Lomborg nailed

Jørn Andersen jorn.andersen at vip.cybercity.dk
Wed Jan 8 14:23:12 MST 2003

On 08:58 08-01-2003 -0500, Louis Proyect wrote:
>Danish Professor Denounced for 'Scientific Dishonesty'
>Panel of Scientists Assails Scholarship of Book Praised in Press -- 'The 
>Skeptical Environmentalist'
>By Eric Pianin
>Washington Post Staff Writer
>Wednesday, January 8, 2003; Page A20
>Once hailed as a brilliant iconoclast who challenged environmentalists' 
>gloom-and-doom prognoses of global warming, overpopulation and worldwide 
>hunger, Danish author Bjorn Lomborg yesterday was denounced by a panel of 
>his country's top scientists for engaging in "scientific dishonesty."

One aspects of this which is not mentioned in the article is that Lomborg 
now has a position of being the leader of a newly established institute for 
"environmental evaluation".

The institute was established - and Lomborg appointed - just after the new 
right wing government took power after the elections in November 2001. The 
main agenda of the institute is to make economic "balance sheets" for 
environmental initiatives. The idea is that if an initiativ would cost, 
say, $1 billion, and you would get a better overall environmental "effect" 
by using this money on something else, then the initiative would be 
rejected - and the money (maybe) used for something else.

On the surface of it this sounds quite sensible, but in the real world it 
means that only projects where the effects can be measured on a relatively 
short time scale will be supported. And also that it is very easy for a 
right wing government to find arguments for *not* taking initiatives in any 

Finally, the appointment of Lomborg happened at the same time as the new 
government closed down, litterally, scores of independent expert advisory 
bodies related to environmental issues, social issues, integration of 
immigrants etc. There is a long tradition for state support of such 
independent (and often very critical) bodies in Denmark. They were closed 
down with an argument that "experts and intellectuals shouldn't decide what 
people think". It was however clear to everybody that the reason was that 
the government was worried that because they would become a problem for the 
so called reforms of the new government.

In contrast Lomborg and his institute has so far published several 
publications, which experts are now questioning the quality of. The story 
has just started, I think. Some opposition politicians have already 
demanded that he resigns - so far the government has defended him.


Jorn Andersen
Internationale Socialister
Copenhagen, Denmark
E-mail: jorn at jorna.dk

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