6 January 1965 |
|Occupation||Author, adjunct professor, think tank director|
Bjørn Lomborg (Danish: [bjɶɐ̯n ˈlʌmbɒˀw]; born 6 January 1965), is a Danish author, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a non-profit think tank addressing global issues, and a former director of the Danish government's abandoned Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen. He became internationally known for his best-selling and controversial book, The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001).
In 2002, Lomborg and the now disbanded Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus, a project-based conference where prominent economists sought to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methods based on the theory of welfare economics.
In 2009, Business Insider cited Lomborg as one of "The 10 Most-Respected Global Warming Skeptics". Lomborg campaigned against the Kyoto Protocol and other measures to cut carbon emissions in the short-term, and argued for adaptation to short-term temperature rises, and for spending money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions, and on other important world problems such as AIDS, malaria and malnutrition. In his critique of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Lomborg stated: "Global warming is by no means our main environmental threat."
- 1 Education
- 2 Career
- 3 The Skeptical Environmentalist
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Recognitions and awards
- 6 Discussions in the media
- 7 Publications
- 8 Documentary film
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Lomborg spent a year as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, earned an M.A. degree in political science at the University of Aarhus in 1991, and a Ph.D. degree in political science at the University of Copenhagen in 1994.
Lomborg lectured in statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus as an assistant professor (1994–1996) and associate professor (1997–2005). He left the university in February 2005 and in May of that year became an adjunct professor in Policy-making, Scientific Knowledge and the Role of Experts at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School.
Early in his career, his professional areas of interest lay in the simulation of strategies in collective action dilemmas, simulation of party behavior in proportional voting systems, and the use of surveys in public administration. In 1996, Lomborg's paper, "Nucleus and Shield: Evolution of Social Structure in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma", was published in the academic journal, American Sociological Review.
Later, Lomborg's interests shifted to the use of statistics in the environmental arena. In 1998, Lomborg published four essays about the state of the environment in the leading Danish newspaper Politiken, which according to him "resulted in a firestorm debate spanning over 400 articles in major metropolitan newspapers." This led to the The Skeptical Environmentalist, whose English translation was published as a work in environmental economics by Cambridge University Press in 2001. He later edited Global Crises, Global Solutions, which presented the first conclusions of the Copenhagen Consensus, published in 2004 by the Cambridge University Press. In 2007, he authored a book entitled Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming.
In March 2002, the newly elected center-right prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, appointed Lomborg to run Denmark's new Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI). On 22 June 2004, Lomborg announced his decision to resign from this post to go back to the University of Aarhus, saying his work at the Institute was done and that he could better serve the public debate from the academic sector.
In 2002, Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus, which seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. A panel of prominent economists was assembled to evaluate and rank a series of problems every four years. The project was funded largely by the Danish government, and co-sponsored by The Economist. A book summarizing the conclusions of the economists' first assessment, Global Crises, Global Solutions, edited by Lomborg, was published in October 2004 by Cambridge University Press.
In 2006, Lomborg became director of the new Copenhagen Consensus Center, a Danish government-funded institute intended to build on the mandate of the Environmental Assessment Institute, and expand on the original Copenhagen Consensus conference. In 2012, Denmark withdrew its funding, and the Center faced imminent closure. Lomborg left the country and reconstituted the Center as a US non-profit organization, based in Massachusetts. In 2015, Lomborg described the Center's funding as "a little more than $1m a year...from private donations.”
In April 2015, it was announced that an alliance between the Copenhagen Consensus Center and the University of Western Australia would see the establishment of the Australian Consensus Centre, a new policy research center at the UWA Business School. The University described the center's goals as a "focus on applying an economic lens to proposals to achieve good for Australia, the region and the world, prioritizing those initiatives which produce the most social value per dollar spent.". This appointment came under intense scrutiny, particularly when leaked documents revealed that the Australian government had approached UWA and offered to fund the Consensus Centre, information subsequently confirmed by a senior UWA lecturer. Reports indicated that Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office was directly responsible for Lomborg's elevation. $A 4 million dollars of the total funding for the center was to be provided by the Australian federal government, with UWA not contributing any funding for the centre.
