Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg

Credentials

  • Ph.D., Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (1994).
  • M.A., political science (1991).

Source: [1]

Background

Bjørn Lomborg is a political scientist, economist and the founder and president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC). Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) was founded in 2006 in Denmark and registered as a non-profit organisation in the United States in 2008. The center has attracted more than $4 million in funding since 2008. [2][1]

According to his website, Lomborg.com, Bjorn Lomborg is also a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He received his Ph. D. in Political Science at the University of Copenhagen in 1994. [1]

Lomborg is best known as the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, two books that downplay the risks of global warming. Despite these publications, Lomborg does not have a background in climate science and has published no peer-reviewed articles on climate change.

Lomborg is listed as a ”Speaker” by The Sweeney Agency, which works to make “the speaking business more client focused,” by booking speakers for clients “based solely on [their] needs.” The Sweeney Agency describes Lomborg as an “Author and Speaker on the Environment and Climate Change,” noting that one of the topics Lomborg speaks about is “The Truth About Global Warming”: [3]

“This thought-provoking talk is based on Dr. Lomborg's bestselling book and film, Cool It. Here, Lomborg will demonstrate how we're often told very one-sided and exaggerated claims about the environment and climate change, leading to unwarranted panic, instead of rationally assessing where and how we can do the most good. He argues that to tackle global warming we need smarter solutions focused on getting long-term solutions like cost-competitive renewables and that many of the impacts of global warming would be better addressed through adaptation.” [3]

Lomborg's Errors

Lomborg's errors in his discussion of climate change have been documented by many sources including A 2010 book published by Yale University Press titled The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming.

Lomborg-errors.dk is a website focused on documenting his errors, although it does not appear to have been recently updated. It also maintains a timeline documenting the events leading to Lomborg's fame, and how he is regarded among his fellow Danes. [4]

Stance on Climate Change

In a 2010 report in The Guardian, Lomborg acknowledged that global warming is “a challenge that humanity must confront.” Lomborg goes as far as calling for a carbon tax and a $100 billion investment in clean technologies. [5]

However, in his new book Smart Solutions to Climate Change, Lomborg argues that it would be too expensive to implement any major carbon reduction policy, and that “drastic carbon cuts would be the poorest way to respond to global warming.” [6] 

As Desmog reports, Lomborg appears to be directly contradicting himself. [7]

On December 6, 2013 (three days after Lomborg wrote an op-ed for The New York Times Opinion page), The Guardian released an article entitled, “Is Bjorn Lomborg right to say fossil fuels are what poor countries need?” where Lomborg's latest solution to climate change is again to give the globe more access to cheap fossil fuels. This has developed into a term which was coined 'energy poverty.' [8], [9]

Green Energy

Lomborg has described solar panels as inefficient and states this is “why you have to subsidize them.” [10]

In what appears contradictory, Lomborg then advocates for investments in green energy technologies, “…At the same time, wealthy Western nations must step up investments into research and development in green energy technologies to ensure that cleaner energy eventually becomes so cheap that everyone will want it.” [8][9]

Geo-Engineering

Lomborg has promoted the controversial idea of geo-engineering to address climate change. In one instance, Lomborg envisioned a fleet of 1900 robotic ships that will patrol the ocean while releasing spouts of ocean water to reflect the sun's rays in an attempt to reduce global warming. [11], [12]

Geoengineering research proponent Ken Caldeira has said “the vision of Lomborg’s Climate Consensus is 'a dystopic world out of a science fiction story … Geoengineering is not an alternative to carbon emissions reductions … 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'.” [13]

Key Quotes

June, 2016

“[J]ust like every other issue, there's both positives and negatives to global warming. Overall, and in the long run, the negatives will outweigh the positives, but there is a lot of positives to global warming right now.” [70]

April 6, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “An Overheated Climate Alarm” which claims that cold temperatures are more deadly than heat, following the publication of the US Global Change Research Program's (US GCRP) overview of the impact of climate change on public health: [14]

“Climate change is a genuine problem that will eventually be a net detriment to society. Gradually rising temperatures across decades will increase the number of hot days and heat waves. If humans make no attempts whatsoever to adapt—a curious assumption that the report inexplicably relies on almost throughout—the total number of heat-related deaths will rise. But correspondingly, climate change will also reduce the number of cold days and cold spells. That will cut the total number of cold-related deaths.” [14]

“In pushing too hard for the case that global warming is universally bad for everything, the administration’s report undermines the reasonable case for climate action. Focusing on only the bad side of the ledger destroys academic and political credibility.”[14]

January 2, 2015

Lomborg was quoted in a piece titled, “Climate change real, deadly says David Attenborough,” in which Lomborg says that “the UN should focus on more cost-effective environmental policies,” and increase their global target for limiting warming from 2C to 3C: [15]

“Pursuing this 2C target is very costly and not guaranteed to be successful. Much better, then, to target a maximum of, say, 3C rise, which will cost about $40 trillion but avoid most damages.

