Bjorn Lomborg: ‘Climate alarm’ is as big a threat as climate change – it leads to anxious lives and bad policies
Bjorn Lomborg says tackling climate change will require far more investment into researching and developing green technology.
Bjorn Lomborg says climate alarm causes nothing but anxiety and bad policies, arguing we can do better with smarter solutions to the problem.
The author and president of Copenhagen Consesus will be appearing as a panellist on Sky News’ special live show – Climate After Covid: A Green Recovery? on Thursday from 8pm
Climate alarmism is becoming ever more strident.
In my home country, Denmark, the front page of the most read magazine proclaims that “climate anxiety is good for the climate”.
This is a remarkably honest message, signalling that it has become acceptable to frighten people senselessly to support climate policies.
A YouGov poll in 2019 found that almost half of the world’s population believes climate change will likely end the human race.
It makes school children ask why they should educate themselves, when they don’t have a future anyway.
If climate change really could end the world, then perhaps this alarmism might be warranted, but that is simply not the case.
The UN’s climate panel has estimated that the negative impact of climate change equates to incomes reducing by 0.2% to 2% by the 2070s.
By then, each person worldwide will be 363% richer; however, climate change will mean people will only be 356% richer than today. That’s a problem – but it isn’t the end of the world.
Climate alarm has real consequences. When we panic, we make bad decisions.
Over the decades, we have consistently chosen expensive and inefficient climate solutions, costing trillions of dollars, that have had almost no effect.
The UN’s Environment Programme found that the impact climate policies have had in the last 10 years equates to living in a world where no new policies were made after 2005.
Despite the poor track record of previous policies, many rich countries are now competing to go even further and become carbon neutral.
Only one, New Zealand, has dared to ask for an independent estimate of the cost of going carbon neutral by 2050 – at least a staggering 16% of GDP, every year.
Even this enormous sacrifice will only slow global warming by just 0.002°C by the end of the century.
Due to three quarters of this century’s emissions coming from poorer countries, the actions of rich countries have little matter.
Even if all rich nations stopped all their CO2 emissions tomorrow, and for the rest of the century, temperature rise would only reduce from 4.1C (39.4F) to 3.7C (38.7F) by 2100.
To get the rest of the world onboard, we need smarter solutions. We must invest far more into research and development of green technology.
If we can innovate and make the price of green energy less than fossil fuels, everyone will switch – not just rich countries but also places such as China, India and Africa.
Climate alarm leads to anxious lives and bad policies. It also takes our attention off the world’s many other problems, like preparing for global pandemics. We can do so much better.
Bjorn Lomborg is president of the Copenhagen Consensus, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School.
His new book is False Alarm – How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.
Coronavirus is the greatest global challenge many of us will experience in our lifetimes. But before the pandemic hit, it was climate change that loomed over us as the planet’s biggest problem.
So what happens now? How do we deal with both of them at the same time?
Watch our special live show – Climate After Covid: A Green Recovery? – from 8-9pm on Sky News, and from 8-9.30pm on the Sky News website and app this Thursday as we look for the answers.