film "Cool It" by Ondi Timoner, presenting Lomborg´s approach to
the film´s contents based on notes taken when watching a
presentation. These notes are incomplete and not necessarily very
Preliminary critical comments are inserted on certain subjects.
Cap-and-trade invites corruption
The oil-industry-supported climatologist Richard Lindzen: Carbon trade
is an invitation to massive corruption.
Roger Pielke jr. talks about selling carbon assets. There is nothing
wrong with that. But it is a problem that you can get a carbon saving
credit by paying refrigerant-producing factories in China to stop
generating the powerful greenhouse gas HFC-23. It is cheap to pay
factories for closing down production of HFC-23, and you get paid a
much larger sum as a carbon credit. Thereby companies exploit the
system to make money.
ENRON was a leeding lobbyist for the cap-and-trade system. There exists
an ENRON memo saying that "this is our biggest opportunity to make
money". Other companies, like Dow Chemicals, are also ready to use the
The cap-and-trade system "grandfathers" old technology, i.e. relieves
it of meeting modern standards.
Freeman Dyson: China is getting rich, which is wonderful, and it
presupposes energy consumption.
James Hansen: China and India will never accept cap-and-trade. They
have other priorities. They want an increase in living standards before
Rajendra Pachauri: Many poor people in the developing world have no
Poor people in developing countries
Lomborg visits Kibera, the large slum area in Nairobi, where most
inhabitants have no access to electricity or running water.
People are hungry. We see Lomborg distributing relief (food portions)
to poor black children.
Scene: A school class in Africa. The children are asked to make
drawings showing how they would like the future to be. Most children
draw either a house, or a car, or both. That is what they dream of.
Lomborg travels in Africa and listens to what problems people have. It
appears that one of the most important items is to spend money on
Another school class in Africa with nearly adult pupils. Lomborg asks
what is the most important
that you can spend money on. One pupil says education. Three pupils say
global warming. Most
pupils say health care.
Conclusion: malnutrition and disease are much greater concerns than
Children in a rich country
We return to the British school children from the start of the film who
the flooding caused by global warming. They are much more concerned
than those in a poor country.
Asked when that will happen, one child says that it may happen already
this afternoon. It keeps her awake. Asked what she will do about it,
she says: "I pray a lot".
Lomborg: "Fear has been ruling the climate debate."
We see a black-and-white footage of children in a cinema jumping on
their seats in fear.
The tag line of Al Gore´s film is: ""This is the most terrifying movie you
Richard Lindzen: Al Gore´s film is designed to scare you. The
IPCC figures are not sufficiently frightening to scare you, so Al Gore
exaggerates the figures.
We see the most frightening part of the opening film for the COP15
conference (link). It shows
a frightened girl alone in a hostile landscape, which is being flooded,
while she tries to rescue herself. She screams (and then awakes from
the bad dream - but that is not included here).
Gwyn Prins talks about catastrophic language as a political gambit.
If you want to make a lot of money: scare. Comment: The
hardly money, but rather concern - to
a large extent genuine concern. People whose motives are primarily to
make money are probably more to be found on the other side of the
Predicting the future
In 1978 there was fear of a coming ice age. The film brings a
clip from a 1978 "In search of" television episode titled "The coming
ice age". Comment:
According to this link,
ice age appeared just in popular media and hardly in
any scientific literature. This is very much in contrast to the present
situation, where the fear of global warming is very much based on an
extensive scientific literature.
Allegedly, (according to UCS), "In search of" was an interesting
- but not always scientifically accurate - televison show narrated by
Leonard Nimoy. It featured such topics as UFOs and the Loch Ness
monster in a less than scientifically rigorous fashion. To compare this
with present day media attention to global warming is misleading.
-We see David Vaughan, British Antarctic Survey.
-Stephen Schneider was the scientist most concerned about a possible
new ice age in the 1970s. He explains that it was a question of what
human impacts weighed in more heavily: the cooling effect of dust
(sulfate aerosols) or the heating effect of CO2. After a
few years´ study, it became clear that the dust did not win over
the heating affect. The cooling effect of aerosols is still considered
to be important today, but the simultaneous warming effect of
greenhouse gases is stronger . Today, the best information gathered by
that we will get global warming. This is by far the most widely
-James Hansen. IPCC is based on the work of a lot of scientists. They
do a good job of summations.
