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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

False alarm: why climate change panic costs us trillions, hurts the poor, and fails to fix the planet, by Bjorn Lomborg, paperback, 323 pages, ISBN 978-1-5416-4747-3, Basic Books, 2020, £14.99.

False-Alarm Climate Alarmism

Bjorn Lomborg is a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. In this thought-provoking study, he writes, "The science shows us that fears of a climate apocalypse are unfounded. Global warming is real, but it is not the end of the world."

In 1989, the head of the UN Environmental Program told us we had just three years to 'win - or lose - the climate struggle'.

As the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in its 2014 Assessment Report, "For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers [such as] changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development."

Researchers working for the IPCC examined five plausible scenarios for the future. As Lomborg notes, "none of the options is a Mad Max-type dystopian future. Even in the worst of the five scenarios, people end up better off than today."

The best was what they called the Fossil-fueled Development, in which the world's countries adopted "policies that foster innovation and build human capital through massive investment in health and education. The world focuses on rapid technological development. Countries exploit abundant fossil fuel resources to support resource- and energy-intensive lifestyles. Greenhouse gas emissions are much higher and this scenario sees the highest temperature rise by 2100. Nonetheless, much more is invested in adaptation, and local environmental problems like air pollution are successfully managed. … Even after taking into account the climate damage, the extra welfare benefit of the 'fossil fuel' pathway is still remarkably large."

"a study in Bangladesh has shown that grid electrification, which in Bangladesh and much of the world mostly means using fossil fuels, has significant positive impacts on household income, expenditure, and education."

"In one 2016 study looking at energy options for Bangladesh, researchers found that building more coal-fired power plants would generate global climate damage costing around $592 million over the next fifteen years, but the benefits from electrification would be almost five hundred times greater at $258 billion …"

By contrast, the 'Green' pathway would result in less welfare than the fossil-fueled development route. "a comprehensive study published in Nature Climate Change shows that strong global action to reduce climate change would cause far more hunger and food insecurity than climate change itself."

A recent study of the consequences of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change found that it would increase poverty.

In sum, "Heeding the call of no-growth would likely mean we would have much fewer resources for health care, education, and technology. This outcome would trap us in a world with far fewer resources to further human welfare. … with more poor people, more inequality, less opportunity, and millions of more premature deaths than if we decide on the 'fossil fuel' pathway. … The net impact of climate change will actually be beneficial, because carbon dioxide fertilization drives down food prices more than temperature drives them up. … climate policy is no longer a solution and will in total cause seventy-seven million more people to starve."

Reaching the Paris Agreement's goal would be hugely costly: "The UN estimates that the additional infrastructure cost alone of achieving the 2.70F (1.50C) limit would come to almost a trillion dollars each and every year for the next thirty years."

"research, undertaken by the leading independent economic think tank in New Zealand, shows that just getting halfway to the target - cutting 50 percent of New Zealand's emissions by 2050 - would cost at least $19 billion annually by 2050. … Getting all the way will likely amount to more than $60 billion annually, or 16 percent of GDP by 2050."

Today, solar panels and wind turbines together deliver only 1.1 percent of global energy. "solar and wind power work only as a small addition to the baseload power that comes from fossil fuels and other reliable energy sources."

"The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2040 and even after another $4 trillion has been spent on additional subsidies, solar and wind power will deliver only less than 5 percent of global energy. They are expensive and inefficient compared to fossil fuels. The cheapness of fossil fuels explains why they meet about 80 percent of our energy needs today, and why they will still be providing 74 percent in 2040, according to the International Energy Agency …"

Lomborg concludes, "We should invest far more in planning and infrastructure to provide protection from natural disasters, rising sea levels, and changes in temperatures." 

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