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
>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
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.
E-mail: jorn at jorna.dk
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