- The argument in this book is simple:
- Global warming is real and man-made.
- Statements about strong, ominous, and immediate consequences of global warming are often wildly exaggerated, and this is unlikely to result in good policy.
- We need simpler, smarter, and more efficient solutions for global warming rather than excessive if well-intentioned efforts. Large and very expensive CO2 cuts made now will have only a rather samll and insignificant impact far in to the future.
- Many other issues are much more important than global warming. We need to get our perspective back. There are many more pressing problems int he world, such as hunger, poverty, and disease. By addressing them, we can help more people, at lower cost, with a much higher chance of success than by pursuing drastic climate policies at a cost of trillions of dollars.
Coincidentally, in the book, Lomborg predicts (based on other historical causes of hyperbole) that this fad will ultimately grow tiresome for the people and wear itself out. Last week on NPR (yes, NPR!), they did a story about environmentalists at a conference who were despondent about getting funds from banks to do their own causes; real-world problems such as the financial crisis has been naturally putting the global "catastrophe" funding on hold.
As excellent as the book is, Lomborg cannot claim the best sound-bite. That goes to a quote from Mark Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research:
- "Framing climate change as an issue which evokes fear and personal stress becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By "sexing it up" we exacerbate, through psychological amplifiers, the very risks we are trying to ward off.
The careless (or conspiratorial?) translation of concern about Saddam Hussein's putative military threat into the case for WMD has had major geopolitical repercussions."