It did cross my mind to make this the funniest item of the day, but then I rebuked myself: Climate change is a serious issue.
I didn’t get the chance to ask a question, I was in stitches by the finish, he really is the most entertaining speaker I’ve heard in an age.
[Bjorn] Lomborg turned out to be young, slim, bottle-blond – think a slim Shane Warne – in a polo shirt and blue jeans. He presented with huge enthusiasm – perhaps 300 words a minute gusting to 350. Facts facts facts. Proposed anti-global warming strategies will cost about $150 billion, and every dollar spent will yield about 2 cents worth of social good (don’t know how he defines that concept). Spend the same dollar on HIV and you get $40 return, on Third World water you get $30 return, on free trade $20 return and on malaria eradication $10 return. Given that Kyoto will postpone global warming by 6 years – it’ll be as warm in 2106 as it otherwise would have been in 2100 – he asked which of the major issues we as a generation would like to be remembered as having addressed.
A Lefty local journalist then got up, gave us the whole “sky is falling” routine and then weighed into Bush over Kyoto, which was possibly the most dramatic demonstration of somebody not having paid a blind bit of notice to what a speaker’s been saying that I’ve ever seen. (Sorry about that sentence.) Then a very stupid woman asked whether, since Warren Buffett had donated $44 billion (Lomborg had talked about this) to tackle HIV and water issues, couldn’t we spend just a bit of money on climate change issues?
I was still suppressing my laughter at the idiocy of this question when he started talking about the concept of non-zero probabilities which I think are things that could happen but are too remote a possibility to be quantified. As an example of this he said that it was in theory possible (I’m not making this up, honest injun) that red-headed women could one day take over the government of the world, but highly unlikely. “Not as unlikely as you think, pal” I thought to myself, musing on the existence of the Redhead Liberation Front of which ninme has not denied membership.
I stayed for a couple of further addle-pated questions, reflected that it was a pity no Green MSP had graced us with their presence and then thought that it would be more useful to think about the interesting things that Lomborg had said rather than the stupid questions he’d been asked, so I left and went home.
PS There are it seems swings and roundabouts about this global warming business. By 2080, global warming will be responsible for an increase of 2,000 heat related deaths each year. It will however have also caused a reduction of 20,000 cold-related deaths. Not, therefore, one might say, an unalloyed evil.
PPS Sea levels are supposed to rise 30cm-50cm this century and we’re all doomed. Though we seemed to have survived last century’s rise of 25cm without too much trouble – they’d didn’t even have to put up decking in Kiribati.
Figures for heat/cold related deaths refer to the UK.
Wiki links added by me by way of illustration.