Tag Archives: Bjorn Lomborg

Book: Climate: The Counter Consensus

Climate the Counter Consensus

Sharp, focused, lucid rebuttal to the climate change consensus. Very academic.
316 pages, ★★★★

I love ecology, I love climate science and I love reading climate skeptics’ arguments. They’re optimistic yet scientific at the same time. After reading books like Climate, I feel reassured and optimistic about the future—and this is exactly where mainstream climate science books fail. Climate reassures the reader by presenting boundless evidence in support of the Gaia Hypothesis that James Lovelock proposed back in 1965.

The Gaia Hypothesis suggested that Earth isn’t just teeming with life, but that Earth itself is a giant living organism: a giant living cell, if you like. The implications of this hypothesis were (a) that planet Earth is alive, by some standards; (b) that planet Earth is designed to heal itself from any reasonable amount of damage, and has done so in the past; and (c) that Earth, no matter what humans do to it, will fix itself eventually even if the repair process involves ridding the Earth of Homo sapiens altogether. (This idea that our planet is a giant, healthy, happy organism could only have prevailed in the 1960s!)

The first of these self-healing Gaia-like feedback loops is about cycles in solar intensity. We know that solar intensity cycles every 11 years and every 60 years due to solar activity, and also cycles every 23, 41 and 100 thousand years due to changes in the Earth’s orbit. Armed with this knowledge, Climate debunks all the major climate myths without mercy, saying that present climate change is linked to changes in solar activity and will self-correct in due course. Regardless of whether this is true, this notion at least has entertainment value for doomsayers and naysayers alike. (For the record, I keep my distance from climate politics!)

Other reassurances in this book include the CO2-temperature link being ‘tenuous’, the temperature rises being much smaller than predicted (despite ever-increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations) and how plant growth and water usage is increased greatly by increased atmospheric CO2. All of these claims are based on solid evidence. (Surprisingly, the author doesn’t make any “warming would be good anyway” arguments—some scientists do.)

My only criticism of this book is that it becomes too academic towards the end. It tackles the Stern Review, Mann’s hockey stick and the IPCC’s Assessment Reports head-on. (These are battles I was hoping the author would avoid.) I would have preferred if this book had retained its balanced, optimistic tone throughout. Instead, we’re served up an intense academic rebuttal of ten current consensus. (for a more positive, thesis-driven (as opposed to antithesis-driven) argument, read Bjørn Lomborg’s Cool It! instead. ).

Overall, this climate book is a thrilling ride up to around page 200. The ending (I’m not spoiling anything here—it’s non-fiction!) is an academic barrage rather than a call for balance in climate science, which I would have preferred, but I still enjoyed this book enough to give it four stars. It doesn’t matter whether I agree with the book’s thesis or not.

Recommended for people who have already done extensive reading about climate science. For beginners, read Cool It! by Bjørn Lomborg instead. ★★★★


Films I Watched in April 2012

Here are the films I’ve watched in April, 2012 neatly summarized in six words.
  1. Beyond Reasonable Doubt (2009) – journalist sets up rogue Michael Douglas
  2. Butterfly on a Wheel – jealousy triggers life-shattering revenge stunt
  3. Cool It – Bjørn Lomborg balances polarized climate debate
  4. London Avenue – these Londoners know something I don’t
  5. Miracle at St Anna – delightful trilingual WW2 movie with love
  6. Puss in Boots – distasteful shallow stupid fake Shrek movie
  7. Stranger than Fiction – boring rendition of Fight Club‘s story
  8. Unser Täglich Brot – beautiful footage of mass food production
  9. War Horse — horse survives both sides of WW2

Book: Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming

Your exit from climate spin
244 pages, ★★★★

Rational people are disrespected in the climate debate. Those trying to do good by whitening clouds, eliminating soot emissions, or calculating the effects of stratospheric sulphur dioxide coolants are ostracised from the discussion.

Climate is the only major debate where rational people are sidelined as “careless”, “denialist” or as “crazy sun-bombers with space-mirrors”. This crap appears in newspapers too much. Most people in the climate debate are hyped, extremist fools. There’s just no reasoning with them…

…So use Cool It to assert your position on climate change. When you next encounter a climate-brainwashed individual, keep your cool and explain that there are more important issues than reducing CO2 emissions for now (one of them being reducing particulate emissions). When they boil up and call you a “denier”, tell them to read Cool It before continuing the discussion.

If Al Gore’s in the red corner, and Big Oil is in the blue corner, Bjørn Lomborg is the calm umpire that brings an end to the fight. Despite stepping into a political minefield, Bjørn Lomborg refrains from fighting the alarmist consensus; rather, he simply ends the debate.

Cool It draws an analogy between climate and traffic speeds. Lomborg writes that, “1.2 million people worldwide die in traffic accidents each year… We could avoid all of these deaths by imposing worldwide speed limits of 5mph.” Lomborg likens this absurdity to that of reducing CO2 emissions in order to reduce global temperatures. He also adds that if the speed limit debate were as polarised as the climate debate (with only two camps: those advocating 5mph and those advocating 205 mph), then almost zero progress would be made. That’s what we see in the climate arena.

Cool It is extremely well-researched, which is demonstrated by its 77 pages of notes and references. The book’s only shortcoming is that its argument is just so obvious… but not obvious enough for the millions of CO2-obsessed individuals out there. Next time you meet one, make them read this book★★★★