The Skeptical Environmentalist
- Main article: The Skeptical Environmentalist
In 2001, he attained significant attention by publishing The Skeptical Environmentalist, a controversial book whose main thesis is that many of the most-publicized claims and predictions on environmental issues are wrong.
In the chapter on climate change in The Skeptical Environmentalist, he states: "This chapter accepts the reality of man-made global warming but questions the way in which future scenarios have been arrived at and finds that forecasts of climate change of 6 degrees by the end of the century are not plausible". Cost–benefit analyses, calculated by the Copenhagen Consensus, ranked climate mitigation initiatives lowest on a list of international development initiatives when first done in 2004. In a 2010 interview with the New Statesman, Lomborg summarized his position on climate change: "Global warming is real – it is man-made and it is an important problem. But it is not the end of the world."
Formal accusations of scientific dishonesty
After the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg was formally accused of scientific dishonesty by a group of environmental scientists, who brought a total of three complaints against him to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), a body under Denmark's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MSTI). Lomborg was asked whether he regarded the book as a "debate" publication, and thereby not under the purview of the DCSD, or as a scientific work; he chose the latter, clearing the way for the inquiry that followed. The charges claimed that The Skeptical Environmentalist contained deliberately misleading data and flawed conclusions. Due to the similarity of the complaints, the DCSD decided to proceed on the three cases under one investigation.
In January 2003, the DCSD released a ruling that sent a mixed message, finding the book to be scientifically dishonest through misrepresentation of scientific facts, but Lomborg himself not guilty due to his lack of expertise in the fields in question. That February, Lomborg filed a complaint against the decision with the MSTI, which had oversight over the DCSD. In December, 2003, the Ministry annulled the DCSD decision, citing procedural errors, including lack of documentation of errors in the book, and asked the DCSD to re-examine the case. In March 2004, the DCSD formally decided not to act further on the complaints, reasoning that renewed scrutiny would, in all likelihood, result in the same conclusion.
Response of the scientific community
The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked a petition among Danish academics. Many social scientists criticised the DCSD's methods in the case. The Danish Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation then asked the Danish Research Agency (DRA) to form an independent working group to review DCSD practices. In response to this, another group of Danish scientists collected over 600 signatures, primarily from the medical and natural sciences community, to support the continued existence of the DCSD and presented their petition to the DRA.
Continued debate and criticism
The rulings of the Danish authorities in 2003–2004 left Lomborg's critics frustrated. Lomborg claimed vindication as a result of MSTI's decision to set aside the original finding of DCSD.
The Lomborg Deception, a book by Howard Friel, claims to offer a "careful analysis" of the ways in which Lomborg has "selectively used (and sometimes distorted) the available evidence", and that the sources Lomborg provides in the footnotes do not support—and in some cases are in direct contradiction to—Lomborg's assertions in the text of the book; Lomborg has denied these claims in a public response. Lomborg has provided a 27-page argument-by-argument response. Friel has written a reply to this response, in which he admits two errors, but otherwise in general rejects Lomborg's arguments.
A group of scientists published an article in 2005 in the Journal of Information Ethics, in which they concluded that most criticism against Lomborg was unjustified, and that the scientific community misused their authority to suppress Lomborg.
The claim that the accusations against Lomborg were unjustified was challenged in the next issue of Journal of Information Ethics by Kåre Fog, one of the original plaintiffs. Fog reasserted his contention that, despite the ministry's decision, most of the accusations against Lomborg were valid. He also rejected what he called "the Galileo hypothesis", which he describes as the conception that Lomborg is just a brave young man confronting old-fashioned opposition.
In April 2015 Lomborg gained further attention as a climate contrarian when he issued a call for all subsidies to be removed from fossil fuels on the basis that "a disproportionate share of the subsidies goes to the middle class and the rich"...making fossil fuel so "inexpensive that consumption increases, thus exacerbating global warming".
