At least 75 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change, but not only are fossil fuel...
Copenhagen Consensus Center
A billionaire “vulture capitalist” and major backer of the US Republican Party is a major funder of the think tank of Danish climate science contrarian and fossil fuels advocate Bjørn Lomborg, DeSmogBlog has found.
New York-based hedge fund manager Paul Singer’s charitable foundation gave $200,000 to Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) in 2013, latest US tax disclosures reveal.
The grant to Lomborg’s think tank is revealed in the tax form of the Paul E. Singer Foundation covering that foundation’s activities between December 2012 and November 2013.
Singer, described as a “passionate defender of the 1%”, has emerged as a major force in the Republican party in recent years and was a key backer and influencer during Mitt Romney’s failed tilt at the Presidency.
The $200,000 grant represented almost one third of the $621,057 in donations declared by the Copenhagen Consensus Center in 2013.
A spokesperson for the think tank told DeSmogBlog that “not one dollar” of the Singer grant had been spent.
This is a guest post by Climate Nexus.
Bjorn Lomborg’s latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal resurrects repeatedly demolished distortions of fact to downplay the real and increasingly documented threats of climate change. His trademark tactic is to acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, only to then dismiss the solutions—reducing emissions and promoting clean energy now—as unnecessary or infeasible.
Fortunately, his longstanding fight against climate action is failing to persuade the public, as an overwhelming majority of Americans understand that climate change is a serious threat and that we’re already feeling the impacts. More to the point they support action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially through continued expansion of clean energy and new rules for coal-fired power plants.
Mr. Lomborg has relied on similar distortions for his arguments many times before, even drawing censure from the Danish government for his “perversion of the scientific method.”
After the release of Lomborg’s “deeply flawed” book The Skeptical Environmentalist, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science remarked that Lomborg’s work was a testament to the “vulnerability of the scientific process…to outright misrepresentation and distortion.” One researcher decided to fact check Lomborg’s claims, and had so much material that Yale published it as a book: The Lomborg Deception. In the book, Lomborg’s many sloppy citations and misleading myths are thoroughly debunked, but that hasn’t stopped him from repeating the same general arguments in years since.
When it comes to climate, he insists over and over: Don’t worry, be deceived.
No doubt a few eyebrows were raised and possibly some palms smashed against faces earlier this year when the richest person on the planet came out in qualified support of policies to burn massive amounts of coal in the developing world.
Gates opined that “as we push to get serious about confronting climate change” it was wrong for rich countries to tell developing countries that they should cut back on burning fossil fuels. He wrote:
For one thing, poor countries represent a small part of the carbon-emissions problem. And they desperately need cheap sources of energy now to fuel the economic growth that lifts families out of poverty. They can’t afford today’s expensive clean energy solutions, and we can’t expect them wait for the technology to get cheaper.
Gates urged people to consider the view of Lomborg and his think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Alongside the blog post were two “GatesNotes” branded videos where Lomborg presented his arguments.
In the videos Lomborg said it was “hypocritical” for the developed world to try and deny poor countries access to fossil fuels when so much of the developed world is still fueled on them. Lomborg also linked the issue of reducing the impacts of indoor air pollution to increasing use of fossil fuels.
In the video, Lomborg said:
The solution to indoor air pollution is very, very simple. It’s getting people access to modern energy and typically that’s electricity and that’s going to mean fossil fuels for those three billion people who don’t have access. We have a very clear moral imperative to make sure that people don’t cook with dirty fuels and make sure those people get out of poverty and have a decent life.
The World Health Organization says indoor air pollution caused by the burning of fuels like wood, dung and coal (Lomborg didn’t mention coal) kills about four million people a year.
While Lomborg argued that the “simple” solution to indoor air pollution is access to coal-powered electricity, the more immediate solution is access to cleaner-burning cooking stoves, according to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Radha Muthia, the executive director of the alliance, wrote to the New York Times in December last year after the newspaper had published a column where Lomborg had again argued that while more efficient cooking stoves “could help” what the world really needed were “low cost fossil fuels” – chiefly, coal.
