Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming

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Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
Cover Cool it low res.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorBjørn Lomborg
Cover artistChip Kidd
CountryUnited States
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
363.738/74 22
LC ClassQC981.8.G56 L657 2007
Preceded byThe Skeptical Environmentalist 

Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming is a book by the Danish statistician and political scientist Bjørn Lomborg. The book is a sequel to The Skeptical Environmentalist (first published in Danish in 1998), which in English translation brought the author to world attention. Lomborg argues that many of the elaborate and expensive actions being considered to stop global warming will cost hundreds of billions of dollars without the same return on investment, often are based on emotional rather than strictly scientific assumptions, and may have very little impact on the world's temperature for centuries. Lomborg concludes that a limited carbon tax is needed in the First World as well as subsidies from the First World to the Third World to help fight ongoing humanitarian crises.

Reviews and critique[edit]

In a review in The New York Times, Andrew Revkin says that Lomborg uses the book to reprise "his earlier argument with a tighter focus. He tries to puncture more of what he says are environmental myths, like the imminent demise of polar bears."[1]

Economist Frank Ackerman of Tufts University and the Stockholm Environment Institute, wrote a review of Lomborg's book.[2] In it, Ackerman criticised Lomborg for his views on the economics of climate change, including the costs of the Kyoto Protocol and the use of cost-benefit analysis.

IPCC lead author Brian O'Neill[3] wrote a mixed review of Cool It, concluding:[4]

[...] Bjorn Lomborg is like the Oliver Stone of climate change. He has written a book that sets out to support a certain point of view, and, unless you are an expert, you will never know which facts are correct and appropriately used and which are not. You might not be aware that large (and crucial) chunks of the story are skipped altogether. But like a Stone movie, it is a well-told tale and raises some questions that are worth thinking about. So if you are going to read only one book on climate, don’t read this one. But if you are going to read ten, reading Lomborg may be worthwhile.

The Lomborg Deception[edit]

In 2010, Howard Friel wrote The Lomborg Deception, a book-length critique of Cool It, which traces Lomborg’s many references and tests their authority and substance. Friel has said he found "misrepresentation of academic research, misquotation of data, reliance on studies irrelevant to the author’s claims and citation of sources that seem not to exist".[5]

Friel's conclusion, as per his book's title, is that Lomborg is "a performance artist disguised as an academic." I don't want to be as trusting as the reviewers who praised Lomborg's scholarship without (it seems) bothering to check his references, so rather than taking Friel at his word just as they took Lomborg at his, I've done my best to do that checking. Although Friel engages in some bothersome overkill, overall his analysis is compelling.

— Sharon Begley, Newsweek[6][7]

According to Lomborg, Friel's book appears to be aimed primarily at the popular version of Cool It as opposed to the longer more thoroughly cited edition.[8]

Documentary film[edit]

On 12 November 2010, Lomborg released a feature-length documentary film Cool It in the United States.[9][10][11]

The Atlantic says Cool It is "an urgent, intelligent, and entertaining account of the climate policy debate, with a strong focus on cost-effective solutions".[12]


  • Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, Knopf Publishing Group (2007-09-04), ISBN 978-0-307-26692-7 (Hardcover, 253 pages)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Revkin, Andrew C.Q. (2007-11-13). "Challenges to Both Left and Right on Global Warming". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Ackerman, F. (12 April 2008). "Hot, It's Not: Reflections on Cool It, by Bjorn Lomborg" (PDF). Climatic Change. 89 (3–4): 435–446. Bibcode:2008ClCh...89..435A. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9403-3.
  3. ^ The Watson Institute for International Studies (n.d.). "Brian C. O'Neill : The Watson Institute for International Studies". The Watson Institute for International Studies website. Archived from the original on 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2009-12-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ O'Neill, B.C. (2008). "Book Review: "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming" by Bjorn Lomborg" (PDF). Population and Development Review. 34 (2): 359–362. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2008.00224.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2009-12-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Richard Girling. The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming by Howard Friel, The Sunday Times, April 18, 2010.
  6. ^ Begley, Sharon (22 February 2010). "Book Review: The Lomborg Deception: Debunking the claims of the climate-change skeptic". Newsweek. Retrieved 22 February 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Friel, Howard (2010). The Lomborg Deception – Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-16103-8.
  8. ^ Bjorn Lomborg's response to Howard Friel.
  9. ^ Film's official website
  10. ^ "'Cool It' movie seeks climate solutions: Lomborg", Reuters
  11. ^ "Empire Movies review". Archived from the original on 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  12. ^ Crook, Clive (2010-10-06). "Bjorn Lomborg's Movie: Is Quiet the New Loud?". The Atlantic.

External links[edit]

  • Cool it official page on