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5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity of thought for climate change, 7 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming (Hardcover)
What to we want to achieve in the next 40 years? Bjorn Lomborg applies considerable clarity & rigour of thought in answering this question on the subject of climate change.
This work is unlikely to do more than dent the religious fervour surrounding the reduction in CO2 emissions in the short term, but will provide the intellectual base for reviewing the problem when the cost of Kyoto start to bite - when people realise that Kyoto is a hugely expensive and ineffective answer to the issue of global warming.

In a nutshell:
- Climate is always changing (most probably drive by solar activity)
- CO2 is probably a lagging indicator overall
- In the last 50 yearts, CO2 levels have been significantly affected by human economic activity, and this probably contributes to the warming effect.
- The science of climate change contains huge uncertainty.
- Public coverage & reporting has focused on unrealistic worst case scenarios.
- Climate change will have both positive and negatives effects. It is not all one way.
- More practical of doing something would be to work out what we are trying to achieve (e.g. saving lives, prevent flooding,etc) and then assess cost-effective ways of doing this
- Kyoto is a way of pretending to do something about climate change; it is hugely expensive, ineffective, and the bill will come later, and mostly to emerging markets.
Lomborg draws a very illuminating parallel with road traffic deaths. We can fix this problem by imposing a global 5mph speed limit. This has huge, unquantifiable costs; and in practice will not be a solution, because it will not be acceptable to people. It also ignores the benefits of ameliorating the problem by exploiting advances in seat belts, etc etc.

A hugely influential and reasoned book.
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