Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming

In This Review

Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming

By Bjørn Lomborg
Knopf, 2007
272 pp. $21.00

The title of this highly readable book has a double meaning: steps should be taken against global warming, but unsupported claims that climate change will lead to global catastrophe and human calamity should be avoided. The book is a plea for a rational discussion of social priorities, persistently invoking cost-benefit comparisons. The Danish statistician Lomborg finds the Kyoto Protocol far too costly for the modest benefits it can bring, even as only a first step. A big concern in the increasingly global dialogue on climate change is that the poorest countries, with the least adaptive capacities, will be the most damaged. Thus issues of equity play a large role in the discussion. Lomborg argues that greatly slowing down climate change is a terribly inefficient way to help poor people, now or in the distant future. Payoffs per dollar spent can be increased many hundredfold by instead seriously attacking HIV/AIDS and malaria, providing safe drinking water and sanitation, and distributing micronutrients. Lomborg also debunks some of the more spectacular claims about climate change -- for example, that it is depleting the global population of polar bears. To mitigate climate change, he suggests taxing emissions of carbon dioxide -- initially at a modest rate of $2 a ton -- and greatly increasing research-and-development expenditures for nonemitting technologies that can provide adequate energy to all.

More Reviews on Economic, Social, and Environmental From This Issue

Browse All Capsule Reviews

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.