Saturday, July 2, 2016

Obama’s Climate Policy Is a Hot Mess - WSJ

Obama’s Climate Policy Is a Hot Mess - WSJ:

Bjorn Lomborg may have been best know for his massive tomb of a book entitled The Skeptical EnvironmentalistLomborg (2007) in The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World "may be the best source for reviewing the facts about quality of life, global
warming, and the optimal approaches for addressing the issues." (Hall, Taylor, Zapalski, & Hall, 2009, p. 5)

Apparently he has since gone off to consult for oil & gas interest. That's not all bad, but it does mean that he may not be unbiased as seemed to be the case during his Skeptical days.

Bjorn talks about, essentially, the bang for the buck ($US, in this case). The current Obama plan doesn't do much to move the global warming needle, especially given the costs. On the one hand, Obama will say that we have to start somewhere. In this case, and in several others, Bjorn simply says that this won't do much good. A smart guy like that should suggest better alternatives.

We, at SBPlan, argue that there are two monster places to start. AND neither requires the special help of government, really. Both are energy efficiency (EE) focused. Two EE business models that SBP especially likes are related to telecommuting using remote work centers and a pay-forward model
of promoting energy efficiency in all buildings – residential, commercial and
government. Since both of these initiatives save money, they offer a special win-win-win of sustainability (Employees, Employers and Environment, in this case).

I'm a little disappointing that Bjorn has been simply complaining about the expense and the likely lack of success from various government initiatives, not offering up his own recommendations. It's easy to complain and stop progress, but I give no respect to someone who does not offer up better alternatives. In the case of our non-sustainable practices of energy, the olde business as usual (BAU) model is a failed business model; it is only a matter of time for this living beyond our means model of existence will come crashing down.

Bjorn offers up more research, presumably to make renewables more affordable. And touts the Fracking-NatGas revolutions as a massive windfall for reducing our pollution and greenhouse gases away from coal. NatGas is both good and bad; it shifts us away from really dirty energy associated with coal. Yeah!:-) But it reduced the costs and availability of all oil, gas and coal such that we may have tagged on another 50 years worth of fossil fuels to global economies before we really start to run low(er) and basic economics starts to really solves our addiction to fossil fuels. 

If you read Bjorn's Skeptical Environmentalist, you will find that he totally believes that there is global warming and that man is a big (?major?) contributor. When you read this book you will agree, even before including the 10 record hot years since he published in 2007. What he does say, forcefully then, and now, is that we need to focus on the efforts that will result the move benefits. Huge government spending on reducing CO2, especially in developing countries, may have little, none, or even negative results. 

Bjorn ended up in a big tiff over the 2007 book Skeptical Environmentalist. If it was an opinion piece then it would be okay to take the liberties that he did with interpreting the results; but as a scientific book, he had gone way to far. The  Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) in Bjorn's home country, charged him with academic dishonesty in the book. This ruling went against Bjorn. On appeal the charge of scientific dishonesty was sent back for a do-over, where it stalled out.

Bjorg's follow Skeptical Environmentalist book(s) have titles that start with "Cool it!", concentrating on what to do that will likely have the most (short-term) benefits. 

Bjorg, don't just complain in op-eds about Obama and the other 200 countries who signed the Paris greenhouse deal this April (agreed to in Dec 2015). The average person reading this op-ed would think that we all should do nothing and wait for Bill Gates Foundation to find a cure. Give people real suggestions for actions. Or, are you simply trying to sell your books and consulting?


Hall, E., Taylor, S., Zapalski, C., & Hall, T.
(2009). Sustainability in education: Green in the facilities, but not in the
classrooms. Proceedings of the Society for Advancement of Management,
Lomborg, Bjorn. (2007). The skeptical environmentalist: Measuring the real state of the world. NY:
Cambridge University Press.

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