Lomborg flip-flop: “Climate change is undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today.”

The one-time “Skeptical Environmentalist” now says, “man-made global warming exists” and “we have long moved on from any mainstream disagreements about the science of climate change.”

Climate ‘sceptic’ Bj¸rn Lomborg now believes global warming is one of world’s greatest threats

One of the world’s most prominent climate change sceptics has called for a $100bn fund to fight the effects of global warning, after rethinking his views on the severity of the threat.

That’s the UK Telegraph’s headline.

Bj¸rn Lomborg: the dissenting climate change voice who changed his tune

With his new book, Danish scientist Bj¸rn Lomborg has become an unlikely advocate for huge investment in fighting global warming….

That’s from the Guardian’s headline.

The key phrase is “With his new book.” Lomborg is shilling a new book, and he knows he can’t keep running the same tired old story that fears about global warming are overblown. The contrarian needed to go reverse contrarian.

As the Guardian put it, “Lomborg is most vulnerable to allegations of a volte-face on the need to take action on climate change and the value of doing so.” Instead of titling the book Smart Solutions to Climate Change, the Danish chameleon should have called it The Bjorn Identity.

Of course, Lomborg doesn’t really know anything about the solutions and most of the people he got to write essays for his book don’t either — and there’s no way of telling if in a few years Lomborg won’t just stick his finger in the wind and flip flop again if that seems like the way to get attention. So I can’t imagine why someone would want to buy this book.

Lomborg is, after all, one of the most debunked writers on climate in the world — see “Lomborg’s main argument has collapsed” and buy The Lomborg Deception.

In the final paragraph of the book, Lomborg provides a seemingly strong call to action:

If we care about the environment and about leaving this planet and its inhabitants with the best possible future, we actually have only one option: we all need to start seriously focusing, right now, on the most effective ways to fix global warming.”

And in his Guardian interview:

… he raises the possibility of “something really bad lurking around the corner”: the small-chance, big-consequence outcome his previous work appeared to dismiss.

But the penultimate paragraph of the book tells you everything you need to know about Lomborg’s new “thinking” and this book:

It is unfortunate that so many policy makers and campaigners have become fixated on cutting carbon in the near term as the chief response to global warming.

Seriously.

As the Guardian notes:

he is still deeply critical of the dominant, cutting-carbon approach, which four of the five economists who were asked to rank the options put at the bottom of their lists.

Yes, well, if you talk to the economists that Lomborg talks to, you’d end up befuddled, too.

That’s why it’s always better to listen to serious climate scientists about this sort of thing. As Ken Caldeira put it (and he didn’t need a whole book):

I believe the correct CO2 emission target is zero. I believe that it is essentially immoral for us to be making devices (automobiles, coal power plants, etc) that use the atmosphere as a sewer for our waste products. I am in favor of outlawing production of such devices as soon as possible”¦.

Every carbon dioxide emission adds to climate damage and increasing risk of catastrophic consequences. There is no safe level of emission.

I compare CO2 emissions to mugging little old ladies “¦ It is wrong to mug little old ladies and wrong to emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The right target for both mugging little old ladies and carbon dioxide emissions is zero.

And that’s from one of the leading proponents of pursuing geo-engineering R&D.

Lomborg’s “solution” is to mostly skip the CO2 reductions and focus on geo-engineering and energy R&D and non-CO2 GHGs. In 2009, Caldeira explained to me why the vision of Lomborg’s Climate Consensus is “a dystopic world out of a science fiction story.” As Caldeira told the WashPost:

“Geoengineering is not an alternative to carbon emissions reductions,” he said. “If emissions keep going up and up, and you use geoengineering as a way to deal with it, it’s pretty clear the endgame of that process is pretty ugly.”

The easiest way to see that Lomborg hasn’t really changed his stripes is to go to his Copenhagen Consensus website and read an article he posted just this month, “New Project Syndicate article by Lomborg: ‘Who’s Afraid of Climate Change’.” You’ll learn that:

More often than not, what sound like horrific changes in climate and geography actually turn out to be manageable — and in some cases even benign.

And he is talking about a “collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet” that “would likely cause the oceans to rise by perhaps 20 feet over the next hundred years”!

But no worries, mate, because Lomborg says it wouldn’t be all that calamitous. It would only cost “$600 billion a year, or less than 1% of global GDP.” He asserts “only about 15 million people would have to be relocated. And that is over the course of a century.”

That’s utter nonsense, of course — and I debunk it at length in my post, The Lomborg Deception.

But utter nonsense is what we have come to expect from Lomborg.

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