Lomborg is openly gay and a vegetarian. As a public figure he has been a participant in information campaigns in Denmark about homosexuality, and states that "Being a public gay is to my view a civic responsibility. It's important to show that the width of the gay world cannot be described by a tired stereotype, but goes from leather gays on parade-wagons to suit-and-tie yuppies on the direction floor, as well as everything in between"
Recognitions and awards
- The Global Leaders of Tomorrow (Class 2002) - World Economic Forum (2002)
- The Stars of Europe (category: Agenda Setters) - BusinessWeek (17 Jun 2002): "No matter what they think of his views, nobody denies that Bjorn Lomborg has shaken the environmental movement to its core."
- The 2004 TIME 100 (in Scientists & Thinkers) - TIME (26 Apr 2004): "Our list of the most influential people in the world today: He just might be the Martin Luther of the environmental movement."
- Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll (#14) Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine(2005)
- Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll (#41) Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine (2008)
- 50 people who could save the planet - The Guardian (5 Jan 2008)
- Glocal Hero Award - Transatlantyk - Poznań International Film and Music Festival (2011)
- FP Top 100 Global Thinkers - Foreign Policy (2012): "For taking the black and white out of climate politics"
Discussions in the media
After the release of The Skeptical Environmentalist in 2001, Lomborg was subjected to intense scrutiny and criticism in the media, where his scientific qualifications and integrity were both attacked and defended. The verdict of the Danish Committees for Scientific Dishonesty fueled this debate and brought it into the spotlight of international mass media. By the end of 2003 Lomborg had become an international celebrity, with frequent appearances on radio, television and print media around the world.
- Scientific American published strong criticism of Lomborg's book. Lomborg responded on his own website, quoting the article at such length that Scientific American threatened to sue for copyright infringement. Lomborg eventually removed the rebuttal from his website; it was later published in PDF format on Scientific American's site. The magazine also printed a response to the rebuttal.
- The Economist defended Lomborg, claiming the panel of experts that had criticised Lomborg in Scientific American was both biased and did not actually counter Lomborg's book. The Economist argued that the panel's opinion had come under no scrutiny at all, and that Lomborg's responses had not been reported.
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit! — the U.S. Showtime television programme featured an episode entitled "Environmental Hysteria" in which Lomborg criticised what he claimed was environmentalists' refusal to accept a cost-benefit analysis of environmental questions, and stressed the need to prioritise some issues above others.
- Rolling Stone stated, "Lomborg pulls off the remarkable feat of welding the techno-optimism of the Internet age with a lefty's concern for the fate of the planet."
- The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly criticised The Skeptical Environmentalist, claiming it to be "seriously flawed and failing to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis", accusing Lomborg of presenting data in a fraudulent way, using flawed logic and selectively citing non-peer-reviewed literature. The review was conducted by Peter Gleick, Jerry D. Mahlman, Edward O. Wilson, Thomas Lovejoy, Norman Myers, Jeff Harvey, and Stuart Pimm.
- Lomborg, Bjørn, "Nucleus and Shield: Evolution of Social Structure in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma", American Sociological Review, 1996.
- Lomborg, Bjørn, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
- Lomborg, Bjørn (ed.), Global Crises, Global Solutions, Copenhagen Consensus, Cambridge University Press, 2004
- Lomborg, Bjørn (ed.), How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place, Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-68571-9
- Lomborg, Bjørn (ed.), Solutions for the World's Biggest Problems - Costs and Benefits, Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-521-71597-3, offers an "... overview of twenty-three of the world's biggest problems relating to the environment, governance, economics, and health and population. Leading economists provide a short survey of the state-of-the-art analysis and sketch out some policy solutions for which they provide cost-benefit ratios."
- Lomborg, Bjørn, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, 2007, argues against taking immediate and "drastic" action to curb greenhouse gases while simultaneously stating that "Global warming is happening. It's a serious and important problem ...". He argues that "... the cost and benefits of the proposed measures against global warming. ... is the worst way to spend our money. Climate change is a 100-year problem — we should not try to fix it in 10 years."
- Lomborg, Bjørn, Smart Solutions to Climate Change, Comparing Costs and Benefits, Cambridge University Press, November 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-76342-4.