- David Vaughan: I can´t be certain what will happen in the
future. If I make a statement on the projected sea level rise 20 years
ahead, that statement cannot be tested.
Lomborg presents a bell curve concerning projected temperature rises. A
rise of 2.9° F is at the low end, 4.7° F is in the middle, and
6.8° F is at the high end.
Alarmist propaganda: sea level rise
The film presents James Hansen´s book: "Storms of my
Lomborg: It you scare people to motivate them, then over time they will
Al Gore´s film `An Inconvenient Truth´ brought an
awareness. But it was propagandawhich did not tell people what to do
about it. Now, Lomborg wants to stand on the shoulders of Al Gore and
tell people what to do.
Freeman Dyson, British professor emeritus: "Al Gore´s film,
that´s a brilliant film. The only problem is that a lot of it
isn´t true and all of it that´s true is misinterpreted." Comment:
Al Gore´s film is broadly accurate. As demonstrated here on
Lomborg-errors, there were only 10 flaws and errors in the whole film.
To say that a lot of it isn´t true is - not true.
Al Gore has said that we have only 10 years to avoid a major
catastrophe. Comment: Al Gore
means that in ten years we will pass a tipping point when a run-away
effect is set in motion. He does of course not say that there will be a
major catstrophe in ten years from now.
- David Vaughan comments on Al Gore´s scenario of a 20 feet sea
level rise due to complete melting of the ice on either Greenland or
West Antarctica. He says that the ice on neither Greenland nor West
Antarctica is threatened within a period of 1,000 years or several
thousand years. Comment:
If we speak of the time it takes before the ice is practically gone,
then this is true, because the last pieces of ice will persist for a
long time. But if we speak of the time before most of the ice has
melted and raised the sea water level, then Vaughan may or may not be
- Vaughan: The most rapid possible scenario is a 5 m sea level rise in
two centuries, and for the 21st century, the concern is for a 80 cm
When we cannot rule out that sea levels may rise 80 cm in this century,
and up to 5 meters within two centuries, there is sufficient reason for
alarm. This would mean that Al Gore´s scary scenario might
theoretically come true in little more than two centuries.
The question is whether there is a causative link between global
warming and destructive hurricanes. We see the relevant part of Al
Gore´s movie; as seen in satellite pictures, hurricane Katrina
became stronger and stronger as it moved over the warm sea surface of
the Gulf of Mexico in August 2005. Comment:
In the film, Al Gore did not say that Katrina was caused by global
warming. His argumentation was that when oceans get warmer in general,
then hurricanes get stronger in general, which is correct (cf. here on
- Hurricane specialist Kerry Emanuel: In any complex system, you cannot
contribute particular events to particular causes. Comment:
The audience gets the impression that according to Emanuel, Katrina had
nothing to do with global warming. That, however, is misleading. What
Emanuel actually means, is evident from this
link (go to slide 17). Here, he first says the same as in
Lomborg´s film: "People often make statements which are
completely unjustified to the extent that hurricane Katrina was caused
by global warming. And unfortunately Al Gore kind of does this
sometimes [but see above; KF]. We can´t say that. These are
random chaotic events and to attribute any event to any cause at all,
whether gloabl warming or something else, is simply not possible. . "
But then Emanuel goes on to demonstrate computer simulations. Once
Katrina had started, if the sea and air temperatures were like in 2005,
then the computer simulated storm gets practically the same wind speeds
as it did in reality, with about 138 knots at landfall in the computer
and probably 130 in reality. But with sea and air temperatures like in
1980, the wind speed would have been about 116 knots at landfall, which
means that the storm would have been much less destructive, and the
levees would probably have held. "So global warming did not cause
Katrina, but it did cause Katrina to be more intense than it otherwise
would have been. " This crucial conclusion is left out in
- Christopher Landsea: Hurricane Katrina was just a horrible event, but
not related to global warming (Landsea disagrees with Emanuel in that
warmer ocean surfaces will only increase wind speeds by a few
Lomborg shows a graph of US impacts from hurricanes over the period
1900 - 2005. 2005, with hurricane Katrina, has by far the biggest
impact. He then goes on to say that his has very little to do with
global warming, rather it reflects how much infrastructure there would
be to impact. We see photos of Miami Beach in 1926 and 2006; in 2006
there are lots of people and lots of high buildings, and therefore much
more that could be destroyed. So we see the impact of many more people
living in the coastal zone. Comment: This
alarmists would deny this.
