murdoch — see “Lomborg Urges Climate Inaction With Misleading Stats In Wall Street Journal.”


But it’s time for Slate’s friends to end their silence now that it has gone from occasionally dating Lomborg to exchanging vows:

It is fairly obvious to anyone not taken in by anti-science confusionism what the most pressing issue facing America over the next 30 years is (see “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces” and “Syria Today Is A Preview Of Memorial Day, 2030”).

But Slate has decided to answer that question by partnering with the guy who made his bones using misleading statistics to downplay the danger posed by that very issue! Talk about not starting with a clean slate.

I asked environmental communications and public health expert Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University for a comment — and he felt obliged to stand up at the wedding and object:

“Apparently the management at Slate Magazine has decided to no longer engage in serious journalism by partnering with Bjorn Lomborg in this gimmick.”

So what exactly is Slate doing? Lomborg explains:

In 2040, the United States will differ greatly from the country we know today. Demographics trends will continue to reshape it, making it an older, more ethnically diverse nation. It will also become a denser, more urban population, which will affect the way we eat, work, shop, and relax. The policies the U.S. pursues at home will also affect the role that the nation plays in the world as a dynamic society and economy. These internal and external pressures create the need for robust policy solutions that address the country’s most vexing challenges and transcend today’s hyperpartisan, short-term decision making.

That is why the Copenhagen Consensus Center is launching the American Prosperity Consensus project in partnership with Slate….

The American Prosperity Consensus is designed as a competition of sorts. After we determine the most pressing issues according to reader input, we will ask economists and academics to propose policy solutions that best address these challenges while enabling America’s prosperity to continue and expand. With your help and with the guidance of Nobel laureates, we will create a list of top proposals. A final ranking will emerge from ongoing online debates and from the American Prosperity Summit, to be held in May 2014.

File that under “summits we can skip.” Or “summits that are really nadirs.”

If you want, you can offer your suggestions to Slate here or is it here or maybe here — there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus on that.


FWIW, I tend to think that next to global warming, one of the most pressing issues facing America is the media’s over-reliance on widely-debunked, non-credible sources, which poisons the atmosphere for a genuine discussion of our biggest problems and their best solutions. Let’s hope at least one of those two issues makes Slate’s final cut.