“If we insist on 2C, we will pay an extra $60,000 billion, but only prevent a stream of $100 billion damages that begins in 70 to 80 years. Moreover, all of these estimates assume cost-effective climate policies, whereas in real life they have often become many times more expensive.” [15]

April 29, 2014

In an opinion piece written by Lomborg in The Australian entitled, “Renewables pave path to poverty,” Lomborg encourages everyone engaged in the debate [of Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET)] to “recognise:” [16]

“The Australian government recently released an issues paper for the review of the renewable energy target. What everyone engaged in this debate should recognise is that policies such as the carbon tax and the RET have contributed to household electricity costs rising 110 per cent in the past five years, hitting the poor the hardest.” [16]

Further on, he states:

“In 1971, 40 per cent of China’s energy came from renewables. Since then it has lifted 680 million people out of poverty using coal. Today, China gets a trifling 0.23 per cent of its energy from wind and solar. Africa gets 50 per cent of its energy today from ­renewables — and remains poor. New analysis from the Centre for Global Development shows that, investing in renewables, we can pull one person out of poverty for about $US500. But, using gas electrification, we could quadruple that. By ­focusing on our climate concerns, we deliberately choose to leave more than three out of four people in darkness and poverty. Addressing global warming requires long-term innovation that makes green energy affordable. Until then, wasting enormous sums of money at the expense of the world’s poor is no solution at all.” [16]

February, 2014

“A new paper by Todd Moss and Ben Leo from the nonprofit think tank, Center for Global Development, puts it very clearly. If Obama spends the next $10 billion on gas electrification, he can help lift 90 million people out of poverty. If he only uses renewables, the same $10 billion can help just 20 million-27 million people. Using renewables, we will deliberately choose to leave more than 60 million people in darkness and poverty…Our development aid should be used to help 60 million more people out of poverty, not as a tool to make us feel virtuous about facile, green choices.” [17]

December, 2013

In an op-ed in The New York Times, Lomborg writes:

“There’s no question that burning fossil fuels is leading to a warmer climate and that addressing this problem is important. But doing so is a question of timing and priority. For many parts of the world, fossil fuels are still vital and will be for the next few decades, because they are the only means to lift people out of the smoke and darkness of energy poverty.” [9]

November 12, 2013

Lomborg hosts a TED Blog video titled, “What do global problems cost us?” as a follow up to his previous TED Talk in 2005:

9:30-10:20 “If you look at the time period from 1900 to 2050, surprisingly, for a lot of people, the net impact of most global warming was actually positive. That's because CO2 is actually fertilizer, that means it increases our agricultural production. Of course, in the long run increasing temperatures is also going to reduce agricultural production. We will also see more people die from heat, but many more people will avoid to die from cold, again with moderate global warming. We are also seeing the lower costs of heating outweigh the extra costs of cooling. So, actually, if you look at what the cost is [of global warming] it turns out to be a slight negative around 1900 at about 0.5% and across the most of the century, mostly a negative.” [18]

March, 2007

“We have to ask ourselves: what do we want to do first? Do we want to focus on cutting CO2, at fairly high costs and doing fairly little good a hundred years from now? Or would we rather want to fix some of the many obvious problems in the world, where we could do a lot more good and do it now?” [19]

Key Deeds

2017

The Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) listed Bjorn Lomborg as a contributor to their upcoming book “Climate Change: The Facts 2017.” Prior versions of the book featured contributions from a range of prominent climate change deniers, and describes mainstream climate change research as “pseudo-science.”  [75], [76]

Contributors to the upcoming book that the IPA announced so far:

October 13, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg write on Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal titled “About Those Non-Disappearing Pacific Islands” citing a September 2015 study and claiming that the Marshall Islands have been gaining land area. [72], [73]

While Lomborg says “this doesn’t mean that global warming isn’t real, or that world leaders and scientists shouldn’t tackle the adverse effects of climate change,” he accuses journalists of “hype and exaggeration.”  [72]

In September 2016, The Guardian reported first-hand accounts of Marshall Islands residents who had been directly affected by sea level changes. They noted that about a fifth of the population had left the islands between 1999 and 2011. [74]

According to Lomborg, “doom-mongering” from issues like the Marshall Islands “makes us panic and seize upon the wrong responses to global warming.” He argues the Paris climate agreement “will slow the world’s economic growth to force a shift to inefficient green energy sources” and will “achieve almost nothing.” [72]

September 16, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg writes in The Telegraph that “one of the key benefits of the vote to leave the European Union is that Britain will not longer have to cooperate with overzealous regulations on shale gas extraction, or fracking, which has the potential to transform the energy market.” Lomborg adds that “We need to ditch our unrealistic expectations for renewables” because “A much better course is now possible: to focus on cheaper gas through fracking.” [71]

June 19, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg appeared on CBC radio, where he discussed why he believes there are “a lot of positives to global warming,” although the long-term negatives would outweigh those positives. Audio below. [70]

“[H]alf the world's area has greened because of global warming. So we're basically seeing a gigantic greening […]” Lomborg says. [70]

He also argues that global warming will reduce temperature-related deaths: [70]

“Another issue: most people die from cold deaths, not heat deaths. And so when temperatures increase, we're going to see about 400,000 more heat deaths because of global warming by mid-century, you hear a lot about those, but you're probably going to see 1.8 million fewer cold deaths.” [70]

According to Lomborg, implementing policies to combat climate change right now “end up doing a lot less good than we could do if we were a lot more rational about it.” He cites the Paris Agreement as an example of doing “Basically nothing, for a lot of money.” [70]

April 6, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “An Overheated Climate Alarm” which claims that cold temperatures are more deadly than heat, following the publication of the US Global Change Research Program's (US GCRP) overview of the impact of climate change on public health. [14]

