World’s most famous climate sceptic: Global warming a ‘chief concern’

The Guardian today splashed with the news that the man the paper describes as “the world’s most high profile climate change sceptic,” Bjørn Lomborg, has u-turned and described global warming as “undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today” and called for tens of billions to be spent tackling the problem.

The Guardian today splashed with the news that the man the paper describes as “the world’s most high profile climate change sceptic”, Bjørn Lomborg, has u-turned and described global warming as “undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today” and called for tens of billions to be spent tackling the problem.

Undoubtedly Lomborg’s flip-flopping came from a realisation his former position was going to be difficult to hold any longer – only underlined by the fact that he is just the latest contrarian voice to change tack.

Left Foot Forward recently highlighted that Britain’s most influential climate denier, the Daily Mail’s science editor Michael Hanlon, just changed tack in response to the breaking off, in Greenland, of an ice chunk three times the size of Manhattan.

Equally, Joe Romm has shown how CNN’s Chad Myers, somebody he describes as “one of America’s most influential global warming skeptics” just u-turned and admitted warming “is caused by man”.

Greenpeace responded to Lomborg’s about-face simply with a snide remark:

“Lomborg’s realisation that the climate is in crisis came a couple of decades too late for him to be taken seriously, but at least it confirms the happy maxim that nobody’s wrong all the time, apart from Melanie Philips.

Others in the green community were simply bemused. One Grist blogger wrote admiringly of Lomborg’s media savvy:

“Who else could get such attention for adopting a position already held by millions of sensible people?”

But there can be no doubt his change in position can only really be seen as good news since it leaves the climate denial community more marginalized still.

Climate sceptics have faced a series of recent blows, most notably because articles detailing alleged scandals in the climate science community – Amazongate, Africagate and Pachaurigate – all had to be retracted, and apologies published. This in turn followed a series of independent reviews which each exonerated the climate scientists. Even the Washington Post – for a long time home to sceptic views – said in its editorial today:

“The overblown critique of climate science that emerged early this year continues to underwhelm.”

Left Foot Forward understands that Lomborg also resigned some weeks ago from the board of the climate sceptic journal, Energy and Environment, which is edited by the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s Benny Peiser. According to a posting on an online discussion forum for deniers, another of the journal’s editors, Boehmer-Christiansen, indicated at the time that Lomborg did not want to be closely associated with sceptics any more.

Lomborg’s announcement came as The Independent reported on its front page that new scientific research suggests the world is facing 3.5 degrees of warming. Science writer, Mark Lynas, explains in the paper that such a level of climate change could mean,

“melting permafrost in Siberia and other high-latitude areas will be releasing millions of tonnes of the extra-powerful greenhouse gas methane, and there will be nothing we can do to stop it…

“the world’s most important and biodiverse tropical forest, the Amazon region, will be burning up and transforming into desert…

“Saharan-type temperatures, well over 50C, will be striking regularly in summertime continental interiors, from the southern United States to the south Asian subcontinent to the Middle East. Around the Mediterranean, forests will be tinder-dry and devastating wildfires an annual occurrence – Australia and California can expect much of the same. Deadly heatwaves, such as that which struck Europe in 2003 and Moscow in 2010, will be a normal summer.”

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19 Responses to “World’s most famous climate sceptic: Global warming a ‘chief concern’”

  1. Joss Garman

    Just blogged on latest blow to climate denial community here http://bit.ly/9Ux2qM Lomborgs flip flop leaves them more isolated than ever.

  2. Sarah Duff

    "nobody’s wrong all the time, apart from Melanie Philips” – on the Bjorn Lomborg u-turn, from @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/bWLeSv

  3. sunny hundal

    RT @jossgarman: Just blogged on latest blow to climate denial community here http://bit.ly/9Ux2qM Lomborgs flip flop leaves them more is …

  4. bex sumner

    "it confirms the happy maxim that nobody’s wrong all the time, apart from Melanie Philips” – Greenpeace on Bjorn Lomborg http://is.gd/eNGBn

  5. Jon

    RT @leftfootfwd: World’s most famous climate sceptic: Global warming a ‘chief concern’ http://bit.ly/bWLeSv <= When will Politicians act?

  6. Michael Read

    When the facts change I change my mind.

    Keynes did it. What’s the story?

  7. Shamik Das

    World’s most famous climate sceptic: Global warming a ‘chief concern’ http://bit.ly/bWLeSv reports @jossgarman @leftfootfwd

  8. Terry Wassall

    RT @jossgarman: Just blogged on latest blow to climate denial community here http://bit.ly/9Ux2qM Lomborgs flip flop leaves them more is …

  9. Greengamma.com

    World's most famous climate sceptic: Global warming a 'chief … http://bit.ly/bZtWCk

  10. Andy Sutherland

    RT @jossgarman: Just blogged on latest blow to climate denial community here http://bit.ly/9Ux2qM Lomborgs flip flop leaves them more isolated than ever.

  11. william

    oh come on, grow up everybody. the world is not just black or white,right or wrong.Read Matt Ridley in today’s Times(p17).Global warming is there,but most probably will be a minor problem compared with poverty and, unrelated,habitat loss.Pachauri and Jones are utterly discredited, which is not to say there is not a problem ,which can be dealt with comfortably;this is NOT Apocalypse NOw.

  12. Jackie Nyaoro

    RT @leftfootfwd: World’s most famous climate sceptic: Global warming a ‘chief concern’ http://is.gd/eNGBn

  13. Mr. Sensible

    This is indeed significant, coming as it does on the back of the Daily Mail’s U Turn, as you pointed out Joss.

    I think the only section of the mainstream media in this country that is representing the sceptic movement is the Daily Express.

    The sceptics are losing the argument.

  14. Liberal Democrat Voice » Blog Archive » Flip-flops, u-turns and how not to welcome converts

    […] that’s why the language of “flip-flops” and “u-turns” (such as over on Left Foot Forward) leaves me cold. The negative connotations of those terms are misplaced because we should be […]

  15. Greg

    I think its fairly pathetic to be talking about a flip flop. Firstly his position hasn’t shifted all that much and he has injected a lot into the debate. He’s looked at the evidence.

    I imagine that this hasn’t been an easy step for him to take. Why not be a bit more positive about it rather than calling it a flip flop?

  16. Frank

    Wait a sec, this just in: World’s Most Famous #ClimateChange Denier Switches Sides! The fight's back on, baby! http://tinyurl.com/2ax8guk

  17. Chris Read

    "Nobody's wrong all the time, apart from Melanie Phillips": http://bit.ly/9bFaIC

  18. Flip-flops, u-turns and how not to welcome converts

    […] that’s why the language of “flip-flops” and “u-turns” (such as over on Left Foot Forward) leaves me cold. The negative connotations of those terms are misplaced because we should be […]

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