He correctly observes that public discussion about global warming is largely between two entrenched camps of opinion. Lomborg is also right about our needing a “Plan B” climate policy that defuses the current rancorous and unproductive debate about “the manmade climate problem.” His first camp is inhabited by warming alarmists, supported by the majesty of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Most major institutions in western society have joined their funereal fugue (and funding pipeline) in supportive chorus.
In Lomborg’s other camp, empiricists (including a majority of independent scientists) argue implacably that we still await actual, factual evidence that our planet is still warming at all – let alone dangerously, let alone because of human carbon dioxide emissions.
Reality, of course, is a lot more nuanced. For example, it is simply incorrect to say, as Lomborg does, that most independent scientists argue that “global warming was a fabrication.”
The truth is, all competent scientists agree on three things. Earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age ended 150 years ago, and its climate changes frequently. Human activities (not just CO2 emissions) definitely affect local climate, and combined together have the potential to affect global climate, perhaps measurably. Third, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, albeit a minor one.
The real scientific debate is not about any of this. It is, rather, about the direction and magnitude of global human effects, and their likely significance when considered in the context of natural climate change – which has been occurring ever since Earth developed its oceans, atmosphere and climate many eons ago.
After spending more than $100 billion since 1990 to support research by thousands of scientists, we are still unable to isolate and measure human influence on global temperature. That influence remains buried deeply in the noise and natural variation of Earth’s climate system.
Lomborg is either ignorant of this fact, or chooses to ignore it. He simply assumes “the manmade climate problem” is real – and proceeds to offer a “solution.” He now asserts that governments should allocate yet more money for more research, this time into new renewable technologies for power generation, so that “green” energy will eventually (and presumptively) become cheaper than hydrocarbon-based energy!
Be the first to read Paul Driessen's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.