Lomborg claims the report, “hypes the bad and skips over the good.” He writes, “It also ignores inconvenient evidence—like the fact that cold kills many more people than heat.” [14]

Daily Kos's ClimateDenier Roundup suggested that Lomborg was “deliberately being deceptive about the report’s representation of the cold deaths.” [20]

In response to Lomborg's article, SkepticalScience published an open letter to the Wall Street Journal summarizing an in-depth analysis of Lomborg's op-ed that concluded “his account of the available evidence is misleading your readers.” [21], [22]

“While the US GCRP report is based on thousands of scientific publications, Lomborg cherry-picked only a few to support his case that 1) 'cold kills many more people than heat' and 2) 'climate change will reduce the number of cold days' and 'that will cut the total number of cold-related deaths.'” the open letter reads. [21]

February 8, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg is featured in a PragerU Video titled “Are Electric Cars Really Green?[23]

Video and transcript below. 

Transcript

Do electric cars really help the environment? President Obama thinks so. So does Leonardo DiCaprio. And many others.

The argument goes like this:

Regular cars run on gasoline, a fossil fuel that pumps CO2 straight out of the tailpipe and into the atmosphere. Electric cars run on electricity. They don’t burn any gasoline at all. No gas; no CO2. In fact, electric cars are often advertised as creating “zero emissions.” But do they really? Let’s take a closer look.

First, there’s the energy needed to produce the car. More than a third of the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car comes from the energy used make the car itself, especially the battery. The mining of lithium, for instance, is not a green activity. When an electric car rolls off the production line, it’s already been responsible for more than 25,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The amount for making a conventional car: just 16,000 pounds.

But that’s not the end of the CO2 emissions. Because while it’s true that electric cars don’t run on gasoline, they do run on electricity, which, in the U.S. is often produced by another fossil fuel – coal. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, “Electric cars are coal-powered cars.”

The most popular electric car, the Nissan Leaf, over a 90,000-mile lifetime will emit 31 metric tons of CO2, based on emissions from its production, its electricity consumption at average U.S. fuel mix and its ultimate scrapping.

A comparable Mercedes CDI A160 over a similar lifetime will emit just 3 tons more across its production, diesel consumption and ultimate scrapping. The results are similar for a top-line Tesla, the king of electric cars. It emits about 44 tons, which is only 5 tons less than a similar Audi A7 Quattro.

So throughout the full life of an electric car, it will emit just three to five tons less CO2.  In Europe, on its European Trading System, it currently costs $7 to cut one ton of CO2. So the entire climate benefit of an electric car is about $35. Yet the U.S. federal government essentially provides electric car buyers with a subsidy of up to $7,500.

Paying $7,500 for something you could get for $35 is a very poor deal.  And that doesn’t include the billions more in federal and state grants, loans and tax write-offs that go directly to battery and electric-car makers

The other main benefit from electric cars is supposed to be lower pollution. But remember Vinod Khosla’s observation “Electric cars are coal-powered cars.”

Yes, it might be powered by coal, proponents will say, but unlike the regular car, coal plant emissions are far away from the city centers where most people live and where damage from air pollution is greatest. However, new research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that while gasoline cars pollute closer to home, coal-fired power actually pollutes more – a lot more.

How much more?

Well, the researchers estimate that if the U.S. has 10% more gasoline cars in 2020, 870 more people will die each year from the additional air pollution. If the U.S. has 10% more electric vehicles powered on the average U.S. electricity mix, 1,617 more people will die every year from the extra pollution. Twice as many.

But of course electricity from renewables like solar and wind creates energy for electric cars without CO2. Won’t the perceived rapid ramp-up of these renewables make future electric cars much cleaner? Unfortunately, this is mostly wishful thinking. Today, the U.S. gets 14% of its electric power from renewables. In 25 years, Obama’s U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that number will have gone up just 3 percentage points to 17%. Meanwhile, those fossil fuels that generate 65% of U.S. electricity today will still generate about 64% of it in 2040.

While electric-car owners may cruise around feeling virtuous, the reality is that the electric car cuts almost no CO2, costs taxpayers a fortune, and, surprisingly, generates more air pollution than traditional gasoline cars.

I’m Bjørn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

According to their website, PragerU's mission is to “spread what we call 'Americanism' through the power of the Internet. Our five-minute videos are conservative sound bites that clarify profoundly significant and uniquely American concepts for more than 100 million people each year.” They focus on “Judeo-Christian” values including “freedom of speech, a free press, free markets and a strong military to protect and project those values.” [24]

According to Conservative Transparency, PragerU has received $215,000 from the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation[25]

December, 2015

Bjorn Lomborg has been writing a daily blog during the Paris climate change conference (COP21) where he has been consistently criticizing wind and solar energy. [26]

In a column for The Australian, Lomborg writes: [26][27]

“The reality is that even after two decades of climate talks, we get a meagre 0.5% of our total global energy consumption from solar and wind energy, according to the leading authority, the International Energy Agency (IEA). And 25 years from now, even with a very optimistic scenario, envisioning everyone doing all that they promise in Paris, the IEA expects that we will get just 2.4 per cent from solar and wind.” 