Bjørn Lomborg released a documentary feature film, Cool It, on 12 November 2010 in the US. The film in part explicitly challenged Al Gore's 2006 Oscar-winning environmental awareness documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, and was frequently presented by the media in that light, as in the Wall Street Journal headline, "Controversial ‘Cool It’ Documentary Takes on 'An Inconvenient Truth'." Reviews were generally favorable, with a media critic collective rating of 51% from Rotten Tomatoes and 61% from Metacritic. The Atlantic review described it as "An urgent, intelligent, and entertaining account of the climate policy debate, with a strong focus on cost-effective solutions." At the box office, Cool It 's US release grossed $62,713 (An Inconvenient Truth grossed $24,146,161 in the US).
- Weisenthal, Joe (30 July 2009). "The 10 Most-Respected Global Warming Skeptics". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Lomborg, Bjorn (17 Oct 2007). "Sucked dry". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Lomborg, Bjorn (15 Dec 2009). "Time for a Smarter Approach to Global Warming". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Lomborg, Bjørn (2012). "Wrongheaded in Rio". Project Syndicate.
- "Appointment of Bjørn Lomborg". Copenhagen Business School. 3 June 2005. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Lomborg, Bjørn (1996). "Nucleus and Shield: The Evolution of Social Structure in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma". American Sociological Review (American Sociological Review, Vol. 61, No. 2) 61 (2): 278–307. doi:10.2307/2096335. JSTOR 2096335.
- Bjørn Lomborg Biography, www.lomborg.com. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- "Our story". Copenhagen Consensus Center. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Bjorn Lomborg's climate sceptic thinktank to close". The Guardian. 23 Jan 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- Kloor, Keith (21 Oct 2013). "Bjørn Lomborg: The resilient environmentalist". COSMOS Magazine. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Press Contact". Copenhagen Consensus Center. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- Johnson, Paul (8 May 2015). "Message from the Vice-Chancellor on the Australian Consensus Centre". University of Western Australia. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- "UWA cancels contract for Consensus Centre headed by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg". ABC News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Lomborg 2001, p. 259.
- "Copenhagen Consensus: The Results" (PDF). Copenhagen Consensus Center. Retrieved 21 November 2014. "Optimal carbon tax," "The Kyoto Protocol," and "Value-at-risk carbon tax" ranked 15, 16, and 17 on a ranked list of 17 evaluated projects, with a collective Project Rating of Bad.
- Elmhirst, Sophie (2010-09-24). "The NS Interview: Bjørn Lomborg". New Statesman.
- Hansen, Jens Morten (2008). "The 'Lomborg case' on sustainable development and scientific dishonesty". International Geological Congress. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty: 2003 Annual Report. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "Lomborg celebrates ministry ruling". BBC. 22 December 2003.
- "Underskriftsindsamling i protest mod afgørelsen om Bjørn Lomborg fra - Udvalgene Vedrørende Videnskabelig Uredelighed". Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- "Social scientists call for abolition of dishonesty committee". Nature.
- The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty: 2002 Annual Report. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- Visser, Wayne (2009). The Top 50 Sustainability Books. Cambridge: Greenleaf Publishing. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-906093-32-7.
- Philip Kitcher. The Climate Change Debates Science, Vol. 328, 4 June 2010, p. 1232.
- Begley, Sharon (22 February 2010). "Book Review: The Lomborg Deception". Newsweek. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- Lomborg, Bjørn. "A Response by Bjorn Lomborg to Howard Friel’s ‘The Lomborg Deception’" (PDF). lomborg.com.
- http://www.lomborg.com/dyn/files/basic_items/118-file/BL%20reply%20to%20Howard%20Friel.pdf[dead link]
- "Response by Howard Friel to Bjørn Lomborg’s comments about The Lomborg Deception. February 26, 2010." (PDF). Yale Press. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Rörsch, A. et al. (Spring 2005). "On the opposition against the book The Skeptical Environmentalist by B. Lomborg". Journal of Information Ethics 14 (1): 16–28. doi:10.3172/JIE.14.1.16.
- Fog, K. (Fall 2005). "The real nature of the opposition against B. Lomborg". Journal of Information Ethics 14 (2): 66–76. doi:10.3172/JIE.14.2.66.
