Despite the doom and gloom rhetoric from environmentalists, the world is not descending into climate chaos, asserts “skeptical environmentalist” Dr. Bjorn Lomborg.
Many so-called climate alarmists warn that mankind’s use of fossil fuels is making the weather more extreme as the planet rapidly heats up. But Lomborg says this is not borne out by the facts.
“This ignores that much of the data are actually encouraging,” Lomborg writes in the Wall Street Journal. “The latest study from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that in the previous 15 years temperatures had risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. The average of all models expected 0.8 degrees. So we’re seeing about 90% less temperature rise than expected.”
Claims that weather has gotten more extreme have also fallen flat on their faces, according to Lomborg. A study published last year in the scientific journal Nature found that the amount of the planet suffering drought has decreased since 1982, and damage from Hurricanes has been decreasing in the last century when adjusted for population and wealth.
Lomborg is not the only one to point out such statistics. University of Colorado climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke’s research has also found no upward trend in extreme weather. Pielke testified in the Senate that it’s “misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.”
Lomborg also points out that while Arctic sea ice has shrunk in recent decades, “models also predicted that Antarctic sea ice would decrease, yet it is increasing” and that “sea levels are rising, but the rise is not accelerating—if anything, two recent papers … have shown a small decline in the rate of sea-level increase.”
Environmentalists have had a hard time recently, at least in the U.S., trying to convince people that global warming is threatening their lives. A recent CNN poll found that 57 percent of Americans don’t see global warming as a threat.
Frigid weather and major snowstorms have not helped their case — despite trying to argue that global warming is actually causing colder winters.
Lomborg actually agrees with environmentalists that the world has warmed, but disagrees that it’s going to be catastrophic. Further, Lomborg still wants to tackle global warming, but says the best way to protect people from natural disasters is by ending poverty, not banning fossil fuels.
“This is important because if we want to help the poor people who are most threatened by natural disasters, we have to recognize that it is less about cutting carbon emissions than it is about pulling them out of poverty,” Lomborg argued.
How would this help? By lifting more people out of poverty, they would be more resilient to the future impacts of global warming. Lomborg says the dramatic decline in the number of people dying from natural and climate disasters is “due to economic development that helps nations withstand catastrophes.”
“If you’re rich like Florida, a major hurricane might cause plenty of damage to expensive buildings, but it kills few people and causes a temporary dent in economic output,” Lomborg said. “If a similar hurricane hits a poorer country like the Philippines or Guatemala, it kills many more and can devastate the economy.”
“In short, climate change is not worse than we thought. Some indicators are worse, but some are better,’ Lomborg wrote. “That doesn’t mean global warming is not a reality or not a problem. It definitely is. But the narrative that the world’s climate is changing from bad to worse is unhelpful alarmism, which prevents us from focusing on smart solutions.”
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