Bjørn Lomborg on Live Earth: Right Priorities?

By July 5, 2007Global Warming

Bjørn Lomborg is a Danish statistician who has made heroic efforts to bring accuracy and balance to the public policy debate over global warming. His important book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” grew out of his critical review of the claims made by those who regard — and exaggerate — climate change as the most important issue facing humanity, an imminent disaster, the apocalypse, let’s raise taxes and nationalize the private sector to respond.

More recently, Lomborg been addressing the question of whether a world-wrenching restructuring of the economy and society is called for even in the case of man-made climate change. That is, are Al Gore and his “Live Earth” votaries making any sense? Lomborg writes:

[Making] global warming the world’s top priority means that we shuffle other major challenges down our “to do” list. Some climate change activists actually acknowledge this: Australian author Tim Flannery recently told an interviewer that climate change is “the only issue we should worry about for the next decade”.

Tell that to the four million people starving to death, to the three million victims of HIV/AIDS, or to the billions of people who lack access to clean drinking water.

Human-caused climate change deserves attention — and it has gotten it, thanks to Gore, Flannery, and others. Even before a single note has been played in the “awareness-raising” concerts, much of the developed world believes that global warming is the planet’s biggest problem.

Yet, the world faces many other vast challenges. Whether we like it or not, we have limited money and a limited attention span for global causes. We should focus first on achieving the most good for the most people.

Perspective. Balance. Rationality. Or….

Let’s Rock!

UPDATE (9:45 a.m.): A belated tip of the hat to Rock Stars Against Live Earth for the link.

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