Friday, August 15, 2008

Bjorn Lomborg is a moron


He's at it again! This guy never learns! You would imagine that after being found guilty of scientific dishonesty he might have changed his ways but frustratingly not (hat tip to RobinLove in the comments).

I wrote this in the comments.

Lomborg, your climate change denial is as nonsensical as your criticism of Tickell's article.

1. Tickell may use the extreme term 'extinction' but he doesn't predict 70-80 metre sea level rises by the end of the century. You claim he is "simply exaggerating by a factor of up to 400", whereas in reality he simply observes that these are the long-term end-points of complete melting of the ice caps without specifying a time scale upon which it would occur.

2. You don't state which models you base your criticism of Tickell's predictions of complete melting of the ice caps on. Its really irrelevant to both yours and Tickell's analysis as models become unreliable over scales of more than a century as it is simply impossible to predict the dramatic feedbacks involved. The IPCC reports are generally based on science that is a couple of years old, due to the lengthy process involved in carrying out cross-discipline research and drawing up up consensus reports. Therefore much recent science is neglected in their politically-influenced science-lite reports. I recommend James Hansen as an informed observer of the current progress of climate change and he certainly doesn't think that sea level rises will be restricted to less than a metre this century.
Of course, if you were a climate scientist and you had evidence that suggested otherwise I would consider your position but you're not and you don't.

3. Your assertion that CO2 has an atmospheric residence time of a century is correct but misrepresents reality. Individual molecules of CO2 may have a residence of that length but due to carbon cycling a molecule that is removed will be instantly replaced and so the total amount of CO2 released by anthropogenic activity remains in circulation for far, far longer.

4. Tickell does not, as you imply, specify a time-span within which "billions would die". See point one above.

5. I can't find the report by Gary Yohe anywhere on Google so I trust it has been buried because of the dubious methodology used to produce such bizarre conclusions. Given your previous record on misrepresentation and spin, I simply don't believe that you are presenting the IPCC statistic for average wealth in context.

6. You're sweeping statement that "all peer-reviewed, published economic models demonstrate that such an effort is a colossal waste of money" is clearly bullshit. No field of research offers such a clear-cut consensuse so you are lying. In fact the Stern Review concluded that combating climate change was essential for the stability of our economy. Strange how you fail to mention this, yes? I quote from the short executive summary:

the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.

In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.

7. Tickell does not advocate "more of the same" as you claim, he specifically endorses scrapping the current system based upon national allocations and recommends a quite different global carbon trading system based on taxing emissions at source.

8. I agree with you wholeheartedly that R&D into low carbon or carbon neutral energy projects is inadequate but I simultaneously reject your absurd postulation that increasing spending in this area will make spending on emission reductions unnecessary. The IPCC's climate model for emissions in 2050 that are unchanged from 2000- "scenario 3"- (and the best possible scenario that might occur if we halt all attempts to reduce emissions, also extremely unlikely given geopolitical reality) then we find that mean global temperature rises by an apocalyptic 2.8 to 3.2 degrees (see table SPM6, page 20).
Could you please unequivocally confirm here that this apocalyptic scenario is the one that you advocate?

How you manage to misrepresent established science so badly escapes me. I can only conclude that your analytical skills are grossly inadequate for the career you currently follow and advocate that you restrain yourself from any further comment on matters of such import until you can demonstrate the ability to reason clearly.

More climate science from Hansen.


I would have posted it if CiF would accept the comment.



  1. Having made an assertion that Lomborg was found guilty of scientific dishonesty, I felt sure that you, as a scientist, would be grateful for all the facts to be known; so here are a couple of quotations with references.

    No, no, please don't thank me, it's just my small effort to help science:

    1: The [Danish] Ministry, which is responsible for the DCSD [Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty], found that the committee’s judgement was not backed up by documentation and was "completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice. The Ministry invalidated the original finding and sent the case back to DCSD,
    where it was up to the committee to decide whether to reopen the case for a new trial.

    Lomborg now works for a Danish ministry!

    2: Bjorn Lomborg, the author of a controversial book attacking the environment movement, was cleared yesterday of "scientific dishonesty" by the Danish science ministry. The ministry overturned a ruling in January by the Danish committee on scientific dishonesty (DCSD), part of the Danish Research Agency, that Mr Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist was "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice".

    Mr Lomborg hailed yesterday's decision as "brilliant". It provided confirmation that freedom of speech extended to the environmental debate, he said.
    In its report, the ministry criticised the committee for failing to provide evidence either that Mr Lomborg had been biased in his selection of data or that his methodology had been dubious.

    It also said the committee's judgment had used "condescending and emotional" language. And it was a "clear mistake" that the committee had failed to give Mr Lomborg an opportunity to defend himself before publishing its judgment.

    This scathing assessment of the DCSD ruling meant that critics would have to find solid arguments to attack his work, rather than rely on mud-slinging, Mr Lomborg said. The ministry's report, which examined only the procedural aspects of Mr Lomborg's treatment by the DCSD, is unlikely to halt the controversy over Mr Lomborg's arguments.

    The DCSD was widely criticised in January because it relied on published criticisms of Mr Lomborg's work instead of conducting an independent analysis. Nature, the scientific journal, said the episode "leaves everyone little wiser and the water surrounding Lomborg even muddier".

