|Quotes about Lomborg
|WHAT SCIENTISTS FIND WRONG ABOUT LOMBORG´S BOOK|
"In our experience, we have never seen the immediate and uniformly hostile rejection of a published work by so many senior scientists." . . - Stuart Pimm and Jeff Harvey in their complaint to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty.
"Many of Lomborg´s critics notice his almost total lack of scientific publications. This is relevant here. When one publishes in reputable journals, there is a requirement to amass the relevant evidence for and against one´s hypotheses. (The contrast to a lawyer presenting a case is obvious: science is not advocacy.) Lomborg shows throughout his book - and particularly in his responses to the case we have laid against him - that he simply does not understand this need for balance. He picks and chooses at will. He has no experience of what scientific publication requires." - Stuart Pimm in his response to the documents in the Lomborg case (letter to the Danish DCSD, 20th May 2002).
"The problem with Lomborg´s conclusion is that the scientists themselves disawow it. Many spoke to us at Scientific American about their frustration at what they described as Lomborg´s misrepresentation of their fields. His seemingly dispassionate outsider´s view, they told us, is often marred by an incomplete use of the data or a misunderstanding of the underlying science. Even where his statistical analyses are valid, his interpretations are frequently off the mark - literally not seeing the state of the forests for the number of the trees." . . - John Rennie, editor in chief, Scientific American
"On page xx of his preface, Lomborg admits, `I am not
myself an expert as regards environmental problems´ - truer
words are not found in the rest of the book." . . - Stephen
Schneider in Scientific American.
that the author is said to have been trained in statistics, the book
sign of the use of appropriate statistical conventions and methods --
other systematic approach -- to distinguish what is right and relevant
what is not." John P. Holdren 2002, link.
"The consideration of acid rain in a separate chapter is
equally poorly researched and presented. Indeed, the research is
so shallow that almost no citation from the peer-reviewed
literature appears." . . - Thomas E. Lovejoy in Scientific
"I reviewed only the forest and biodiversity aspects of the book . .
. Little did I know that the entire volume was similarly flimsy." -
Thomas E. Lovejoy in the preface to H. Friel´s The Lomborg Decpetion, March 2010.
" . . more generally speaking, when hundreds or thousands of articles have been published on a given matter, Lomborg bases most of his reasoning on a very small selection of them, doing exactly (by dismissing all that does not please him) what he otherwise accuses (wrongly) the IPCC of doing ! . . . Lomborg deliberately ignores the precautions exposed by the authors . . . As it is possible to find something false or inexact in almost any paragraph, I will stop here, otherwise the list would become boring, and there are other interesting things to say on this book. Indeed, some other surprises come with the economic part, where it is possible to find many times the application of what I would call "Lomborg´s law", which could be stated as `any extrapolation is valid when it suits me. .´ . Well, a close examination of Lomborg´s writings shows that everytime or almost that he attempts an extrapolation, the announced results are not valid. . . " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - Jean-Marc Jancovici, France, engineer, specialized in calculating greenhouse gas emissions. link
"If the rest of this book is as out of touch as this chapter [chapter 24], the entire book will be properly dismissed as being fatally contaminated by the very biases the author claims to be correcting." . . - Jerry D. Mahlman, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Colorado, for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"Waldo is a popular cartoon character with a funny hat, glasses, and a distinctive red and white shirt. Tiny images of Waldo are carefully hidden in large pieces of colorful artwork with hundreds or thousands of small cartoon figures in complex cartoon landscapes. The goal is to find Waldo. Kids spend hours poring over these pages looking for the hidden image. In The Skeptical Environmentalist, "Waldo" became a series of conceptual errors, misunderstandings, and data problems. As I turned each page, the surprise was which Waldo (or Waldos) I would find next. There was no shortage. Some were trivial; others were dramatic in their scope and implication." . . - Peter H. Gleick, Pacific Institute for studies in Development, Environment and Security, Oakland, California, for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"The biodiversity chapter is so seriously and systematically flawed that we cannot consider it to be scientifically credible." . . - Edward O. Wilson, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Norman Myers, Jeffrey A. Harvey and Stuart L. Pimm, for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"The text employs the strategy of those who, for example, argue that gay men aren´t dying of AIDS, that jews weren´t singled out by the Nazis for extermination, and so on." . . Stuart Pimm & Jeff Harvey, review in Nature.
"For although the above flaws are irritating and show some disrespect for the huge effort put into professional environmental monitoring and assessment, the third problem - a stunning lack of attention to cause and effect - is far more dangerous. . . . only one paragraph and one note (without a reference) explicitly address the question of whether the observed improvements have come as manna from heaven or have been driven by environmental concerns and the resulting policies. Lomborg simply dismisses the latter suggestion . . ". . . - Review in Science by Michael Grubb, London, Environmental Policy and Management group and Department of Applied Economics, Cambridge University.
