|THE LOMBORG STORY
|Appearance of the English book
During the years 1998 to 2001, Lomborg remained at his Institute at Aarhus University, and used the time to write an English version of his book. In the University´s yearbook for the year 2001, the book is listed as one of the University's productions.
The book was entitled "The Sceptical Environmentalist. Measuring the real state of the world." It will here be abbreviated TSE. It came out in the UK in August 2001, and in the USA and Australia a few months later. In the main, the English version has the same content as the Danish one. Most of the book is a direct translation, with modest modifications here and there. A few pieces of text that were flawed have been omitted or modified. This concerns for example some of the most misleading quotes in the biodiversity chapter, and some text on the relationship between sun spot cycles and global warming.
The main change relative to the Danish book is that the chapter on global warming has been much extended, and that the amount of notes and references is much larger. There are now about 1700 references and nearly 3,000 notes.
Another difference relative to the Danish version is that this time the book appeared from one of the world´s most prestigious scientific publishing houses, the Cambridge University Press (CUP). How was this possible ? Firstly the book was published by the social science section of CUP, and thus was not checked by staff who knew about environmental problems from a natural science point of view. Secondly Lomborg seems somehow to have persuaded the editor of the social science section, Chris Harrison, to support him with the same kind of eagerness and lack of reservation as the editor-in-chief of Politiken in Denmark. There has been some speculation that the manuscript bypassed the usual process of peer reviews. In 2002 a dozen esteemed scientists, including the president that year of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Peter Raven, in an approach to CUP called Lomborg´s book a "non-peer-reviewed work"*. This claim was repudiated by CUP. According to editor Chris Harrison**, the reviewers were from the UK and the USA, and three of them were already reviewers at the company. Of these three, one was a climate scientist, the second an expert in the economic consequences of climate change, and the third an expert in "biodiversity and sustainable development". Harrison writes that he expected in advance that the statements from these reviewers would be mixed, and that in the end the conclusion would be not to publish the book. But to his surprise, all four recommended publishing. This statement from Harrison is remarkable in that it resembles earlier statements made by the editor-in-chief of Politiken in Denmark. He, too, told his readers that, much to his surprise, there was practically no criticism of Lomborg´s "facts". Another remarkable point is that, according to Harrison, all four reviewers have political interests besides their scientific work. Harrison does not specify what these interests are.
* Time Magazine, Sept. 2nd 2002, p. 58.
** Contribution by Chris Harrison to a symposium on "The politization of science" at a conference held by the American Association for Advancement of Science on Feb. 16th 2003. Reprinted in Danish as a "kronik" in Politiken on March 11th 2003.