After Gore: Observations on Bjorn Lomborg’s Testimony

For those of you who missed Bjorn Lomborg’s testimony after Gore’s “triumphant return” (Katie Couric’s words, not mine) to Capitol Hill, he did a great job attacking the crisis mentality on climate change. His main point was that all peer-reviewed cost-benefit studies suggest we should do very little regarding the climate and referred to “vast frivolous projects like the Kyoto Protocol.”

Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) did a vicious hit job on Lomborg in his introduction. He said while America takes great pride in freedom of speech, we have to separate science from opinion and that every “credible organization” has said Lomborg is basically wrong and dishonest: the Danish Scientific Committee on Dishonesty, the NAS, Science, Nature, Scientific American, etc. Gordon also said Lomborg believed “Jews weren’t singled out by Nazis”–which is an outright lie. (My colleague, Iain Murray, says that someone reviewing Lomborg’s book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, said that Lomborg’s arguments were the equivalent of saying the Nazis didn’t single out Jews.)

Lomborg quietly responded “Thank you very much for your welcome here.”

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), who always wraps himself in God, was even nastier, if possible. He said: “In Genesis we were given the moral obligation to take care of the Creator’s garden.” You’re not telling us that we should not obey the word of God are you? You’re saying America is not capable of taking care of HIV, malaria, and global warming all at the same time. But I am here to tell you you’re wrong. Maybe Denmark can’t do all those things at the same time, but America can.”

Lomborg’s response was great: “If you say you can and will do all these things, why didn’t you do them in the past 10 years?” He went on to point out “If it’s so easy (costless) to reduce CO2, why did CO2 emissions rise 18% while Gore was VP?”

After Gordon’s initial ad hominen attack on Lomborg, he left and the only Democrat who stayed was Inslee as chair. There were no other Dems at any time. There were about 9-12 Republicans, most of whom commented on the fact that the Dems had no interest in ideas or the truth, that they only wanted to applaud Gore and then leave. By far the two outstanding GOP stars who asked the most intelligent questions and who seemed to understand what was going on, etc., were John Shadegg of AZ and John Shimkus of IL. Clearly they were both well-versed and had had some good staff work. (Shadegg also said the Dems must be afraid to hear what you’re saying and that’s why none of them are here.)

Lomborg to Shadegg: re Gore freezing CO2 emissions, “You could do it, but it wouldn’t accomplish anything.” On cutting C02 emissions by 90%, Lomborg said “I just think it is ludicrous and cost would be in excess of $85 trillion.”

Sullivan of Oklahoma asked for the two most outrageous Gorisms. Lomborg’s response: “The 20 foot sea level rise is unbelievable — especially that he can get away with saying those things.” And “That it’s actually going to be costless reducing emissions and that we’ll actually make money doing it.”

Inslee became indignant that Lomborg was criticizing Gore, “You have constantly, repeatedly misrepresented what the vice president of the United States has said.”

Lomborg also stressed how Gore and others never discuss both sides of an issue. They go on and on about heat deaths and never mention cold deaths. A couple of times he talked about how in the UK everyone is still talking about 2,000 heat deaths from a few years ago but don’t say a word about the 25,000-plus cold deaths that occur every year. He said of course there will be an increase in heat deaths, but there will be a vast decrease in cold deaths.

I’m sure Lomborg irritated Inslee and Gordon appearing suitless and tieless, wearing his tight black muscle T-shirt.