RenewEconomy earlier countered this claim, citing the International Energy Agency (the same source that Lomborg refers to). According to RenewEconomy, the IEA's reports show that “wind and solar will overtake coal as the biggest source of electricity by around 2030, and by 2040 will provide more than 8,200 terrawatt hours of electricity a year – twice as much as coal.” [28]

Paulo Frankl, the IEA's own head of renewable energy, also took issue with Lomborg's statement: [28]
“That is absolute rubbish,” Frankl told RenewEconomy at a side-event at the Paris climate talks. [28]
Frankl point to graphs from the recent World Energy Outlook, the ones that show that the IEA, itself criticized for a conservative outlook on wind and solar, expected that wind and solar will provide 27 per cent of global electricity demand by 2040 in its most optimistic scenario. [28]

November 30, 2015

Bjorn Lomborg is featured in a PragU video titled “Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?” Video and transcript below. [29]

Transcript:

One of the most persistent claims in the climate debate is that global warming leads to more extreme weather. This is a common concern expressed by those who fear a dangerously warming planet. President Barack Obama did so eloquently in his 2013 State of the Union Address when he talked about “the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.” Many others have offered similar sentiments.

Global warming is a problem that needs to be addressed, but exaggeration doesn’t help. It often distracts us from simple, cheaper and smarter solutions. To find those solutions, let’s address the three horsemen of the climate apocalypse to which President Obama referred.  

Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows  that even with global warming, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until midcentury and won't resume on the level of 1950 – the worst for fire – before the end of the century.

Claiming that droughts are a consequence of global warming is also wrong. The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in March 2014 shows globally that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.

The U.N. Climate Panel in 2012 concluded: “Some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”

And finally, the third horseman: hurricanes. Global hurricane activity today, measured by total energy, hasn’t been lower since the 1970s.

While it is likely that we will see somewhat stronger (but fewer) storms as climate change continues, damages will be lower because we’ll be better adapted. A March 2012 Nature study shows that the global damage cost from hurricanes will be 0.02% of gross domestic product by 2100 – down 50% from today’s 0.04%.

Let me make this clear: this does not mean that climate change isn't an issue. It means that exaggerating the threat concentrates resources in the wrong areas.

Consider hurricanes (though similar points hold for wildfire and drought). If the aim is to reduce storm damage, then first focus on resilience – better building codes and better enforcement of those codes. Ending subsidies for hurricane insurance to discourage building in vulnerable zones would also help, as would investing in better infrastructure (from stronger levees to higher-capacity sewers).

These solutions are quick and comparatively cheap. Most important, they would diminish future hurricane damage, whether climate-induced or not. Had New York and New Jersey focused resources on building sea walls and adding storm doors to the subway system and making simple fixes like porous pavements, Hurricane Sandy would have caused much less damage.

In the long run, the world needs to cut carbon dioxide because it causes global warming. But if the main effort to cut emissions is through subsidies for chic renewables like wind and solar power, virtually no good will be achieved – at very high cost.

The cost of climate policies just for the European Union – intended to reduce emissions by 2020 to 20% below 1990 levels – are estimated at about $250 billion annually, or about $20 trillion over the century.  And the benefits, when estimated using a standard climate model, will reduce temperatures only by an immeasurable one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

Even in 2040, under its most optimistic scenario, the International Energy Agency estimates that just 2.2% of the world's energy will come from wind and solar. As is the case today, almost 80% will still come from fossil fuels. As long as green energy is more expensive than fossil fuels, growing consumer markets like those in China and India will continue mostly to be powered by them.

Solar, wind, and other renewables are still inefficient because they require subsidies of more than $120 billion a year. And even in 2040, they won’t be efficient. The International Energy Agency estimates they will still require more than $200 billion dollars annually.

Instead of pouring money into subsidies for existing, inefficient wind and solar energy, we’d be far better off supporting research and development of green energy technologies to make them cheaper, faster.

When innovation eventually makes green energy as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuel energy, everyone will use it, including China and India. Until then, let’s cool the fear mongering and make practical decisions that will help people now.  

I’m Bjorn Lomborg, President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

July - October, 2015

Bjorn Lomborg courted federal funding, to the tune of $4.4 million, to establish a “Australian Consensus Center” (australiaconsensus.com). The contract would require Bjorn Lomborg to conduct seminars across the country titled “The Australian Rational Conversation.” [30]

The University of Western Australia's (UWA) Business School initially picked up the project, but backed out shortly after Guardian Australia revealed the federal grant in April. [31], [32]

The Guardian reported that after UWA pulled out of the deal, the Department of Education encouraged universities to speak directly with Lomborg:
They “had some informal approaches from universities who might be interested and suggested to them and Dr Lomborg they might want to talk.” [33]

** As of October, 2015 the federal government had withdrawn funding offered to Bjørn Lomborg for the creation of the Australia Consensus centre in any university. [34], [35]

February 1, 2015

Bjorn Lomborg writes an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal titled, “The Alarming Thing About Climate Alarmism.” Lomborg writes the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (UNIPCC) most recent report “found that in the previous 15 years temperatures had risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit,” and that “the average of all models expected 0.8 degrees [Fahrenheit]. So we're seeing about 90% less temperature rise than expected.” [36]

Later on in the opinion piece, Lomborg states that climate “alarmism has encouraged the pursuit of a one-sided climate policy of trying to cut carbon emissions by subsidizing wind farms and solar panels,” referring to renewable energy policies and technology as “expensive, feel-good measures that will have an imperceptible climate impact.” [36]

