NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 19, 2007

If we are to embark on the costliest political project ever -- Al Gore's suggestions to combat global warming -- maybe we should make sure it rests on solid ground, say Flemming Rose, culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and Bjorn Lomborg, a professor at the Copenhagen Business School. 

First, the costs associated with Gore's plan need to be explored, say the authors:

  • The United Nations estimates that if we slowly change our greenhouse gas emissions over the coming century, we will live in a warmer but immensely richer world. 
  • However, the U.N. Climate Panel suggests that if we follow Al Gore's path, by 2100 the average person will be 30 percent poorer.

Given the huge costs, it would be paramount to look at Gore's facts, which seem more convenient than accurate, says Rose and Lomborg:

  • In his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore shows sequences of 20-feet flooding in Florida, San Francisco, New York, Beijing and others; yet the U.N. climate panel expects only a foot of sea-level rise over this century.
  • Gore also says global warming is bringing malaria to Nairobi; yet this is quite contrary to the World Health Organization's finding that Nairobi is considered free of malaria; but in the 1920s and 1930s, when temperatures were lower than today, malaria epidemics occurred regularly.
  • In Antarctica, Gore presents pictures from the 2 percent of Antarctica that is dramatically warming and ignores the 98 percent that has largely cooled over the past 35 years; he also ignores U.N. panel estimates that Antarctica will actually increase its snow mass this century.
  • He also says heat waves will cost lives, but says nothing about the fact that avoided cold deaths far outweigh the number of heat deaths.
  • In the United Kingdom, for example, it is estimated that 2,000 more will die from global warming, but 20,000 fewer will die of cold.

Source:  Flemming Rose And Bjorn Lomborg, "Will Al Gore Melt?" Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2007.

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