Man-made climate change is, of course, real, and constitutes a serious problem. Yet the current cut-emissions-now-before-it-is-too-late mindset neglects the fact that the world has no sensible short-term solutions.
Bjorn and I are going to have to agree to disagree on the first statement above, but the rest of the article still has some interesting information. Global warming adherents, Lomborg apparently agrees with you! But look what else he says:
This seems to be why we focus on feel-good approaches like the Kyoto Protocol...
Some countries, like the United States and Australia, chose to opt out of its stringent demands; others, like Canada, Japan, and a raft of European states, pay lip service to its requirements, but will essentially miss its targets. Yet, even if everyone had participated and continued to stick to Kyoto's ever more stringent commitments, it would have had virtually no environmental effect: The treaty's effect on temperature would not have been measurable by mid-century and would only have postponed warming by five years in the 21st century. Nonetheless, the cost would have been anything but trivial - an estimated $180 billion per year...
But nobody sees fit to reveal the agreement's dirty little secret: It will do next to no good - and again at very high cost. According to one well-established and peer-reviewed model, the effect of the EU cutting emissions by 20 percent will postpone warming in the 21st century by just two years, yet the cost will be about $90 billion annually. It will be costly, because Europe is a costly place to cut carbon-dioxide, and it will be inconsequential, because the EU will account for only about 6 percent of all emissions in the 21st century. So the new treaty will be an even less efficient use of our resources than the old Kyoto Protocol.
We will not be able to solve global warming over the next decades, but only over the next half or full century. We need to find a viable, long-term strategy that is smart, equitable, and doesn't require inordinate sacrifice for trivial benefits. Fortunately, there is such a strategy: research and development. Investing in the research and development of non-carbon-emitting energy technologies would leave future generations able to make serious and yet economically feasible and advantageous cuts. A new global warming treaty should mandate spending 0.05 percent of GDP on research and development in the future. It would be much cheaper, yet do much more good in the long run.
He makes sense.
Update, 3/22/07: Lomborg spoke to the same Senate hearing that was previously drooling all over Al Gore. Ker-Plunk updates us:
Bjorn Lomborg is a rare creature, a leftie and environmentalist that seems to be able to deal with reality and prioritise issues with some semblance of common sense...In Lomborg's testimony he agrees that man is the cause of recent global warming and then indicates that it's no big deal. I encourage you to spend 20 minutes of your life reading his submission.
I encourage you to do so as well. Seriously. Just click on Ker-plunk's link.