We see the part of Al Gore´s movie where it is postulated that
certain cities in Africa, such as Nairobi, where founded at an altitude
above the `mosquito line´. With global warming, the mosquitoes
come higher and affect cities that used to be free of them.
Malaria specialist Paul Reiter: this is absolute rubbish. Nairobi was
affected already before global warming. There is just 3 % more malaria
by the end of the century. Comment:
This is all too simplified. See here on Lomborg-errors. Al Gore is not
quite wrong, and there is a trend for stronger prevalence of
malaria at high altitudes than before.
- Paul Reiter: Malaria is a disease of poverty. When you are rich, you
will probably not become infected, and if you do, there will be medical
treatment to cure you. If you are poor, your are more likely to live in
a place where you get infected, and in that case, you will probably not
get medical treatment. Global warming causes just 3 % more cases. Why
focus on that? Why not focus on the 97 % of the cases caused by factors
that we can influence? Comment: Reiter
our future ability to fight
malaria. The mosquitoes and parasites are becoming resistant to more
and more chemicals. Nairobi used to be free from malaria, but due to
widespread slums, there is a lot of malaria there now, with thousands
of children being affected, see this link. Given the actual level of poverty -
which is not readily lifted - there would have been slightly fewer
malaria cases without global warming.
Lomborg: The arctic summer ice will eventually disappear, and that will
affect polar bears negatively. But the situation illustrated in Al
Gore´s film is far from the truth. "We´ve actually seen a
dramatic increase in the global polar bear population in the last fifty
years or so. We estimate that by 1960 there were probably about 5,000
polar bears in the global population. Today it is probably about
22,000. So it is going up dramatically. But much more importantly, if
every country in the industrialized world implemented Kyoto, and did it
all the way through the century, it would probably save about one polar
bear every year. Yet, isn´t it curious that nobody talks about
the fact theat every year we shoot polar bears. And not just a few of
them. We actually shoot every year somewhere between 300 and 500 polar
bears. There is something fundamentally wrong about the idea saying: if
you want to help polar bears in the right way to go about it,
it´s to cut carbon emissions. No, if you want to help polar bears
now, the right way to go about it is to stop shooting them." Comment: This is simply not
true. See here on
Lomborg-errors. Lomborg´s figure of 5,000 bears around 1960 is
not based on science, but on a single sentence in an article in New
York Times which refers to anynymous experts. The true number is not
known, but may have been as high as 20,000, so there has been no
dramatic increase, only a slight increase due to hunting restrictions.
Some local populations are declining.
Lomborg refers to the
situation only in Hudson Bay when he says: If we stop global warming,
save maximally one bear per year. He disregards the predicted
reduction in habitat in the rest of the polar regions. He neglects that
the populatin size depends primarily on the amount of habitat
available. He does not understand that wildlife biologists calculate
the size of the `sustainable yield´, i.e. how many bears may be
shot each year without causing the population to decline. Shooting
fewer bears than this will probably not increase the population.
Hunting aims at harvesting the surplus, i.e. so to say harvest the
`interest´ without touching the `principal´, whereas
reducing the habitat means reducing the `principal´.
Light bulbs Lomborg refers to the Earth Hour campaign where everybody is
asked to turn off the electric lights for an hour in order to save
electricity. Presumably, Lomborg says, this is about making a better
world. But it does not. It makes people feel good, rather than do good.
Typically, people will light candles instead. But two candles emit more
CO2 than one light bulb.
Paul Reier: Science is being hijacked. Global warming has become the
final moral issue of ur time. Turning off light bulbs will cut only 0.2
% of C emissions.
Next scene: A school class where pupils become aware of energy use by
checking the energy consumption at home every evening. They urge their
families to reduce energy consumption. A gril notices that if she turns
off a light bulb for an hour, and her father puts a piece of bread in
the toaster, then there is no net saving of electricity.