ClimateFeedback.org, a website for “Scientific feedback for Climate Change information online,” had seven climate scientists evaluate Lomborg's piece in The Wall Street Journal for “overall scientific credibility” and estimated it to be “'very low' to 'low'.” [36]

ClimateFeedback.org explains the negative evaluation: “The main reason for this negative evaluation is that the author [Bjorn Lomborg] practices cherry-picking: he [Lomborg] is selecting limited evidence to support his thesis that 'much of the data about climate change are…encouraging'. The evidence provided is insufficient: several examples are either inaccurate or only speak about one aspect of the problem, ignoring much of the published literature on the subject.” [36]

October 3, 2014

Bjorn Lomborg publishes an article in TIME's “Ideas” section titled, “How Indoor Stoves Can Help Solve Global Poverty.” Lomborg writes that “rich countries are already finding the move away from coal and oil to be a difficult one, and there are no easy answers for developing economies,” leading Lomborg to ask “today's crucial question,” which is, “what should the world prioritize?” [37] 

Lomborg contends there are some “targets we should be wary of,” like the doubling of the World's renewable energy output, which he describes as “intermittent and unpredictable,” and its cost, “likely to be higher than the benefits.” [37] 

July 29, 2014

Bjorn Lomborg testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety in a hearing titled, “Examining the Threats Posed by Climate Change: The Effects of Unchecked Climate Change on Communities and the Economy.” [38]

April 16, 2014

Lomborg was quoted in an a web-piece entitled, “Earth Daze,” written by news correspondent John Stossel in Real Clear Politics, “The amazing number that most people haven't heard is, if you take all the solar panels and all the wind turbines in the world, they have (eliminated) less CO2 than what U.S. fracking (cracking rocks below ground to extract oil and natural gas) managed to do.” [39]

Stossel writes that even if America reaches Obama's “absurd” pledge to put 1,000,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2015, the impacts of climate change would only be delayed by “one hour,” according to Lomborg, and the mitigation measure was merely a “symbolic act.” [39]

February 8, 2014

Lomborg published an article in USA Today's Columnists' Opinions section entitled, “Lomborg: Obama energy policy hurts African poor,” where he suggests that investing in renewable energy, instead of gas, would let “millions of poor go unserved,” again referencing the recurring theme of 'energy poverty.' [17]

December 3, 2013

Lomborg publishes an op-ed in The New York Times titled, “The Poor Need Cheap Fossil Fuels,” where he advocates maintaining the status quo of “reliable, low-cost fossil fuels, at least until we can make a global transition to a greener energy future.” [9]

October 20, 2013

Just a few weeks following the partnership announcement between Slate and the American Prosperity Consensus Project, Lomborg releases a piece on Slate entitled, “Of Course the World Is Better Now Than It Was in 1900.” [40]

Within it, he describes a “scorecard spanning 150 years,” developed by him and “21 of the world's top economists,” to see, through standard “economic valuations,” if the world was “doing better or worse.” In the closing statement of the piece, Lomborg writes, “realists should now embrace the view that the world is doing much better … We should guide our future attention not on the basis of the scariest stories or loudest pressure groups, but on objective assessments of where we can do the most good.” [40] [41], [42]

October 7, 2013

Lomborg is quoted in a ThinkProgress article explaining “why the Copenhagen Consensus Center is launching the American Prosperity Consensus project in partnership with Slate”: [41]

“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 … 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.” [41]

Environmental communications and public health expert Robert J. Brulle, from Drexel University, told ThinkProgress that it appeared Slate has decided to no longer engage in “serious journalism,” as seen in the “gimmick” with Bjorn Lomborg. [41]

November 12, 2010

Lomborg appeared in the documentary film Cool It which focused on his views regarding climate policy where he suggests “that there's a well-financed effort underfoot to spin the failure of climate action into a new political strategy for high-tech mega-investments.” Lomborg said that “independent investors” financed the film. [43]

September 9, 2009

Lomborg publishes a blog post in Reuters UK's Analysis and Opinion section entitled, “We Need a Fresh Approach On Climate Change.” [44]

In the opinion piece, Lomborg links back to the Copenhagen Consensus Center's research results, which were conducted by an “Expert Panel of five world-class economists - including three recipients of the Nobel Prize;” their duty: “to form conclusions about which solution to climate change is the most promising.” The panel concluded, “the most effective use of resources would be to invest immediately in researching marine cloud whitening technology,” a form of geoengineering. [44]

August 7, 2009

The Copenhagen Consensus Center launches its new project on global warming: Copenhagen Consensus on Climate. [45]

June 18, 2009

Lomborg is listed as a guest speaker on a panel at the fifth International Congress on Mining, Oil and Energy where he was to speak on a panel with the title “Global Crisis and Sustainable Solutions: The Truth About Global Warming.[46]

April, 2008

David Sassoon wrote a series of postings at Solve Climate on Lomborg’s media tours to the US. They are available here:

2007

In 2007 Lomborg published his second major book skeptical about climate change titled Cool It. His book tour in Canada was sponsored by the Fraser Institute, an organization which has received $120,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [51], [52]

Alanna Mitchell, the Science Reporter for the Globe and Mail wrote a review:

