Bjorn Lomborg is the author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. Though I haven’t read the book, I’m familiar with some of Lomberg’s shorter pieces, which have always struck me as the most sensible writings I’ve seen on the subject of global warming.
In an article for today’s Washington Post, Lomborg makes the case against (a) the alarmist view of global warming and (b) the left’s program for dealing with the problem — drastic cuts in carbon emissions. Lomborg doesn’t deny that the earth is warming or that man is causing this. His thesis, though, is that reducing carbon emissions along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol would cost much and achieve little. He notes that past promises by wealthy nations to cut emissions have been ignored and that, even if they were followed, the impact on global warming would be slight.
Thus, Lomborg advocates a series of more targeted measures to deal with the effects of global warming, coupled with increased spending on the reserach and development of low-carbon energy. This research and development, he argues, would decrease the cost of cutting carbon emissions. Currently, according to Lomborg, that cost is $20 per ton, while the damage from that same ton is about $2. Only by changing this equation will it become realistic to expect large emitters like China and India to buy into reducing emissions. And only then can real progress be expected.
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