LOMBORG-ERRORS
 
THE LOMBORG STORY

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The debate caused by the English book
    The book was launched in England at a public debate meeting organized by The Royal Institution. It immediately created a great stir. The Natural Environment Research Council sponsored an internet-debate on the environment and invited Lomborg to present his objections to the Kyoto agreement, even though the Council did not share his views. The intensity of the debate is illustrated by an incident in September when a young Lomborg-opponent threw a pie into Lomborg´s face.
    The book was judged very differently in non-scientific and scientific media in the English-speaking world. The reviews were very positive in The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and New York Times. Lomborg has obtained an especially close connection with the editors of The Economist, similar to that with Politiken in Denmark.
    In the scientific world, on the other hand, the reactions were almost uniformly negative. The World Resources Institute, based in Washington DC, published a list of "Nine things journalists should know about The Sceptical Environmentalist". The "Union of Concerned Scientists" in USA gathered on their web site contributions from experts in a wide range of fields with harsh criticism of Lomborg. "Science" had a rather negative review, and "Nature" an unusually negative review. Most remarkable, however, was the role played by Scientific American (S.A.). In its January 2002 issue, it had gathered reviews from experts in four different fields: Stephen Schneider wrote on global warming, John P. Holdren on energy resources, John Bongaarts on population growth, and Thomas Lovejoy on biodiversity. All four were extremely negative to Lomborg´s book. It is very unusual that a book receives an 11-page unreserved, merciless slating by respected scientists in one of the world´s most widely read journals, and it is small wonder that this slating made a great impact everywhere.
    Lomborg wrote a lengthy rebuttal of all the criticism advanced in Scientific American, and demanded that S.A. print it, but all that he was allowed was a 1-page rebuttal in their May issue. Instead, Lomborg wrote a rebuttal with long quotations from S.A., and placed it on his web site. S.A., however, stated that he had violated their copyright and demanded that he remove the excerpts - but placed a 32 page rebuttal from Lomborg, containing the excerpts, on their own web site for everyone to read on Feb. 16th 2002. This was followed on April 15th by a 21 page response, written partially by John Holdren, and mainly by the S.A. editor, John Rennie. We thus have a kind of scientific review process: first, Lomborg publishes The Sceptical Environmentalist. Next, S.A. produces its criticism. Then Lomborg rebuts the criticism, and finally S.A. comments on his rebuttal. Ideally, such a process should lead to some degree of clarification. It did not, however. Lomborg admitted no more than just one single error, and his critics maintained their severe criticism unaltered. Events thus unfolded just as they had done in Denmark: No constructive exchange of ideas was possible.

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