|“Cool It” – Bjorn Lomborg’s New Cinematic Rebuke to Global Warming Alarmists|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 07 2010
Recent events prove that orthodox environmentalists can be a really hateful, vindictive bunch.
We have the scandalous snuff video in which schoolchildren expressing global warming skepticism are literally detonated, their gory entrails splattered upon classmates. Or consider the “Climategate” scandal in which global warming activists doctored their research and targeted scientists inconveniently undermining their crusade.
Nothing, however, matches the vindictiveness that dogmatists direct toward renegades against The Cause. Exhibit A: Danish climate scientist Bjorn Lomborg.
Although Lomborg actually believes in anthropologic (human-caused) global warming, he was consigned to heretic status with his 2001 publication of “The Skeptical Environmentalist.” In his book, Lomborg dared question the apocalyptic predictions of environmental alarmists, argued that worldwide environmental conditions were actually improving and that economically destructive cuts in carbon emissions were not the optimal way to approach the issue.
Things only got worse for Lomborg when he convened a 2008 summit of economists to apply cost/benefit analyses to ten of the world’s most pressing problems “like malnutrition, unsafe drinking water, malaria and terrorism.” Global warming ended up near the bottom, and they determined that “while every dollar spent on fighting malnutrition would yield nearly $20 in benefits, every dollar spent on cutting carbon would avoid much less than a dollar of global warming damage.”
For this, Lomborg has been physically attacked at speaking appearances, and labeled such things as “traitor,” “dangerous,” “a massive negative force on this issue” and “someone who needs to be taken down.”
With the release of his new film “Cool It,” environmental extremists’ collective seethe will only intensify.
This week, we at CFIF were fortunate to meet and speak with Lomborg during a private event in anticipation of the film’s debut, and he is every bit as gracious in person as he appears on screen. That this man could be labeled “the devil incarnate” says much more about those doing the labeling than about the target of their vitriol.
“Cool It,” which will be released in across the country on November 12 (and in additional theaters November 19), opens with simultaneously amusing but disturbing clips of children repeating the apocalyptic mantra fed to them by schools and popular culture. It then provides a compelling brief biography of Lomborg, whose father passed when he was an infant, and his first flirtations with environmental realism at a bookstore near the UCLA campus during a professorial conference.
Reading Julian Simon, Lomborg realized that environmental alarmism was undermined by the fact that lives were getting longer, air and water were actually getting cleaner and quality of life improving, particularly in wealthier advanced economies that were supposedly the perpetrators of global climate catastrophe. Lomborg had initially assumed that Simon was some sort of right-wing propagandist, but was taken by Simon’s instruction not to take his word for it, but to “go check the data.” Thus began Lomborg’s mission to bring a greater sense of rationality to the debate.
The movie proceeds to examine worldwide legislation enacted to combat climate change, such as the infamous Kyoto Protocol’s mandate to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012. Lomborg notes that achieving that mandate would cost $180 billion per year, but would only reduce temperatures by 0.008 degrees by the year 2100 even if compliance was achieved. Other European mandates will cost approximately $250 billion every year through the end of this century, only to achieve a 0.1 degree temperature reduction.
For every dollar spent in climate compliance, according to Lomborg, European requirements will prevent just half a cent of climate damage. He also places predictions of a one-foot rise in sea level in their proper context by noting that sea levels have already risen over the past 150 years by: one foot.
“Cool It” specifically addresses that legislative darling of environmentalists, cap-and-tax schemes. According to Lomborg, such laws merely invite government cronyism by awarding carbon credits (Enron, he notes, aimed to profit via carbon trading), pass the costs on to strapped consumers in the products we buy, protect obsolete technologies and are flatly unacceptable to modernizing nations like India and China because they will prevent economic ascent.
The film’s most jarring scenes arrive during juxtapositions of third-world schoolchildren who suffer from such rudimentary maladies as malnutrition and contaminated drinking water versus pampered European schoolchildren who tell Lomborg that they are kept awake at night by terror tales about Antarctic penguins and ice caps. Levity is also provided, often by merely showing clips of alarmist films whose absurdism and self-parody speak for themselves without any mockery from Lomborg.
“Cool It” also places global warming scare tactics in humorous perspective by highlighting 1970s clips predicting catastrophic… global cooling.
As for Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” a featured Princeton professor says, “a lot of it isn’t true, and a lot of it that is true is misinterpreted.” It is, he says, “a great piece of propaganda.”
But “Cool It” isn’t simply a hit piece on environmentalists. Instead of wasting so many trillions of dollars in the sinkhole of global warming mandates, Lomborg shows that we can alleviate far more human suffering at far less cost by targeting such simple miseries as contaminated drinking water, malnutrition and illnesses like malaria. Further, such developments as nuclear generators fueled by radioactive waste offer a potential future alternative to fossil fuels so demonized by orthodox alarmists. Lomborg’s preference for government research “incentives” will collide head-on with contemporary fiscal realities, but even technophobes will enjoy the segments discussing future energy ideas.
Want to really make a difference?
Forget about replacing that incandescent bulb with a compact florescent. Instead, take a global warming hysteric to see the entertaining and informative “Cool It” come November 12.
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