Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Bjørn Lomborg: Stop Scaring the Kids!

Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg, writing for the Guardian, warns of Global Warming exaggeration. An argument he’s been making for a while, yes, but here, he points to terrified children, convinced that the world will “blow up” or that all the animals will die. It is human caused, he asserts, but resources could be allocated to tackle a host of problems now, and alarmism, while well-intended, has nasty consequences. Lomborg first made these claims in The Skeptical Environmentalist. His new book, coming later this spring, outlines urgent crises that we could work to solve now. It is Global Crises, Global Solutions.

When confronted with these exaggerations, some of us say that they are for a good cause, and surely there is no harm done if the result is that we focus even more on tackling climate change. A similar argument was used when George W Bush’s administration overstated the terror threat from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

This argument is astonishingly wrong. Such exaggerations do plenty of harm. Worrying excessively about global warming means that we worry less about other things, where we could do so much more good. We focus, for example, on global warming’s impact on malaria – which will be to put slightly more people at risk in 100 years – instead of tackling the half a billion people suffering from malaria today with prevention and treatment policies that are much cheaper and dramatically more effective than carbon reduction would be.

…But the worst cost of exaggeration, I believe, is the unnecessary alarm that it causes – particularly among children. Recently, I discussed climate change with a group of Danish teenagers. One of them worried that global warming would cause the planet to “explode” – and all the others had similar fears.

Read the full article at The Guardian >>

About The Author

Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001) and Cool It, and editor of Smart Solutions to Climate Change (2010). Lomborg is Director of the Copenhagen Con...

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