Bjorn Lomborg: Climate change and cancel culture – here's how left uses fear to push costly, radical policies

By Bjorn Lomborg

Across the world, politicians are now promising climate policies costing tens of trillions of dollars – money we don’t have and resources that are desperately needed elsewhere.

Yet, climate campaigners tell us, if we don’t spend everything on climate now, nothing else matters, because climate change threatens our very civilization. As President Biden says: climate change is “an existential threat”.

Yes, climate change is a real problem. However, it is typically vastly exaggerated, and the resulting alarmism is exploited to justify the wasteful spending of trillions.

Pointing this out will get you canceled. I should know, because I have personally been on the receiving end of this climate alarmism enforcement for years. I was recently scheduled to give a public lecture at Duke University when a group of climate-politicized professors – some who write for the UN Climate Panel – publicly asked Duke to cancel my appearance.

One of my presentation points was highlighting the latest full U.N. Climate Panel report that estimates the total cost of climate change. They found that unmitigated climate change in half a century will reduce general welfare equivalent to lowering each person’s income by between 0.2 and 2%.

Given that the U.N. expects each person on the planet to be much better off – 363% as wealthy as today – climate might cause us to only be 356% as rich by then. That is a problem, but certainly not the end of the world.

Why don’t most people know this? Because stories of catastrophe and human guilt garner more clicks and are better for weaponizing political arguments. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to make good decisions if we’re panicked. 

The political forces looking to spend the climate trillions and the academia segment supplying the fear want to scrub the climate debate of anything but the scariest scenarios. They want an unwavering allegiance to vigorous spending on climate policy, no matter its effectiveness. They insist on treating this issue as a moral binary choice instead of a realistic balancing of costs and effectiveness that would allow for our many other challenges to be heard as well.

The easiest way to get societies to authorize the spending of tens of trillions we don’t have is to scare us.

Certainly, the professors at Duke didn’t want anyone to hear dissenting facts.

They tried to stop the lecture through outright lies, such as claiming that my funding comes from Exxon and the Koch brothers. These claims are categorically untrue. They also declared that I had been deemed scientifically dishonest, although the mock trial that  originated that claim has been completely overturned and annulled because it contained no arguments.

More worryingly, they raged about how climate catastrophes are so terrible that we should not allow any more climate debate. Yet, their claims were almost uniformly untrue.

They said that “much of the Australian continent” had been devoured in climate-induced fire. But we know from satellite measurements, published in Nature, that while the fires near population centers had severe impacts, the total land area burned was 4% – one of the lowest-ever percentages, from an average this century of 6.2% and last century of 10.1%.

Four percent is not “much of the Australian continent.” Such claims are more like rantings from people who have been watching too much alarmist TV.

They claimed that “countless lives” are being lost to climate-related disasters worldwide. Yet, the International Disaster Database shows that in the 2010s, 18,357 people died each year from climate-related impacts such as floods, droughts, storms, wildfire and extreme temperatures. That is the lowest death count in the past century, a 96% decline since the 1920s, despite a larger global population. And 2020 had an even lower death count at 8,086.

Yet, we can only know this when we’re allowed to hear facts presented. Thankfully, Duke University didn’t cave to their craven arguments (you can watch my talk here), but the attempts to suppress free speech, facts and knowledge continue.

The easiest way to get societies to authorize the spending of tens of trillions we don’t have is to scare us. The academic and activist faction that sets the threatening tone in the climate conversation want dissent eliminated, leaving themselves the only ones authorized to tell you how scared you should be. To avoid wasting trillions, we should not let them.

This article appeared on the Fox News website at https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/climate-change-fear-guilt-panic-policies-bjorn-lomborg


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