Lomborg-errors: "Cool it!"
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Comments to pages 178 - 190 in Cool it.
The chapter has a box about the El Niño
weather phenomenon in 1998, which was indeed an unusually strong El
Ninõ episode. Lomborg says that the media focused on all the
negative consequences, and ignored the positive ones. But then,
according to Lomborg, a researcher did the sums, counting up all
the problems and the benefits. And - you guessed it - the benefits far
outweighed the damages. What Lomborg leaves out here, however, is that
this calculation was made only for the USA. No one would expect in
advance that the negative consequences of El Niño would hit
especially in the USA. There were many more severe consequences
elsewhere on the globe, but Lomborg ignores these. So here, Lomborg is
just as biased as those that he criticizes.
Flaws on particular pages in Lomborgs text:
Page 178: "It summarized the flavor thus:" Flaw: The quote is correct, but it is taken out of a proper context. The report says that there are three groups of climate change repertoires in the UK. One of these is the `alarmist´ repertoire, and this is what is described by the text quoted by Lomborg. But then there are also two other groups of repertoires. Altogether, two repertoires vied for dominance - alarmism, and personal or corporate small actions. The overall impression of the discourse in the UK was that it "looks confusing, contradictory and chaotic. For every argument or perspective, whether on the scale of the problem, its nature, seriousness, causation or reversibility, there is a voice declaring its opposite."
Page 179 top: "alarmism might even become secretly thrilling - " Comment: The text in the original refers to the most dramatized type of alarmism connected with the unreality of Hollywood films and says: "In this awesome form, alarmism might even . . . "
Page 180: " . . . this was powerfully ignored, as in Time magazine: . . . " Flaw: This is not a correct characterization of the article in Time magazine. The article seems rather balanced in that it presents both good and bad aspects, and the main part of the article is a neutral discussion of the scientific understanding of what causes the El Nino phenomenon. Whereas the Time magazine article discusses also problems caused by El Nino in other parts of the world, Lomborg discusses only costs and benefits in the USA - where the costs were rather small. By omitting completely the problems outside of USA, one may just as well claim that it is Lomborg who is biased.