Bjorn Lomborg

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Bjørn Lomborg is associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. His formal education is political science. He earned his Ph.D. in game theory. From 2002 - 2004 he was head of the Environmental Assessment Institute. In 2004, following the Copenhagen Consensus, he resigned the post to return to academia.

The White House's arguments

Your Call 26 October 2007:

Rose Aguilar: I want to spend some time talking about the White House censoring information about climate change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC)director Julie Gerberding gave Senate testimony on the human impact of global warming; the decision was to focus that testimony on the public health benefits of climate change. We then learned that the White House actually censored her speech. Can you talk about that?

Dave Roberts: This is pretty much one in a long series of episodes of the White House pretty ham handedly trying to censor reports out of the Federal government about climate change. If anything they seem to have given up trying subterfuge, they are doing it openly now. But part of it is -- I wanted to make this connection -- If you heard Dana Perino, the White House spokeswoman, when she was asked about it at a press conference… she said, well, there is a lot of hand waving, and I am not exactly sure what happened… but there will be some public health benefits of climate change. She snuck that in under the radar.

Rose Aguilar: Before you go on, we actually have that clip.

Question (24 October 2007): You mentioned that there are health benefits to climate change. Could you describe some of those?
Dana Perino: Sure, in some cases there are -- this is an issue where lot of people will like to ridicule me when I say this, but it is true -- that many people die from cold related deaths every winter and there are studies that say that climate change in certain areas would help those individuals. There are also concerns that it would increase tropical diseases. But I am not an expert in that and I am going to let Julie Gerberding testify in regards to that. There are many studies about that that you could look into.

Rose Aguilar: That is White House secretary Dana Perino on Wednesday. Dave, when I heard about this I thought it was an Onion article at first…

Dave Roberts: Well, I am one of those people who would like to ridicule Dana Perino for saying that. Where it comes from -- this is interesting -- is from book by Bjorn Lomborg who is famous for his book The Sceptical Environmentalist. The point of the new book (Cool It) is that global warming will help some people, it will hurt some people, maybe it will be a wash in the end, and it is not worth being so alarmed about it. What is interesting is that that message is getting funneled by White House spokeswoman almost word for word even though it directly contradicts the IPCC report which is the definitive scientific report on what we can expect from the effects of climate change. Whatever mild warm effects in cold areas will be swamped by extreme weather and disease… It is interesting to me that there is almost no filter process anymore between the right-wing propagandists pushing against the climate change concern and the White House. It is a direct line now.

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