“It would be possible to go point by point through the many similar flaws in each of Lomborg’s arguments, but frankly, the book is too pitiful to merit it. It’s not that his analysis is controversial - that would be fun - but that it is deeply dissatisfying, ignorant and shallow. I remember wondering, after I interviewed Lomborg, whether he was intellectually dishonest or just not very bright. Cool It has convinced me that it doesn’t matter. Lomborg has now proved beyond a doubt that he is incapable of contributing anything of merit to scientific discourse.” [53]

Dr. Frank Ackerman of Tufts University wrote a detailed and critical analysis for the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change, outlining the many errors and biases in Lomborg's book:

“The book is riddled with small inaccuracies, and because it displays a pervasive bias in its coverage and evaluations of climate issues. To begin with, Lomborg has a weak grasp of some of the essential details and commits elementary mistakes, with little or no citation of sources that would explain his results.” [54]

November, 2004

Lomborg was a speaker at an environmental giving “pre-conference” organised by the conservative funding organisation, the Philanthropy Roundtable. In the speech (audio here), Lomborg told the audience the only environmental investment that made economic sense was in measures to combat particulate air pollution. [55]

He promoted the findings of his Copenhagen Consensus project, which earlier that year had ranked projects on climate change as the lowest on a list of 17 potential issues to spend money on.  [55]

2004

Lomborg hosted the Copenhagen Consensus conference, partially funded by the Danish government. Eight economists selected by Lomborg were asked to prioritize ten global problems based on a hypothetical budget of $50 billion and a timeline of five years. Based on those constraints, the panel concluded that climate change was the least cost-effective area to invest public money.

The conference was hosted through the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute, of which Lomborg was the director. When the conference was announced, five of the seven board members resigned en masse in a dispute over the event.

Ackerman also provides a detailed rebuttal to the methodology of this conference in his peer-reviewed paper. [54]

Professor John Quiggin is a Senior Research Fellow of the Australian Research Council, based at the Australian National University and Queensland University of Technology. He wrote a series of articles critical of the process, participants and perceived bias of the conference. [56], [57]

He concludes that “the Copenhagen Consensus project was created as a political stunt. It was designed, in every detail, to produce a predetermined outcome. Having got the desired outcome, the organizer has shown little or no interest in pursuing any of the other issues raised by the project.”

Jeffery Sachs was also critical of the Copenhagen Consensus conference in his analysis (PDF) for the prestigious journal Nature. [58]

Tom Burke also wrote a scathing review of the Copenhagen Consensus, titled “This is neither scepticism nor science - just nonsense” in The Guardian. [59]

2001

In 2001, Lomborg published his first major book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. In response, The Danish Ecological Council published an 225-page book titled Skeptical Questions and Sustainable Answers which documents the many errors and omissions in Lomborg's work

The Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty also received numerous complaints regarding the accuracy of Lomborg's first book. After investigating, they concluded:

“The publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice…there has been such perversion of the scientific message in the form of systematically biased representation that the objective criteria for upholding scientific dishonesty … have been met.” [60]

Lomborg later had this overturned after appealing to the Danish Government, who was sympathetic to his message, ordered the body to review this decision. [61]

Scientific American later published their own 10-page article, written by four leading experts, that was critical of The Skeptical Environmentalist and which described Lomborg's work as “deeply flawed.” [62]

They further described Lomborg's text as having “misrepresented the actual positions of environmentalists and scientists” with an analysis that was “marred by invalidating errors that include a narrow, biased reading of the literature, an inadequate understanding of the science, and quotations taken out of context.” [62]

John P. Holdren, one of the Scientific American authors noted: “It is instructive that [Lomborg] apparently did not feel he could manage an adequate response by himself (In this, at least, he was correct. But he could not manage it with help, either).” [63]

For his part, Lomborg sent a plea to his supporters asking for help in forming a rebuttal. It read:

“Naturally, I plan to write a rebuttal to be put on my web-site. However, I would also love your input to the issues — maybe you can contest some of the arguments in the Scientific American, alone or together with other academics. Perhaps you have good ideas to counter a specific argument. Perhaps you know of someone else that might be ideal to talk to or get to write a counter-piece.” [63]

The Union of Concerned Scientists also authored a highly critical analysis of Lomborg’s first book. They state: [64]

“Lomborg’s book is seriously flawed and fails to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis. The authors note how Lomborg consistently misuses, misrepresents or misinterprets data to greatly underestimate rates of species extinction, ignore evidence that billions of people lack access to clean water and sanitation, and minimize the extent and impacts of global warming due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases. Time and again, these experts find that Lomborg’s assertions and analyses are marred by flawed logic, inappropriate use of statistics and hidden value judgments. He uncritically and selectively cites literature—often not peer-reviewed— that supports his assertions, while ignoring or misinterpreting scientific evidence that does not. His consistently flawed use of scientific data is, in Peter Gleick’s words 'unexpected and disturbing in a statistician.'” [64]

Grist magazine also asked eight leading experts to critique the book based on their particular areas of knowledge. Their critical analysis, titled “A Skeptical Look at the Skeptical Environmentalist,” thoroughly discredits many of Lomborg's claims. [65]

Dr. Peter Gleick, a renowned American scientist, wrote another critical review of Lomborg's Skeptical Environmentalist book in the magazine Environment. Dr. Gleick's review, “Is the Skeptic All Wet?” catalogued numerous errors in Lomborg's methods, data and assumptions, particularly focused on water issues. [66]

Affiliations

Publications

Apart from the Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, Lomborg was also the editor of a 2010 book titled Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits. [6] 

According to a search of Google Scholar, Lomborg has not published any articles in the area of climate science, although he has published numerous articles on economics.

