Bjorn Lomborg: When climate alarmism meets cancel culture
The academic and activist faction that sets the threatening tone in the climate conversation want dissent eliminated, leaving themselves the only ones authorised to tell you how scared you should be. To avoid wasting trillions, we should not let them.
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 civilisation. As US President Joe 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 cancelled. I should know, because I have personally been on the receiving end of this climate alarmism enforcement for years. Last week, I was scheduled to give a public lecture at Duke University in the US when a group of climate-politicised 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 UN Climate Panel report which 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 per cent. Given that the UN expects each person on the planet to be much better off – 363 per cent as wealthy as today – climate might cause us to only be 356 per cent 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 weaponising political arguments. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to make good decisions if we’re panicked.READ MORE:Climate change risks new cold war|Japan giant eyes Australian hydrogen|OECD looks beyond climate with Cormann|Bill Gates: time for green innovation to address climate change|Heat on corporates’ climate claims
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 which would allow for our many other challenges to be heard as well.
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 which 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 centres had severe impacts, the total land area burned was 4 per cent – one of the lowest-ever percentages, from an average this century of 6.2 per cent and last century of 10.1 per cent. Four per cent is not “much of the Australian continent”. Such claims are more like rantings from people who have been watching too much alarmist TV.