Re: NANFA-- Gloom, Dispair & Agony on me

Bruce Stallsmith (
Wed, 08 May 2002 22:55:54 -0400

>Lomborg's book has generated quite a bit of interest in Libertarian and
>free market conservative circles. It's probably going to become one of
>the biggest shakeups of environmental thought since Julian Simon's
>"Ultimate Resource" hit the shelves about 20 years ago.

This leads back to a major problem about Lomborg--he's an economist, not a
scientist. He's working an ideological angle very explicitly so that it's
both convenient and necessary to be very selective about what "facts" are

Scientists aren't able to be so picky about facts. The entire scientific
enterprise isn't dependent on climate-change related grants but there's a
broad consensus among scientists that the planet is warming at least largely
due to human activities. Such a consensus was not the case in the 70s about
alleged cooling, simply because available data was too shaky. A wider range
of evidence is available now. One line of evidence is that the planet's
climate system is indeed subject to sharp short-term swings as alluded to by
Jeff, and in truth that reinforces concern because now through our
activities we're running an open-air experiment that can go bad very

For physical evidence, look at the world's alpine glaciers; look quickly
because they're all melting! And look at the world's sulfur cycle. Human
activities now dominate this elemental cycle which influences atmospheric

I'd rather live on a warmer than cooler planet, but it's not so simple. Free
market ideologues still have no answers on how existing ecosystems such as
forests will be able to shift their ranges in response to both temperature
and rainfall changes, while also dealing with widespread human settlements
and land uses. If I knew, I'd tell ya!

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
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