On Global Warming: Bjorn Lomborg begs to differ

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With climate change very much in the news, Bjorn Lomborg too has stepped back in the spotlight. Lomborg first courted controversy with his 2001 book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. And his provocative new essay, The Relative Unimportance of Global Warming, appears today in the Phillipine Daily Inquirer — after running Friday in the Taipei Times and Korea Herald.

Lomborg doesn’t dispute the science of global warming, but he believes Kyoto-style attempts to cut carbon-dioxide emissions are misguided, and that funds are best invested elsewhere: both in solvable problems (HIV/AIDS, hunger, Malaria) and in research toward alternative energy. As he told us at TED2005, we must prioritize the world’s problems, if we’re going to solve them. And we should prioritize based on the effectiveness of the proposed solution. The Kyoto Protocol is inefficient and expensive, he says (and the Copenhagen Consensus — a group of top economists, including 4 Nobel laureates — backs him up).

You can definitely argue with the conclusions, but don’t dismiss this provocateur as reactionary or ill-informed. Those who attended TED2005 have learned: The articulate, left-leaning, vegetarian Dane is not so easily categorized.