Good article by Bjørn Lomborg on global warming scaremongering.

I’ve unquestionably become more liberal in most views in the past decade. But I still fancy myself a data-driven centrist. Like with global warming. In my view, it’s virtually impossible given the data to deny that man-made global warming exists. But I disagree with a lot of liberals on the course of action to take, and think – like Lomborg – that they engage in a lot of scare-mongering that isn’t supported by the data.

In regards to environmental issues, I pretty much agree with Lomborg on everything. He agrees that global warming is happening, and that it’s a problem. But he still doesn’t think it should be our primary focus, because we should look at comparative cost. As the Earth warms, it will have effects that will cause people to die. But the cost of reversing warming is enormous. Far cheaper would be to directly save lives. What’s better, spending tens of millions of dollars per life saved (by trying, perhaps unsuccessfully, to reverse global warming) or spending thousands per life saved (by more direct means, like preventing cholera or malaria).

Seems pretty obvious to me, but a lot of greenies hate this argument. Honestly, I think it’s for the same mentality that drives the NRA or abstinence-only education supporters. To them it’s about the principle of the thing so all they care about is dealing with the fundamental cause, not what’s most effective.

I actually think there’s another mindset at work, that being that the planet is more important than human life. (cf. the VHEM. Few are as explicit as the VHEM, but I do think it underpins, even if it’s left unsaid, the mindset of a lot of environmental folks. Thus, what might maximize human lives saved is only secondary. That’s crazy as far as I’m concerned. Global warming matters, but only inasmuch as it will affect human life on the planet. Which it will. But other things affect it more.

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