Resources

  1. About Bjorn Lomborg,” lomborg.com. Archived August 31, 2016. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/fObjq

  2. Board & Directors,” Copenhagen Consensus Center. August 31, 2016. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/YIGod

  3. Speakers,” The Sweeney Agency. Archived January 15, 2015. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/FrvIM

  4. The Lomborg Story,” Lomborg-errors.dk, August 14, 2012. Archived August 31, 2016.

  5. Juliette Jowit. “Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change,” The Guardian, August 30, 2010. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/Jc6F

  6. Howard Friel. “Bjørn Lomborg's missing questions,” The Guardian, August 30, 2010. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/9S62m

  7. James hoggan. “Bjorn Lomborg’s Climate Confusionist Spin Is Never Ending,” Desmog, September 17, 2010.

  8. Graham Readfearn. ”Is Bjorn Lomborg right to say fossil fuels are what poor countries need?“ The Guardian, December 6, 2013. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/AdjoQ

  9. Bjorn Lomborg. ”The Poor Need Cheap Fossil Fuels,” The New York Times The Opinion Pages, December 3, 2013. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/WjSOP

  10. RN DRIVE 02.12.2013, ABC.net.au, December 2, 2013.

  11. Mitchell Anderson. “Lomborg's Robot Navy,” Desmog, August 10, 2009. 

  12. Lomborg says armada could halt global warming,” The Copenhagen Post Online, August 7, 2009. Archived August 11, 2010. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/azYZu

  13. Joe Romm. “Lomborg flip-flop: 'Climate change is undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today',” Climate Progress, August 31, 2010. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/vhRc6

  14. Bjorn Lomborg. “An Overheated Climate Alarm,” The Wall Street Journal. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog. Archive .is URL: Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/YoA3H

  15. Climate change real, deadly says David Attenborough,” The Australian (sub. required), January 2, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog. 

  16. Bjorn Lomborg. ”Renewables pave path to poverty,” The Australian, April 29, 2014. Archived May 8, 2014. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  17. Lomborg: Obama energy policy hurts African poor,” USA Today, February 8, 2014. Archived April September 1, 2016. Archive .is URLhttps://archive.is/vKPyb

  18. Bjorn Lomborg. “What do global problems cost us?”, TED Blog Videos, November 12, 2013.

  19. “Perspective on Climate Change” (PDF), Testimony prepared by Bjorn Lomborg for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Committee on Science and Technology on Wednesday March 21, 2007. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  20. Bjorn Lomborg's Deception About 'Climate and Health Assessment' in Wall Street Journal,” Desmog, April 8, 2016. Originaly posted at Daily Kos.

  21. Open letter to the Wall Street Journal editor: a scientists’ response to Lomborg's misleading op-ed,” SkepticalScience, April 14, 2016. Archived September 1, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/6999w

  22. Analysis of Bjorn Lomborg’s 'An Overheated Climate Alarm',Climate Feedback. Archived September 1, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Vn9Xx

  23. Are Electric Cars Really Green?” PragerU, February 8, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016.

  24. What We Do,” PragerU.com. Archived May 31, 2016.

  25. Prager U,” Conservative Transparency. Search Performed May 31, 2016.

  26. Giles Parkinson. “IEA says Lomborg claims on wind and solar energy are 'rubbish',“ RenewEconomy, December 2, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/O7iCU

  27. Bjorn Lomborg. “Paris climate summit: Bjorn Lomborg daily blog,“ The Australian, November 30, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  28. Giles Parkinson. “Bjorn Lomborg, it’s time to check your numbers on wind and solar,” RenewEconomy, November 11, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2YCQh

  29. Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?” PragerU, November 30, 2015. Archived May 31, 2016.

  30. Lenore Taylor. “Bjørn Lomborg university funding tied to 'rational conversation' lectures,” The Guardian, June 25, 2015. Archived July 22, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/gPW3E

  31. Bjorn Lomborg. “The Honor of Being Mugged by Climate Censors,” The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog. 

  32. Lenore Taylor. “Abbott government gives $4m to help climate contrarian set up Australian centre,” The Guardian, April 16, 2015. Archived June 7, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/FqCsj

  33. Lenore Taylor. “Universities told to speak to Bjørn Lomborg if they want $4m in funding,” The Guardian. June 3, 2015. Archived July 22, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/SfhEZ

  34. Graham Readfearn. “Australian Government Withdraws $4 Million Grant For Climate Contrarian Bjorn Lomborg's Consensus Project,” DeSmogBlog, October 23, 2015.