"Lomborg claims to be an economist as well as a statistician. We find this hard to believe. For example, his discussion of the `double dividend´ that may follow the imposition of environmental taxes (pp. 308-309), is so incoherent that it is impossible to know where a critique should begin. . . It is impossible to pick out a wrong statement as the whole two pages in the book are gobbledygook." . . - Clive Hamilton & Hal Turton, The Australia Institute.
"The paradox of professor Lomborg´s book is that in making the case for a more rational debate on the environment, he has committed all of the offences for which he attacks environmentalists. He exaggerates for effect, substitutes forceful assertion for weight of argument, sometimes makes sweeping generalisations from particular instances, presents false choices and is somewhat selective in his use of evidence and quotation. These are the familiar features of all polemics - they are only illegitimate in shcolarship. All that renders this book dishonest is only its claim to tell you the real truth about the state of the world - its pretence to scholarship." . . - Tom Burke, executive committee of the Green Alliance, London.
"In his wide ranging attempt to review the literature on economic development and welfare in relation to the environment, Lomborg claims balance and objectivity, but actually presents a thoroughly misleading picture of environmental prospects and research, global economic development, and the real determinants of human welfare. Statistician Lomborg blatantly distorts the evidence by systematically selecting statistics to support his claims that global welfare is generally improving and environmental plicy is unnecessary, while denying catastrophic risks such as prolonged drought in major food growing areas (though such events cannot be ruled out by climate models). " . . - Felix FitzRoy & Ian Smith, review submitted to Scottish Journal of Political Economy.
"One lesson is that reviewing this book is indeed difficult: it is necessary to be well versed in one´s specialized discipline to spot where Lomborg picks and chooses. Those reviews of individual chapters that I have read suggest that Lomborg´s treatment of environmental issues is biased and misleading. Let us add his treatment of fisheries to the litany. . . - Review in Fish and Fisheries, vol. 3 (2002): 364-365 by Daniel Pauly, Fisheries Centre, British Columbia, Canada,
"An old saw advises readers to scrutinize the footnotes of any extended argument, for that is `where the bodies are buried´. On that theory, Lomborg´s study, with its 2,930 footnotes, promises a veritable necropolis of misinterpretations, factual errors, and eyebrow-raising omissions." - Review by Douglas A. Kysar in Ecology law quarterly 30(2003): 223-278.
"Our analysis of TSE´s treatment of environmental health issues exposes a frequent and widespread series of biases . . " - Review by A. Bodnar et al. in Int. j. hyg. environ. health 207 (2004): 57-67.
|WHAT LOMBORG HAS SAID REGARDING HIS BOOK|
In the preface:
P. xx: "I have let experts review the chapters of this book, but I am not myself an expert as regards environmental problems."
P. xxiii: "While every effort naturally has been made to ensure that all the information in this book is correct, errors will undoubtedly still have crept in."
In chapter 1 of The Skeptical Environmentlist:
P. 3: "Thus, this book attempts to measure the real state of the world."
p. 6: ". . it is my intention to provide the best possible information about how things have progressed and are likely to develop in the future, so that the democratic process is assured the soundest basis for decisions. "
P. 12: "But it is also crucial that we cite figures and trends which are true."
In an interview:
"Dass ich schon beim Schreiben des Buches die Schlussfolgerung kannte, mag manche der Dinge beeinflusst haben, die ich schrieb" [The fact that I knew the conclusion already when I started to write the book may have influenced many of the things that I wrote]. - Interview in NZZFolio, monthly magazine of Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Januar 2006, p. 42.
In Lomborg´s defense against the attacks in Scientific American:
P. 1: "My book clearly makes a claim to science and to be factually based. I openly state the facts and my sources, and thus anybody is free to point out where these are faulty or incorrect and of course, such errors will then be posted on my web site. Thus, there is no need to defend science from my book - any possible defeat of science was never the issue. The discussion is whether the statements in my book are correct or not."
P. 2: "Making it sound like all scientists disawow it is simply untrue. Many scientitsts, both in private and publicly (e.g. statements on the book) have praised the book. Below, you will see that none of the claims of "misrepresentation", "incomplete use of data" and "misunderstanding of the underlying science" are substantiated.
P. 2: "The only specific claim presented here by the editor is that I am "literally not seeing the state of the forests for the number of the trees". This can only refer to the one paragraph on forests by Lovejoy (the only treatment of the matter in the following text) - and here the analysis is quite clear."
In response to the review in Nature:
"Basically, the question to ask Pimm & Harvey seems to be: if I really am so wrong, why don´t you just document that?"