Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the latest in a series of reports — this is the fifth report the panel has issued in the last 23 years — on the phenomenon that used to be known as “global warming.” Naturally, the first things we thought was, “What does Bjørn think?” As usual, Bjørn had a lot of common-sense ideas that deserve wider attention. Bjørn is Bjørn Lomborg, the founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a private project based in the capital of Denmark that brings an economic perspective to addressing some of the world’s thorniest problems. Although he is the author of a book titled “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Lomborg believes that climate change is real and burning fossil fuels is a major contributing factor to it. Where Lomborg diverges from many other climate change believers is the actual extent of climate change and how much of a threat it poses to humanity. Both tend to get exaggerated, he believes. His response to last week’s IPCC report was to repeat that whatever the extent of climate change, the current proposed solutions would be too costly to implement and wouldn’t accomplish much. The Copenhagen Consensus position is we would do more for the world’s population in the short run if we were to, among other things: provide clean drinking water to people who don’t have it; reduce hunger and malnutrition; treat malaria and other preventable disease that kill millions each year; and develop technically and economically feasible fossil fuel alternatives.
We wish there was more of a consensus behind Lomborg’s ideas.