A few weeks ago I received a loan copy of Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg, aka the Skeptical Environmentalist. This books reads pretty easily, is full of sources for all the claims it makes, but has been met with some pretty stiff opposition in the environmental camp.
But Lomborg believes by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, “probably we can save about 0.06 bears per year.” Seriously. As we’ll see, Lomborg suffers from an inability to even imagine the possibility of thresholds or tipping points, beyond which irreversible and catastrophic change occur.
The main problem with many popular science books is that you have to pick and choose your sources to defend the arguments you are holding to. It’s not like a peer reviewed paper where critical thought is necessary to be published. Another issue is that Bjorn is not a scientist, rather an economist, and just about everyone who holds economics as the ultimate truth is in some way deluded into thinking that everything has a price and well some things are just too expensive to consider viable.
However, I am convinced that the problems that the world faces are bigger than global warming and that some of the money we collectively are set to spend on reducing carbon emissions in the coming decade may be better spent elsewhere.
The book hasn’t changed my position on the importance of considering these issues, and even though he cites the issues of Malaria, AIDS and poverty as greater challenges than Climate Change, he’s totally missed the Peak Oil issue that may be set to trump every other effort mankind could undertake to improve humanity and the planet.
I say keep an open mind, but make every effort to reduce your impact on the world.
Thanks for the book Wandering Coyote.