This is a brief review of Cool It by Bjørn Lomborg.

In chapter one, Lomborg lists four points:

  1. “Global warming is real and man-made.” Very few people argue this point anymore.
  2. “Statements about the strong, ominous, and immediate consequences of global warming are often wildly exaggerated …” This is very dependent on one’s source of information. News stories about any scientific paper often are not related to what the paper actually says. Reliable sources don’t have this problem. Lomborg seems to assume that almost any negative consequences of global warming are exaggerated.
  3. “We need simpler, smarter, and more efficient solutions for global warming …” Of course. But Lomborg makes the mistakes of assuming current solutions are complicated, stupid, and not efficient. He then argues that since we don’t have a perfect, complete, and free solution, we shouldn’t try any solution.
  4. “Many other issues are much more important than global warming.” Sure, there are other important issues. Lomborg tries to use this to bump AGW to such a low priority that it should be ignored. This only looking at one problem idea is silly.

Lomborg over-simplifies everything to economics. He assumes that the environment will adapt quickly enough that the direct effects of warming are the only ones worth considering.

He assumes that cutting emissions is expensive. There are expensive ways to cut emissions. Lomborg ignores the free and profitable ways to decrease pollution. He assumes that if something saves money, it would already be in use. This is frequently not the case. I have plenty of examples of bad solutions being used because someone didn’t bother checking for a better option. Lomborg tries to address this argument “Why … would you not have done so if it really already was on your own interest to do so.” He ignores the obvious laziness and ‘this is how we have always done it’ that often prevent good solutions from being implemented.

Lomborg looks at several problems caused by global warming. He mentions several engineering solutions. He then compares the cost of each of these solutions to his mysterious cost of reducing CO2 to avoid that problem. This approach is flawed. Not only does he assume CO2 reductions are expensive, he individually compares the cost of solutions to the total cost of solving global warming. For this type of comparison to be valid, he would need to compare the total cost of separately solving each of these problems to the cost of solving global warming. Even if he had done this sum, the comparison would still be misleading. This type of sum assumes that his list of problems are the only ones caused by anthropogenic climate change. It also leaves out the possibility of these fixes causing further problems.

Lomborg places a large emphasis on his ‘Copenhagen Consensus.’ This is his prioritized list of problems. He assumes that solutions are expensive and exclusive. He ignores the fact that some solutions can solve multiple problems.

He does, almost accidentally, have some good points. Reducing farm subsidies, at least for poor practices, can help. He conveniently forgets other subsidies that contribute to environmental problems. He says using fewer levies is a good idea. Elsewhere in the book he considers them a cheep solution.

The end notes in this book are very strange. The text itself is like a novel, any you have to guess when to look in the back for references.

Summary: This is an awful book full of cherry picking, silly over-simplifications, and diversion. The obvious holes are so annoying that I couldn’t read more than a small section at a time.

BibTeX reference:

	Address = {New York},
	Author = {Bj\o rn Lomborg},
	Publisher = {Alfred A. Knopf},
	Title = {Cool It},
	Year = {2007}