False alarm How climate change panic costs us trillions, hurts the poor, and fails to fix the planet

Bjørn Lomborg, 1965-

Book - 2020

This book will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong--and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all.

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New York : Basic Books 2020.
First edition
Physical Description
vi, 307 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 249-292) and index.
Main Author
Bjørn Lomborg, 1965- (author)
  • Why do we get climate change so wrong?
  • Measuring the future
  • A fuller story on climate change
  • Extreme weather or extreme exaggeration?
  • What is global warming going to cost us?
  • You can't fix climate change
  • Why the Green Revolution isn't here yet
  • Why the Paris Agreement is failing
  • Pick a path : which future is best?
  • How climate policy hurts the poor
  • Carbon tax : the market-based solution
  • Innovation : what is needed most
  • Adaptation : simple but effective
  • Geoengineering : a backup plan
  • Prosperity : the other climate policy we need
  • Conclusion : how to make the world a better place.
Review by Choice Reviews

Although he admits that "there is a great deal we don't know about climate change, including whether or not it happens in a linear fashion," author Lomborg (Copenhagen Consensus Center) expresses few uncertainties about what climate change policies should entail. His book does not report new research but instead lays out a conservative agenda for addressing climate change. Nonetheless, Lomborg is by no means a climate change denier, even as he makes his case for a restrained response. He argues his positions well from an economic perspective, documenting his assertions extensively. And he is right in saying that some writings on climate change are alarmist, beyond what the data might support. Still, this book has significant weaknesses. Perhaps the most damaging is its very misleading title: the problem with addressing climate change is not that governments have overreacted with unnecessarily restrictive or costly programs but rather that they have not responded adequately, even if readers accept Lomborg's optimistic assumptions. Lomborg cherry-picks from the literature and brings in the innovation trope as a deus ex machina to support the technologies he favors. A better, more well-written book is Joseph Romm's Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, now in its second edition (1st ed., CH, Oct'16, 54-0684). Summing Up: Optional. All readers.--R. E. O'Connor, National Science FoundationRobert E. O'ConnorNational Science Foundation Robert E. O'Connor Choice Reviews 58:08 April 2021 Copyright 2021 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Danish statistician and political scientist Lomborg (Cool It) brands climate change warnings as alarmist, and argues that a massive reduction in fossil fuels would exacerbate global poverty, in this detailed contrarian account. Lomborg insists that climate change isn't advancing as quickly as many people believe, and claims that technological innovations will allow humanity to adapt to rising sea levels and increased temperatures. He analyzes data from the UN and other climate organizations to argue that the links between global warming and natural disasters aren't as strong as some authorities believe, points out the limitations and high costs of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, and contends that the continued use of fossil fuels will eliminate "extreme poverty" by 2050. Instead of the standard renewable energy pursuits, Lomborg suggests that climate change can be effectively mitigated with a modest carbon tax that gradually increases over time, and with innovations in energy storage and geoengineering. While Lomborg is careful to back his cost-benefit analyses of climate policies with surveys and statistics, he overhypes the risks posed by the "extreme language" of environmentalists and fails to fully address the impact of climate change deniers on the debate. This is sure to spark controversy. (July) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"This book will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong--and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The New York Times-bestselling "skeptical environmentalist" argues that panic over climate change is causing more harm than goodHurricanes batter our coasts. Wildfires rage across the American West. Glaciers collapse in the Artic. Politicians, activists, and the media espouse a common message: climate change is destroying the planet, and we must take drastic action immediately to stop it. Children panic about their future, and adults wonder if it is even ethical to bring new life into the world. Enough, argues bestselling author Bjorn Lomborg. Climate change is real, but it's not the apocalyptic threat that we've been told it is. Projections of Earth's imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics. In panic, world leaders have committed to wildly expensive but largely ineffective policies that hamper growth and crowd out more pressing investments in human capital, from immunization to education. False Alarm will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong -- and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all.