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The New York Times-bestselling "skeptical environmentalist" argues that panic over climate change is causing more harm than good
Hurricanes batter our coasts. Wildfires rage across the American West. Glaciers collapse in the Artic. Politicians, activists, and the media espouse a common message: climate change is destroying the planet, and we must take drastic action immediately to stop it. Children panic about their future, and adults wonder if it is even ethical to bring new life into the world.
Enough, argues bestselling author Bjorn Lomborg. Climate change is real, but it's not the apocalyptic threat that we've been told it is. Projections of Earth's imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics. In panic, world leaders have committed to wildly expensive but largely ineffective policies that hamper growth and crowd out more pressing investments in human capital, from immunization to education.
False Alarm will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong -- and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all.
Danish statistician and political scientist Lomborg (Cool It) brands climate change warnings as alarmist, and argues that a massive reduction in fossil fuels would exacerbate global poverty, in this detailed contrarian account. Lomborg insists that climate change isn't advancing as quickly as many people believe, and claims that technological innovations will allow humanity to adapt to rising sea levels and increased temperatures. He analyzes data from the UN and other climate organizations to argue that the links between global warming and natural disasters aren't as strong as some authorities believe, points out the limitations and high costs of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, and contends that the continued use of fossil fuels will eliminate "extreme poverty" by 2050. Instead of the standard renewable energy pursuits, Lomborg suggests that climate change can be effectively mitigated with a modest carbon tax that gradually increases over time, and with innovations in energy storage and geoengineering. While Lomborg is careful to back his cost-benefit analyses of climate policies with surveys and statistics, he overhypes the risks posed by the "extreme language" of environmentalists and fails to fully address the impact of climate change deniers on the debate. This is sure to spark controversy.