Why I do not share Johnathan Pearce’s admiration for Bjorn Lomborg

I just attached this comment to a Samizdata posting about Bjorn Lomborg. I don’t want to forget about it, so it also goes here.

My prejudice about Lomborg (which is why I have not studied his thoughts in much depth) is that he doesn’t understand the argument he says he is in.

In particular, he doesn’t grasp that the essence of the Climate argument concerns whether or not there is going to be a Climate Catastrophe. If there is, then all Lomborg’s chat about merely improving the lives of the poor is just fiddling while Rome awaits incineration.

But if the evidence for a forthcoming catastrophe is no better now than at any other time during human history, then Lomborg’s arguments make sense, as do all other arguments about merely improving things. Economics, business, capitalism, etc. all make sense, and there is no excuse for global collectivism, because it only makes things worse. The only excuse for global collectivism is in preventing a global catastrophe that is otherwise unpreventable.

Which is why the global catastrophe was fabricated. The whole point of the Catastrophic bit in Catastrophic AGW is to render economics, business, capitalism etc (Lomborgism you might say), pointless.

And Lomborg has spent his life ignoring that bit of the argument, that bit being the bit that matters by far the most.

As it happens, the Catastrophists are now losing (on the science), which is why they are switching back to gibbering on about “sustainability”, or even more ridiculously, shortages of this or that. In short, they are moving back to the territory where Lomborg and all the rest of us will defeat them with ease, again. But Lomborg himself has contributed nothing to this intellectual victory. He has merely confused things somewhat, by implying that this is all about regular economics. It is not. It is about whether regular economics now applies to the world, or not.

I would be interested to know if commenters who know Lomborg’s writings better than I do think that these are accurate prejudices.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog