Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don’t Freak Out

Interview with Bjørn Lomborg - May 14th, 2008 - National Review Online

We need to “cool our conversation, rein in the exaggerations, and start focusing where we can do the most good.” So Bjørn Lomborg writes in his recent book, Cool It!: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. This Danish statistician and “skeptical environmentalist” (the title of his earlier book) was recently named one of the “50 people who could save the planet” by the Guardian. Impatient with the overheated rhetoric and hyper-pessimism of conventional climate politics, Lomborg takes a cold, hard look at the empirical facts, and weighs the costs and benefits of global warming (which he does not deny) and the policy solutions advanced to restrain it. His recommendation: Calm down. In an interview with National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez today, Lomborg offers that same advice to Senator John McCain, while throwing some cold water on the Republican’s climate-change speech in Oregon this week. “Wishful thinking is not sound public policy,” Lomborg tells NRO.

It is clear that any rational assessment of what we should do about "global warming" needs to include how to best deal with the consequences if it is real. How to deal effectively with any needed consequences is what has been lost in the dialog. Many people who think man is causing global warming still recognize that the solutions being proposed are ridiculous and lack perspective.

It is clear the Republican Presidential candidate is not maintaining any perspective at all.

John McCain’s daughter recently told GQ magazine that her dad is “freaked out” by climate change.

I think freaking out is the worst thing that any of us can do. There’s a lot of hysteria about this problem, which means that we don’t look at the full picture.

For example, McCain mentions that global warming means that there’ll be more heat-waves which will claim lives. That is correct. But it’s also true that rising temperatures will reduce the number of cold spells. And cold is far deadlier than heat. According to the first complete peer-reviewed survey of climate change’s health effects, global warming [assuming it is even true] will actually save lives. It’s estimated that by 2050, global warming will cause almost 400,000 more heat-related deaths each year. But at the same time, 1.8 million fewer people will die from cold.

When we get “freaked out,” we don’t see the big picture.

It is frustrating to many of us who disagree with the whole idea that man is causing global warming, that the evidence of the Renaissance period is not given more recognition. We have not yet reached the temperatures of that period of global warming and the Renaissance was a great time for mankind. Food production was way up as a result of the warming across the world. Why can more people not see that if global warming was good back then, it is not likely to be the disaster the chicken little morons are predicting?

As an example, we can use malaria, one of the disaster predictions of the global warming hysterics. Forget for a moment that intelligent use of DDT would have saved millions and millions of lives with no ecological damage if instead of banning it we had simply improved its intelligent use in focusing on just malaria.

The same attitude is the problem with trying to save people from malaria by controlling CO2. As Bjørn Lomborg notes:

But when you look at the facts, you find that climate-change policies are a very poor way of dealing with these sorts of problems.

Compare the spending dollar-for-dollar. With malaria, for every time we could save one person from malaria through climate change CO2 cuts, we could — simply by spending the same amount of money on actual malaria policies like bednets and therapies — save 36,000 people. It’s an astonishing fact but also a very powerful one: the better option is obvious.

So you can save 36,000 times as many people by dealing with global warming intelligently, instead of the stupid way proposed by Al Gore.

Can you see now why those of us who are unpersuaded that global warming is even real are so angry about the current state of the dialog? The global warming fanatics are about to destroy our world for nothing. As noted, the Al Gore solution will only give us a 5 years delay over the next hundred years when there are better solutions. Why would such a hopeless delay justify the insane costs?

At least Bjørn Lomborg is one global warming believer who is not also a raving lunatic.


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