From “An Inconvenient Truth” to the recent gruesome British video that showed children skeptical or unsure of the dangers of climate change being blown up , the messages coming from extreme environmentalists are often exaggerated and scary.
Danish economist and author Bjorn Lomborg has a problem with that. “Global warming is real and it’s an important problem, but the scare tactics used to motivate people have gone too far,” Lomborg said it his new film “Cool It!” The movie was released to select theaters on Nov. 12 and will be in wide release Nov. 19.
As proof of the way in which Gore and others frighten people into action, Lomborg spoke to a group of British schoolchildren. Those kids told him that the entire world could flood imminently, and that they fear everyone will die because of global warming “quite soon.”
Lomborg thinks that global warming is happening and it is a problem worth addressing, but his solutions differ from many who share that viewpoint. “I think we need to be realistic and say, we’re not going to fix all problems. So let’s fix the ones where we can do the most good, first,” he said in “Cool It!”
In the film, he argues that panic doesn’t make for good decisions and it diverts money to the wrong solutions, such as cap and trade. The economist also criticized the Kyoto treaty, saying it would have cost $180 billion of GDP per year, while reducing temperatures by 0.008 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. “It’s almost ridiculous,” Lomborg noted.
“If we only listen to worst-case scenarios, that’s unlikely to make good public priorities. We’re likely to be saying, we should be spending most of our money on the people who shout the loudest,” Lomborg said.
“Cool It” also takes aim at four myths from “An Inconvenient Truth” -- claims of 20 foot sea level rise, that hurricanes will worse because of global warming, that mosquito lines in cities like Nairobi have climbed leading to more malaria, and that global warming is threatening polar bears.
Instead of scaring the public into the wrong policies, according to Lomborg, we need green energy to be price competitive with fossil fuels so that people will want to use it. “What we need is technology that will make it cheaper for us to not emit carbon dioxide but still be able to do all these great things [fly, heat our homes, etc]. We need to find cheaper ways to have alternative energy,” he said.
Carbon cutting programs would cost the European Union $250 billion a year. Bjorn proposed spending that $250 per year on research and development of green energy ($100B), geoengineering ($1B), adapting to potential sea level rise, inland flooding and heat island impacts of climate change ($48B). That would leave $97 billion to spend on bigger world problems like health, hunger, water and education.