The big newspapers love a controversy. That’s why they publish Bjorn Lomborg.
Let’s be clear. I’m not contesting the existence of global warming. Doing so is silly, given the clear and strong results from the UN climate panel. Global warming will most probably warm the planet by between 1.6 and 3.8C above current temperatures by the end of the century. The total cost of the consequences of this warming is estimated by William Nordhaus, of Yale University, to be $15 trillion.
However, we need to keep our cool: global warming’s total cost will be only about one half of 1 per cent of the net worth of the 21st century; that is the current worth of all the wealth projected to be generated in this century. Panicking is unlikely to lead to sensible policies. It could lead to exorbitantly expensive policies, which will do great harm.
I’ve discussed some of Bjorn’s ideas before, and have read his book, “Cool It”. These ideas should prompt some critical discussion on the topic of long term finances to clean up the mess that we’ve made as a species, but without rounding the discussion out to include other critical ideas such as food security, peak oil and water supply, it’s all a moot point.