Wired's Anderson on Lomborg's "Cool It"

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Wired editor Chris Anderson got an advance copy of Bjorn Lomborg’s upcoming book Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, and his summary is: read it, but don’t follow his advice.

Lomborg (watch his TED2005 speech) argues that although global warming is clearly happening and is human-caused, the debate over what to do about it has been polluted by way too much bad science, non-science, inflamed rhetoric and outright fibs.

In the book, the Danish political scientist offers numerous examples of how much of the rhetoric over the effects of climate change doesn’t stand up to scrutiny (for example: the most likely effect of climate change would be to increase, not decrease, the amount of ice in Antarctica).

“It’s time to put the debate over whether human-driven climate change is happening behind us and instead focus on technologies to decarbonize the economy,” writes Anderson. But climate change is only one of three strong reasons to do this, he adds: the others are economics (rising direct and indirect costs of oil and carbon fuels) and geopolitics (oil revenues prop up bad governments around the world).

There is a fourth reason that Anderson forgets, and which has been convincingly put forth by Al Gore in his TED2006 speech: it’s a moral imperative.