The U.K.'s Guardian reports today that the world's most prominent climate skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, has taken an "apparent U-turn" and is now calling for addressing human-induced climate change on a massive scale. Lomborg spoke recently with On Point, in a show about summer heat waves and their relation to climate change. (Listen back to the full show - Lomborg is in the final segment.)
Whether or not Lomborg is indeed singing a totally new tune is sure to be debated, despite blogosphere headlines already trumpeting the "U-turn." (Huffington Post: "Now I'm a Believer.")
Lomborg says climate change is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" and "a challenge humanity must confront," the Guardian reports. For his part, Lomborg denies that his latest comments represent a total about-face. However, he now reportedly advocates spending perhaps $100 billion a year to address the problem — and that figure is sure to raise eyebrows.
“The vast scientific opinion is telling global warming is real. It’s man-made. It is an important problem,” Lomborg told host Tom Ashbrook in July. But Lomborg also told On Point that he disagrees with many scientists and enviromentalists about the characterization of the problem or potential solutions: “… I think in many ways we have to stop scaring ourselves, but start asking, ‘So, what should we do about this?’”
The Guardian article's author, Juliette Jowit, says Lomborg's latest interview comments — and the views he expresses in a forthcoming book — are a "huge boost" to embattled environmentalists:
His declaration about the importance of action on climate change comes at a crucial point in the debate, with international efforts to agree a global deal on emissions stalled amid a resurgence in scepticism caused by rows over the reliability of the scientific evidence for global warming.
The fallout from those rows continued yesterday when Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, came under new pressure to step down after an independent review of the panel's work called for tighter term limits for its senior executives and greater transparency in its workings. The IPCC has come under fire in recent months following revelations of inaccuracies in the last assessment of global warming, provided to governments in 2007 – for which it won the Nobel peace prize with former the US vice-president Al Gore. The mistakes, including a claim that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035, prompted a review of the IPCC's processes and procedures by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), an organisation of world science bodies.