Muthia wrote that “fossil fuels are not the only solution” and that the “stakes are too high” to rest on Lomborg’s assumption.
Copenhagen Consensus Center
The Copenhagen Consensus Center is a think tank registered in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington DC. The CCC says its role is to publicize “the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money”.
At a June 19 speaking event at London's Chatham House, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed the Russian government is covertly working to discredit hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the west from afar.
“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” said Rasmussen, the former Prime Minister of Denmark.
Rasmussen's comments were relayed to the press by someone in attendance who apparently broke the “Chatham House Rule” by telling outsiders about the content of a Chatham House meeting.
Anders Fog Rasmussen; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
But Rasmussen left out some key context from his presentation, which he said “is my interpretation” and did not further elaborate on his “disinformation operations” comments.
That is, while powerful actors have claimed on multiple occasions that western-based anti-fracking activists are funded by the Kremlin, no one has ever documented such a relationship in the form of a money paper trail.
In early 2012, it seemed like the future of Bjørn Lomborg’s influential think tank was in serious doubt.
The Danish Government had changed its political stripes and the millions in public funds that had poured into his Copenhagen Consensus Center had come to an abrupt halt.
Lomborg told The Ecologist magazine he was worried there would be a limited pool of donors willing to part with cash to support his work.
“We have to make sure that that funding, if it’s going to go forward, is unassailable,” Lomborg said.
The impression back in 2012 might have been that Lomborg’s think tank was struggling for cash, but a DeSmogBlog investigation suggests the opposite.
The nonprofit Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) has spent almost $1 million on public relations since registering in the US in 2008. More than $4 million in grants and donations have flooded in since 2008, three quarters of which came in 2011 and 2012.
In one year alone, the Copenhagen Consensus Center paid Lomborg $775,000.
Finally, a vestigial government-funded program actually worth cutting gets taken out as Denmark's new regime change is opting to excise Bjorn Lomborg's $1.6 million in funding for his Copenhagen Consensus Center.
“It’s been very strange that particular researchers have received special treatment due to ideology. We’re going to run fiscal policy differently,” said Ida Auken from the Socialist People's Party.
Lomborg is notorious for touting economic woes pertaining to the costs of mitigating climate change. He has often suggested that it is either too expensive to tax carbon and cap emissions to solve climate change, except when he was advocating his 1900 robotic ship army idea to spray sea water and ameliorate warming through geoengineering.
Either way, the almighty free market that laissez-faire economists pray to has spoken (Lomborg's movie 'Cool It' raked in all of $62,713 in box office sales), and it's out with excessive climate-denier-mobiles. It's like the irony is killing…off his program. Literally.
The most successful Libertarian politician in Canadian history, Globe and Mail columnist Neil Reynolds, has joined the campaign to do nothing about climate change, basing his argument (A Net-Benefit Greenhouse Gas Plan - Less is Really More) not on the work of anyone who actually studies climate science, but rather on two economists with a track record of trying to discourage action.
Most famous of these is Bjorn Lomborg, the Disingenuous Environmentalist and director of a Danish think tank that specialilzes in understating the costs of climate change and overestimating the costs of taking preventative action.
In the run-up to the United Nations meeting scheduled for his hometown in December, Lomborg’s Copenhagen Concensus Center has commissioned 21 reports “to examine the costs and
benefits of different solutions to global warming.” The most recent result, a paper by the economist Richard Tol (inset), gives a good indication of how agenda-driven and, in some regards, surprisingly unprofessional, those papers might be.
For the uninitiated, this event is where a group of right wing economists, hand picked by Bjorn Lomborg, paid for by the conference organized by Bjorn Lomborg, will rank a laundry list of the Earth’s ills based on an arbitrary budget and timeline.