    The DCSD's failure to undertake its own analysis of Mr Lomborg's work also disappointed some of his critics. Christian Ege, director of the Danish Ecological Council, which has published a detailed critique of Mr Lomborg's work, said he was not surprised that the DCSD ruling had been overturned.

    Mr Lomborg accused his critics of being motivated by a desire to stop his appointment as director of the Environmental Assessment Institute, established by the centre-right government shortly after it came to power two years ago.

    The institute, which has received heavy criticism in recycling-friendly Denmark for claiming it made more sense to incinerate waste aluminium cans than recycle them, has suffered a wave of defections from its supervisory board.

    Five members of the seven-strong team have resigned, two for personal reasons and three in protest at Mr Lomborg's plans to host an international conference -- Copenhagen Consensus -- next spring.

    The board members, mostly academics, say Mr Lomborg is overstretching his budget and exceeding his remit by inviting experts and submissions on subjects as varied as financial instability, corrupt governance and infectious diseases.

    Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish premier who has defended Mr Lomborg, criticised the board defections earlier this month, while opposition politicians said this latest crisis was another example of Mr Lomborg's lack of credibility.

    Financial Times -- 18 December 2003

  2. I appreciate the information as well as your attempt to open an evidence-based debate. It doesn't make you or Lomborg any less of a twat.

  3. I've been intrigued by the debate over Lomborg's legitimacy as an environmental commentator, stimulated mainly by your comment, Duff. I am happy to announce that the scientific world collectively vilified his work, particularly his book The Skeptical Environmentalist in great detail and consider his arguments to be "deeply flawed" (Nature).

    The guy is a moron and these efforts to debunk his propaganda need to be disseminated to the ignorant fucks who get taken in by this crap.

  4. I am delighted to have, er, "stimulated" you, 'PS'. It must have been very exciting for you!

    Perhaps now, as you are in the mood, as it were, you might care to look back over the last 400 years of scientific endeavour and see how many examples you can find in which "the scientific world collectively vilified" this or that scientist whose theories were late accepted as orthodox by, er, "the scientific world collectively".

  5. Keep the sleazy innuendo to yourself, please. You're not funny. Or witty.

    I did as you suggested and can confidently say that the answer is "none". No scientist's work that has been subjected to such structured, broad and comprehensive criticism has ever become subsequently legitimised.

    I challenge you to find evidence to the contrary.

  6. Off the top of my head, whatever happened to poor old Newton's theory that light was corpuscular? Well, unfortunately some clever-clogs came along and said, not at all, its a wave and therfore there must be something called ether in which it can, er, wave. That was the orthodoxy in the 19th c., but then, hey-ho, some trouble-maker came along and claimed that light was not a wave at all, it was made up of discrete packets called quanta. Now, as I understand it, it all depends on how you look at it - very scientific!

    This is more up your street, perhaps:

    "The intellectual certainties of the scientific age thus became eroded in the opening years of our century [ie, the 20th], and science ever since has been seen as a more provisional activity than it was; at any rate, by those reflective about it. Chemists speak confidently about structures of very complex molecules like DNA, but the wave theory and of conservation of energy [...] mean that one can no longer take for granted even well-established theories in mature sciences. It was not just a sign of the backwardness of chemists that they all believed in phlogiston until Lavoisier put them right: such revolutions can happen from time to time in the most prestigious of sciences."(1)

    Quite so, couldn't have put it better myself!

    (1) "The Age of Science" by David Knight, 1986.

  7. Well, you answered the first bit of it yourself. Light behaves as a wave as well as a particle. Anyway, I think you are missing the point. You can hardly blame Newton for missing light's dual properties as he was working with the best information available at the time. My point is that Lomborg "consistently misuses, misrepresents or misinterprets data to greatly underestimate rates of species extinction, ignore evidence that billions of people lack access to clean water and sanitation, and minimize the extent and impacts of global warming due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases. Time and again, these experts find that Lomborg’s assertions and analyses are marred by flawed logic, inappropriate use of statistics and hidden value judgments. He uncritically and selectively cites literature -- often not peer-reviewed -- that supports his assertions, while ignoring or misinterpreting scientific evidence that does not. His consistently flawed use of scientific data is, in Peter Gleick’s words "unexpected and disturbing in a statistician"."

    I don't imagine Newton could be accused of misrepresenting sources or using flawed logic.

    I have no idea what point you're trying to make with that excerpt. I'm a biologist and I'm pretty happy with the structure of the very complex molecules I work with.

  8. "he was working with the best information available at the time"

    Quite so! And so are you, and so is Lomborg. And as Knight describes it, you are both working in a "provisional activity", so perhaps a little less certainty might be appropraite.

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

  9. Yes, but unlike Lomborg I'm not using it to try and sell a dangerous and unscientific conclusion to the public. I keep making this point and you keep ignoring it. Do you not understand Duff, or are you trying to replicate Lomborg's dissembling styles yourself?

    Really, I don't know why I bother. Engage with the subject at hand instead of dancing away from it and trying to act highbrow or have your comments deleted. It makes no difference to me.

  10. Duff, I will not have anyone deny anthropogenic climate change here. In fact, from your demonstrable racism and climate change denial I will not tolerate you any more.

    Fuck you, you bigoted, goat-fisting cockweasel.


Feel free to share your opinions of my opinions. Oh- and cocking fuckmouse.