  35. Shalailah Medhora and Daniel Hurst. “Government withdraws funding offer for Bjørn Lomborg centre“ The Guardian, October 20, 2015. Archived October 24, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/JB9Ly

  36. Bjorn Lomborg. ”The Alarming Thing About Climate Alarmism,” The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/pR3nb

  37. Bjorn Lomborg. “How Indoor Stoves Can Help Solve Global Poverty,” TIME, October 3, 2014. Archived October 7, 2014. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/56BSm

  38. “Examining the Threats Posted by Climate Change: The Effects of Unchecked Climate Change on Communities and the Economy” (PDF), The Senate EWP Committee, Subcommittee on Clean air and Nuclear Safety. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  39. John Stossel. “Earth Daze”, Real Clear Politics, April 16, 2014. Archived September 1, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/WqOYe

  40. Bjorn Lomborg. “Of Course the World Is Better Now Than It Was in 1900,” Slate, October 20, 2013. Archived September 1, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/9fuaU

  41. Clean Slate? Asking Bjorn Lomborg to Help Figure Out 'The Most Pressing Issue Facing' America is Like…,” ThinkProgress, October 7, 2013. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/69gS3

  42. How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? A Scorecard from 1900 to 2050,” Cambridge University Press. Published October, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ySOAg

  43. Robert Collier. “Bjorn Lomborg film offers new convenient truth,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 7, 2010. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/H7YS

  44. Bjorn Lomborg. ”We Need a Fresh Approach on Climate Change,” Reuters UK Analysis and Opinion, September 9, 2009. Archived September 1, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/ah9bB

  45. Copenhagen Consensus on Climate” YouTube Video, Copenhagen Consensus, August 7, 2009. Archive.is URL:

  46. “V INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON MINING, OIL AND ENERGY Cartagena de Indias, Hilton Hotel Convention Center” (PDF - programme), Cinmipetrol, May 12, 2009. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  47. David Sassoon. “Global Warming's Danish Denialist Coming to America: Part 1,” Solve Climate, April 2, 2008. Archived January 15, 2010. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/wMBip

  48. David Sassoon. “Global Warming's Danish Denialist Coming to America: Part 2,” Solve Climate, April 3, 2008. Archived March 30, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/xPgi6

  49. David Sassoon. “Global Warming's Danish Denialist Coming to America: Part 3,” Solve Climate, April 4, 2008. Archived January 5, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/WpVHL

  50. David Sassoon. “Bjorn Lomborg Delivers Nihilist Message at Manhattan Institute Climate Talk,” Solve Climate, April 11, 2008. Archived January 5, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/KDVvM

  51. Mitchell Anderson. “Bjorn Lomborg and the Anti-Climate Crowd,” Desmog, April 10, 2008. 

  52. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Fraser Institute. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/OUpGs

  53. Allanna Mitchell. “The Pollyanna of global warming,Globe and Mail, September 29, 2007. Archived March 7, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/l3f67

  54. Frank Ackerman. “Hot, It's Not: Reflections on Cool It!, by Bjorn Lomborg” (PDF), Tufts University. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  55. What Unites Us: The Principles of American Philanthropy,” The Philanthropy Roundtable. Archived April 6, 2005. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/MJfxa

  56. John Quiggin. “Copenhagen: conned again,” Crooked Timber, December 13, 2004. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/9MoB8

  57. Copenhagen review,” John Quiggin, January 21, 2005. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/f2mGi

  58. Jeffrey D. Sachs. “Seeking a global Solution” (PDF), Nature, Vol. 430 (August 12, 2004). Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  59. Tom Burke. “This is neither scepticism nor science - just nonsense,” The Guardian, October 23, 2004. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/58EF

  60. Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl (2003). Videnskabsetik (1. udgave. ed.). Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur. ISBN 87-7867-182-5.

  61. THE DECISION OF THE DANISH MINISTRY OF RESEARCH ON DEC. 17TH, 2003, concerning A COMPLAINT LODGED BY BJØRN LOMBORG ON FEBRUARY 13TH, 2003,” Republished by lomborg-errors.dk. Archived May 5, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/m6Ooh

  62. Skepticism toward The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Scientific American, April 15, 2002. Archived September 1, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/BZUlS

  63. Misleading Math about the Earth,” Scientific American (sub. required), January 2002. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/PiUtG

  64. The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Union of Concerned Scientists. Archived December 24, 2010. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/dpeXd

  65. Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark: A skeptical look at The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Grist Magazine, December 12, 2001. Archived December 25, 2001. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/OOzyy

  66. Is the Skeptic All Wet? The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Environment Vol. 44, No. 6 (July/Aug 2002). Archived at Desmog. Archive.is URL:

  67. Journalists Guide to Global Warming Experts” (PDF), The Heartland Institute. Page 16. Archived November 2, 2013. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  68. “Bjørn Lomborg: President and Founder,” Copenhagen Consensus Center. Archived April 8, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/n9toY

  69. Lomborg and Playing the Long Game,” The Way Things Break, January 8, 2009. Archived April 11, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/MJ8ND

  70. Opinion: Climate change is bad, but it comes with benefits too,” CBCradio, June 19, 2016. Archived September 5, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/A5hpn

  71. Bjorn Lomborg. “Britain is now free to frack and slash energy bills,” The Telegraph, September 16, 2016. Archived September 19, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/pgejL

  72. Bjorn Lomborg. “About Those Non-Disappearing Pacific Islands,” The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  73. Multi-decadal shoreline changes in response to sea level rise in the Marshall Islands,” Anthropocene, Volume 11 (September 2015), Pages 14–24. Abstract retrieved from ScienceDirect. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/z2jlp

  74. Lives in the balance: climate change and the Marshall Islands,” The Guardian, September 15, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bSybd

  75. Donate to Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” Institute of Public Affairs. Archived October 31, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/KpLZh

  76. Climate Change: The facts 2014,” Catallaxyfiles.com. Archived October 31, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Trs4Y

Other Resources