bjorn lomborg

The Millions Behind Bjorn Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Center US Think Tank

Bjorn Lomborg

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. 

On Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, CNBC Host Joe Kernen Mocks Climate Investments

This is a guest post by Brad Johnson, cross-posted from Hill Heat

CNBC host Joe Kernen marked the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by questioning the wisdom of investing to protect utility customers from extreme weather. In an interview with Steve Holliday, the CEO of utility company National Grid, Kernen cited Bjorn Lomborg's recent global warming denial op-ed in the Washington Post, “Don't Blame Climate Change for Extreme Weather.”

Kernen's repeated dismissal of global warming and attacks on climate scientists and activists as the “eco-taliban” have spurred a 45,000-signature petition drive organized by climate accountability group Forecast the Facts.

New Danish Government Axes Bjorn Lomborg's $1.6 Million In Funding

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.

How The Australian Newspaper Warps The World of Climate Science

Cover of Bad news, an essay by Robert Manne

THERE is a publication in Australia where for every one story you read which agrees society should take firm steps to combat climate change, there are four stories suggesting we shouldn’t.

When climate change is viewed through the pages of this publication, most of the world’s “experts” think it’s either not happening, not worth worrying about or not caused by humans.

Advocates for strong action on climate change are variously described as “prophets of doom”, “greenhouse hysterics” or “hair-shirted greenhouse penitents”. 

As extreme as these positions might appear, this publication is not a newsletter from a fringe group or a bulletin from the Tea Party.
 
This is the divisive state of climate change science in the pages of the nation’s sole national newspaper The Australian, according to a 115-page examination of the publication’s role in shaping how Australia thinks.
 
The essay – Bad News (paywalled) - is written by author Professor Robert Manne, one of the country’s leading political thinkers.
 

Gambling when we don’t have to

Two weeks ago, I visited the office of a friend of mine, a partner at a top cleantech Silicon Valley law firm. He and I shared a concern about the increasingly hostile, anti-clean energy propaganda from dirty energy-funded critics who are trying to position clean energy as expensive, subsidy-dependent, and “not ready.” The good news, my friend said, was that he’s increasingly hearing from cleantech executives and investors concerned about these growing attacks on their investments. The bad news was that many of those concerned don’t connect the attacks with the dirty energy money that’s funding them.

Now what cleantech needs to hear is, ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy’,” he told me. “These [dirty energy] guys are out to kick our butts, and they will if we let them.”

I think my friend is right. However, after attending last week’s Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, I think there’s a ways to go before enough cleantech players see that dirty energy is using media and government to protect its capital investments and decades-long feeding at the public trough.

Andy Revkin Reviews Bjorn Lomborg's New Film 'Cool It'

Andy Revkin has posted an initial review on his Dot Earth blog about Bjorn Lomborg’s new film ‘Cool It.’

Head over to Dot Earth to read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt of important points and observations from Revkin about the film:

In “Cool It,” Lomborg breezily ticks down a laundry list of high-tech ways to engineer the atmosphere, for example, but punts on the tougher questions related to such planet-scale enterprises — such as the inevitable diplomatic dispute over who sets the planetary thermostat and how blocking the sun does nothing to stem the buildup of carbon dioxide, much of which will stay in the atmosphere for many centuries.

He proposes spending tens of billions of dollars (a bargain, he insists, compared to the hundreds of billions that would be spent on a cap-and-trade style approach), but he doesn’t say how he’d convince the United States or China to adopt the necessary carbon tax.

And he doesn’t deal with the full pipeline for innovation that is required to take a promising technology from idea to breakthrough. A greatly intensified research effort is a vital, but insufficient, facet of any plan to foster progress without disrupting the climate.

Its chiding tone in places is unlikely to build the sense of consensus and excitement around an energy quest that Lomborg seems to desire.

Bjorn Lomborg’s Climate Confusionist Spin Is Never Ending

Bjorn Lomborg

Bjorn Lomborg is in the spin business, plain and simple.  In his Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, the Danish game theorist pretends to be so surprised that people were confused by his ‘change of heart’ last month – when he suddenly recognised that climate change is “one of the chief concerns facing the world today” and advocated for a $100 billion annual investment and a carbon tax – after years spent arguing that the world shouldn’t spend a penny on the problem. 

Hardly surprising to anyone who has followed Lomborg’s long trail of disingenuous spin, the ‘change of heart’ was nothing more than a ploy manufactured to tease his forthcoming book. 

Spinning like a top, Lomborg starts off his oddly defensive opinion piece with this twister:

After years of being accused of believing something I didn’t believe—or, more accurately, not believing something I really did—I made headlines last month for changing my mind even though I hadn’t.”

Dizzy yet? Well let’s review Lomborg’s history of spin.

Bjorn Lomborg Now Says Climate Change “Chief Concern,” Calls for Carbon Tax

The Guardian reports today that long-time global warming contrarian Bjorn Lomborg has changed his tune a bit, and now acknowledges that climate change is “a challenge humanity must confront.”  In an interview with the paper, Lomborg calls for a carbon tax and a $100 billion annual investment in clean technologies and other solutions to climate disruption. 

Lomborg has never been among the outright climate deniers, acknowledging repeatedly over the years that he accepts the science confirming manmade global warming.  But until now he has downplayed the need for massive investment to solve the problem, and is often seen cavorting with the ExxonMobil-funded denier crowd.  In his 2007 book ‘Cool It,’ he argued that spending huge amounts of money to address climate change would do little to address the problem.  

Now it appears Lomborg has come to his senses, becoming an unlikely advocate for massive public investment in creating a low carbon energy future. 

It’s about technologies, about realizing there’s a vast array of solutions,” he tells the Guardian.

The Disingenuous Environmentalist offers a solution with no funding model

Bjorn Lomborg, the Disingenuous Environmentalist, is (with the generous assistance of the Washington Post opinion page editor) once again fighting against any tax or regulation that might inconvenience his buddies in the fossil fuel industry. But, perhaps out of character, Lomborg is also proposing a very specific global investment - $100 billion US - in alternative energy research.

This is probably a good idea, although anyone who is even slightly skeptical of government might worry about empowering politicians to try to pick winners when it comes to financing research and innovation.

Smart economists (clearly a group to which Lomborg has no affiliation) tend to agree that the best way to address climate change is to ask the market to do it. You put a price on carbon - a price that begins to reflect the unfunded damage that CO2 (and other fossil fuel pollutants) do to the atmosphere - and let entrepreneurs act on that price signal and seek the most efficient solutions.

But Lomborg is suddenly a socialist - suddenly an advocate for direct government control and investment.

Copendenier Henrik Svensmark collapses on Danish TV

A little drama on Danish TV tonight here at the Copenhagen climate talks.

This article was drafted by Steffen Gronemann from the Danish site, Klimakampen.org, who I asked to write up a report on this, given my complete lack of ability to speak Danish.

During a live primetime climate-debate broadcasted on Danish national TV one of the participators, climate-skeptic scientist Henrik Svensmark, had a heart attack.

Bjorn Lomborg was by his side in the tv-studio when the scientist mid-sentence fell ill. THe 41 year old Henrik Svensmark made an awkward spasm/shudder and burst out a strange noise, sounding like a cough.

The other participants in the debate looked baffled and he mumbled:

“It’s my heart,” and fell to the ground and the pacemaker kicked in once more and you could hear him scream. Bjrøn Lomborg yelled “call an ambulance, call an ambulance” and the host and the other participants came over to help the man.

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