- Cowley, Jason (30 June 2003). "The man who demanded a recount". New Statesman. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- "OBLS personer: Bjørn Lomborg". Danmarks Radio. Retrieved 12 June 2007. - translated.
- "The Global Leaders of Tomorrow 2002" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "The Stars of Europe - Agenda Setters - Bjorn Lomborg". BusinessWeek Online. 17 June 2002. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- "The 2004 TIME 100". Time. 26 Apr 2004. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals Results". Foreign Policy. October 2005. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- "Intellectuals – the results". Prospect. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Vidal, John; Adam, David; Watts, Jonathan; Hickman, Leo; Sample, Ian (5 January 2008). "50 people who could save the planet". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- "Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award". Transatlantyk Festival Poznan. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Bjørn Lomborg’s comments to the 11-page critique in January 2002 Scientific American (SA)". Scientific American; rebuttal last updated 16 February 2002. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- Rennie, John. "A Response to Lomborg's Rebuttal". Scientific American, 15-April-2002. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- "Thought control". The Economist, 9 January 2003. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- Bullshit, "Environmental Hysteria". Showtime.
- "Early Praise for The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- "UCS Examines 'The Skeptical Environmentalist'". Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change in The Guardian, 30 August 2010 "Although Pachauri once compared Lomborg to Hitler, he has now given an unlikely endorsement to the new book, Smart Solutions to Climate Change."
- Resisting Climate Reality April 7, 2011 Bill McKibben
- "Cool It" movie seeks climate solutions: Lomborg, Reuters
- Kaufman, Anthony (10 November 2010). "Controversial ‘Cool It’ Documentary Takes on ‘An Inconvenient Truth’". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- Cieply, Michael (22 January 2010). "Filmmaker Seeks to Temper the Message of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’". New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Cool It (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Cool It". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- Crook, Clive ((2010-10-6)). "Bjorn Lomborg's Movie: Is Quiet the New Loud?". The Atlantic. Check date values in:
- "Cool It". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "An Inconvenient Truth". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "The Bloggers' Briefing with Bjorn Lomborg and his movie COOL IT". Accuracy In Media. 2010-10-10.
- Lomborg, Bjørn (2001). The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521010683.
- Nichola Wade: "From an Unlikely Quarter, Eco-Optimism". The New York Times, 7 August 2001.
- Stephen Schneider, John P. Holdren, John Bongaarts, Thomas Lovejoy: "Misleading Math about the Earth". Scientific American, January 2002.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bjørn Lomborg.|
- Lomborg's personal website, with own articles, links to related broadcasts on radio and TV, and Lomborg's opinion on the issues with the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty
- Column archive at The Guardian
- Column archive at Project Syndicate
- Bjørn Lomborg at TED
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Bjørn Lomborg at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Bjørn Lomborg in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Bjørn Lomborg collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Wired magazine interviews Lomborg, June 2004, regarding the Copenhagen Consensus.
- ZenSci Lomborg portrait Interview on climate and science politics.
- E&E.tv: Skeptical enviro Bjorn Lomborg discusses post-Kyoto roadmap, calls Kyoto "feel good strategy" (OnPoint, 12 December 2007)
- Grist magazine article Rebuttals from scientists working in the various fields his book makes claims about.
- HAN investigation of complaints made by Lomborg critics, by a number of Dutch scientists of the complaints made by Lomborg critics.
- Correcting myths from Bjørn Lomborg, extensive collection of criticisms of Lomborg, with replies.
- Skeptical About The Skeptical Environmentalist, Richard M. Fisher's review of The Skeptical Environmentalist, in "The Skeptical Inquirer".
- Vanishing Point: On Lomborg and Extinction, a criticism of Lomborg, from Edward O. Wilson
- Letter in Support of Lomborg in Scientific American, a defense of Lomborg's work, from Matt Ridley, former scientific correspondent of The Economist
- An Economic Approach to the Environment; Resources are limited. Cost-benefit analysis can inform our decisions opinion piece in 23 April 2012 Wall Street Journal
- Not So Hot 28 September 2012