I hear the Danes don’t much like Lomborg, either

Once again, I am reminded that I’m in the wrong business to make money. Bjorn Lomborg is in the news again, and I learn that the man makes $775,000/year for running the Copenhagen Consensus Center…which is a drop box in Lowell, Massachusetts. I don’t think buying a mailbox is the secret, though — I think you also have to convince the Koch Brothers to deposit checks in it. Apparently the trick behind that is to lie persuasively about science in a way that allows very rich people to become more rich.

Anyway, Lomborg has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which he does his usual schtick: yeah, maybe there’s a little bit of global warming, but it’s not all bad, and some of it is good, and we can’t do anything about it anyway, so just lie back and let Charlie and Dave keep doing what they are doing, which is necessary to keep the Koch Brother’s yachts economy afloat.

Just go read Greg Laden’s dissection of the article. It’s impressive how Lomborg can include all those references and completely distort the conclusions of the papers.


  1. briquet says

    I’d quibble with the word “persuasively.” The lies don’t need to be persuasive to get the funding, though I assume it helps.

    Merchants of Doubt is a good history of the industry obfuscation. Most depressing is how the game is stacked against science-based policy action. Not just is the funding skewed–science funding actually geared towards find the right answer istead of winning a policy argument–but ask any scientists if there are unanswered questions in their field and they will not only say yes, but cheerfully list them out for you. It’s so easy to change link this to “let’s not do anything before we get more research results.”

  2. llewelly says

    This is a great example of the right wing claim that “scientists with different facts can’t get funded or published” is exactly the opposite of truth. The tobacco industry kept funding false claims for decades after they were debunked, and now the fossil fuel industry is doing the same thing.

    Worth pointing out that many of the efforts to defund and privatize education come from the same right wing politics. It seems increasingly unlikely that’s a coincidence.

  3. says

    It’s not so much that we don’t like him as that nobody gives a shit. You people care way more about him than we do. He’s occasionally pulled out from the mothballs to disagre with what other people are saying and then forgotten again. That’s all.

    I just did a quick search on a major newspaper (Politiken, if you care) and the latest article mentioning his name was from September 2013.

  4. petrander says

    As a Dutchman living in Denmark for the past 16 years, I can concur: He’s not that popular and mostly ignored.

  5. skylanetc says

    Lomborg may be a “prophet without honor in his own country,” but he is much caressed by concern trolls and faux-reasonable climate science deniers in the U. S.

    He provides exactly the patina of expert testimony a right wing rag like the WSJ is looking for to help it spread doubt about the dangers of unbridled CO2 emissions. He is much more dangerous than a mere loon like Lord Monckton.

  6. chrisdevries says

    Bjorn Lomborg has been cherry-picking data to support incorrect positions for 15 years or more. The Skeptical Environmentalist (which I read and deconstructed, once upon a time) can be used as a template for how to make a specious argument seem reasonable. It is obvious to me that Lomborg deliberately misrepresented the data – that he knew he was on the wrong side of the argument and didn’t care, because he’s actually a pretty smart guy whose lies were subtle and believable for anyone who wasn’t willing to dig into the data themselves. It’s very difficult to be so reasonably wrong unless you know you’re wrong and are aware of enough of the data to be able to cherry-pick it so meticulously.

    It used to be hard for me to believe that someone who knows how serious the climate change problem is would be greedy enough to write such a book, but even now Lomborg continues to be that greedy, using his trademarked methodology to lie for profit, and I am far less naive than I was 13 years ago when I first came across this dangerous individual. People will do all kinds of evil for money, but it takes a true monster to use his intelligence as a weapon against a better future for all of humanity, just for his own profit.

  7. moarscienceplz says

    just lie back and let Charlie and Dave keep doing what they are doing, which is necessary to keep the Koch Brother’s yachts economy afloat.

  8. moarscienceplz says

    (sorry for the borked post)

    just lie back and let Charlie and Dave keep doing what they are doing, which is necessary to keep the Koch Brother’s yachts economy afloat.

    PZ is probably just being snarky here, but I think the Koch-suckers realize that their own standards of living, and even that of their heirs for a number of generations, are not going to be impacted by pretty much anything at this point. What they are doing is more along the lines of Henry Ford buying a newspaper and then using it to spread anti-Semitic diatribes all over the country. They are so insulated and coddled that they have never had any need to doubt the economic lunacy their whacked-out father spoon-fed them, and so they think they actually are saving the economy. That’s what’s so maddening about them. They aren’t crooks trying to line their pockets. They actually think they are the saviors of America.

  9. says

    Nothing more dangerous that someone who thinks they’re right, but isn’t.

    Actually, that’s exactly the engine that drives that saying: “It takes religion to make good people do evil things.” A good person who believes the wrong thing will spend every last bit of energy doing harm; thinking he’s sacrificing himself for the right cause.

    The very thing that makes him a good pesron will fuel the evil he does. That’s part of the evil of religion; if takes the very best impulses of human beings and turns them towards evil.