Published in paperback last month, Yale presents a compelling exposé of the highly problematic scholarship of Bjørn Lomborg, the world’s leading global warming sceptic.
Newspapers are reporting this morning that Tim Oates, the government adviser in charge of overhauling the school syllabus in England, has said that climate change should not be included in the national curriculum. Oates’s proposed curriculum reforms state that it should be up to individual schools to decide whether to teach climate change. These reforms don’t specifically target climate change (Oates’s intention is to substantially reduce the national curriculum from its expansion under Labour), however the proposed changes do raise important questions about the effect climate change scepticism might have on the teaching of science in the future.
Climate change scepticism appears to be on the rise in the UK. A BBC News poll taken last year found that 25% did not think global warming was happening, an increase of 10% since a similar poll was conducted in the previous year. The reasons for this worrying trend could have its roots in the strength of climate change scepticism in certain corners of the media and academia. One figure who has had significant attention from both is Bjørn Lomborg, the Danish academic and author of the controversial book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Crucially, Lomborg is not a flat-out denier of climate change, which is possibly what makes him an attractive voice to many sceptics. He recently summarized his position in an interview with the New Statesman, saying ‘Global warming is real – it is man-made and it is an important problem. But it is not the end of the world.’
The Lomborg Deception is a major counter-argument to this theory, as well as Lomborg’s research in general. In this book (out now in paperback) Howard Friel meticulously deconstructs the Danish statistician’s claim that global warming is ‘no catastrophe’ by exposing the systematic misrepresentations and partial accounting that are at the core of climate skepticism. Friel’s detailed analysis serves not only as a guide to reading the global warming skeptics, but also as a model for assessing the state of climate science. With attention to the complexities of climate-related phenomena across a range of areas, Lomborg’s Deception also offers readers an enlightening pole-to-pole review of some of today’s most urgent climate concerns.
Friel’s book is the first to respond directly to Lomborg’s controversial research as published in The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. His close reading of Lomborg’s textual claims and supporting footnotes reveals a lengthy list of findings that will rock climate skeptics and their allies in the government and news media, demonstrating that the published peer-reviewed climate science, as assessed mainly by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has had it mostly right – even if somewhat conservatively right – all along. Friel’s able defence of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth against Lomborg’s repeated attacks is by itself worth an attentive reading.
Other Books on Climate Change
A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies
by William Nordhaus
This vitally important book shows how economic analysis can help us to better address the challenges of global warming. Integrating economic and scientific research, the author provides a comprehensive model that can determine which of many alternative proposals will be most cost-beneficial in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
By analyzing five case studies on pesticides, plastics, hazardous waste sites, vehicle emissions, and nuclear weapons testing, environmental expert John Wargo envisions a safer world through greener intelligence.
The Lomborg Deception is available now from Yale University Press.