Lomborg in Oz

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I’ve written here about some of Bjorn Lomborg’s work, generally critical of it. But the Abbot Government in Australia apparently likes what Lomborg is doing well enough to have earmarked $4 million (in some currency or another) to ensconce a version of his academically questionable enterprise right in the middle of Australian academics.

I would like to write this up for you so you can learn all you need to learn about it, but Graham Readfearn has already done an excellent job reporting this. I strongly urge you to go and read: Australian taxpayers funding climate contrarian’s methods with $4m Bjørn Lomborg centre.

What are you doing here, you are supposed to have left by now to read this. Go.

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15 thoughts on “Lomborg in Oz

    1. On the plus side, Assbott will not be in office much longer. On the negative side he must cause as much damage as he can before booted out.

    1. … today in 45 degree blustery “spring” weather.

      It was 25 degrees in my food freezer this morning. It’s like spring never came.

  1. Yet another example showing that regardless of how demonstrably wrong someone has been in the past (e.g. his book The Skeptical Environmentalist) someone will still want to throw money at them as if they have a stellar track record of accuracy.

    All you need to do is just give them the message they want to hear—as I count my pennies (thanks to our anti-environmental gov’t screwing us out of science jobs) I figure I could probably make a great deal more money if I started telling select think-tanks that the warming of the far north and Arctic (where I do much of my work…when I have it) isn’t nearly that bad, and is good for the people up there.

    These tanks would be delighted to have a biologist on board with their message. While I’m at it, I could say how good the tar sands will be for wildlife, and that polar bears aren’t in danger at all. Sigh. Damn conscience. Damn passion for my work.

  2. There was also a very good interview with Tim Flannery on the Aussie ABC news show Lateline about this too with video and transcript here :


    NB. It starts off with discussing recent severe flooding in New South Wales -Sydney and Newcastle area – scroll down for the section about Lomberg.

    @5. Desertphile : I really hope you are right. The harm his govt is causing every day in so many areas is just horrifying.

  3. What Abbott has done is a carbon copy of what happened in Denmark, and illustrates the importance of our political choices. In 2001 the parties on the right won the parliamentary election, and one of the first things the new government did was to decimate the strong environmental ministry that had been built up by the Social Democratic minister Sven Auken. It was the new government, led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen who also fawningly supported George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, that supported and encouraged Lomborg. In 2011 the center-left opposition won the election, and in 2012 Lomborg lost his government funding. Soon, a new election will be called, and a recent statement from a leading member of Rasmussen’s party was ominous:

    “»Vi hilser det velkommen, hvis Bjørn Lomborg vender tilbage. Vi har brug for flere stemmer i klimadebatten. Den er for ensidig og lidt for elitær, og det er vigtigt, at vi bliver politisk udfordret,« siger V-ordføreren.
    »Hvor meget og hvordan, vi kan støtte Lomborgs tænketank, må vi se på. I første omgang vil jeg tage initiativ til et møde med ham,« siger Lars Christian Lilleholt.
    (“ ‘We would welcome it if Bjørn Lomborg returned. We need more voices in the climate debate. It’s too one-sided and a little too elitist, and it’s important that we’re challenged politically,’ says the Venstre spokesman.
    ‘How much and how we can support Lomborg’s think tank (is something) we’ll have to look at. First I’ll take the initiative to have a meeting with him,’ says Lars Christian Lilleholt.”)

    Fortunately, from the perspective of Danish self-respect, this is less probable now (though this does indicate how destructive a new right-wing government would be), but Denmark’s gain is Australia’s pain. Abbott has followed the Danish playbook by first decimating the Climate Commission and then supporting a denialist celebrity who argues against taking action to stop fossil fuel emissions. Something similar has happened in Canada under Harper, and, if the Republicans had their way, it would happen in the U.S.

  4. “What we are doing is economics, not science,” Lomborg told ABC Radio earlier this week, with no hint of irony.

    No irony, but the “not science” part is certainly true when he is involved.

    The UWA must be a little slow in updating their site. They list him as giving a talk on March 11, but he doesn’t show up (yet) in searches of people, either restricted to staff or in general. (I am assuming that they list adjuncts during their time of appointment, as least in department level rosters: that might not be the case.)

  5. We are the Lomborg. Lower your standards and surrender your science. We will add your financial and reputational Australian-ness to our own. You will* adapt to climate change. Mitigation is futile.

    [*Or not…]

  6. Re. #8
    Denmark now has a right-wing government. Three of the parties behind it wanted to provide Lomborg with government funding, but the Conservatives refused.

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