The Lomborg Deception Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming Howard Friel, Thomas E. Lovejoy

Publication date:
16 Mar 2010
Yale University Press
272 pages: 210 x 140mm

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In this major assessment of leading climate-change skeptic Bjørn Lomborg, Howard Friel meticulously deconstructs the Danish statistician’s claim that global warming is “no catastrophe” by exposing the systematic misrepresentations and partial accounting that are at the core of climate skepticism. His detailed analysis serves not only as a guide to reading the global warming skeptics, but also as a model for assessing the state of climate science. With attention to the complexities of climate-related phenomena across a range of areas—from Arctic sea ice to the Antarctic ice sheet—The Lomborg Deception also offers readers an enlightening review of some of today’s most urgent climate concerns.

Friel’s book is the first to respond directly to Lomborg’s controversial research as published in The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001) and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (2007). His close reading of Lomborg’s textual claims and supporting footnotes reveals a lengthy list of findings that will rock climate skeptics and their allies in the government and news media, demonstrating that the published peer-reviewed climate science, as assessed mainly by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has had it mostly right—even if somewhat conservatively right—all along. Friel’s able defense of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth against Lomborg’s repeated attacks is by itself worth an attentive reading.

Howard Friel is an independent scholar and author. His previous books, The Record of the Paper and Israel-Palestine on Record, both of which were co-authored by Richard Falk, have focused on media criticism and the media's use of international law. He lives in Northampton, MA.

"The Lomborg Deception sets the record straight with a rigorous, readable body-blow to climate complacency."—Senator John Kerry

“Howard Friel's Lomborg's Theorem presents a troubling history of how a cleverly contrived claim that hundreds of scientists and dozens of scientific institutions have gotten climate and environmental science badly wrong over several decades is way off base—unlike the well established conclusions hammered out over decades in peer reviewed assessments. Bjorn Lomborg's claims that environmental scientists mislead society into wasting money on non-problems is based on hundreds of out of context citations, dozens of straw men, selective inattention to inconvenient science, and the illusion of careful scholarship—Friel documents this deception brilliantly. Lomborg's Theorem should serve as a sober warning to beware of the "myth busters and truth tellers" like Lomborg, who most likely are the ones misrepresenting complex environmental science problems—and, of course, profiting from the naive acceptance of seemingly careful claims that many wed to status quo policies so welcome.”—Stephen H. Schneider, Stanford University

“For those interested in the future of polar bears and Arctic sea ice, Howard Friel's Lomborg's Theorem clearly documents the inaccurate and utterly inadequate arguments that Bjorn Lomborg uses to erroneously suggest climate warming will have little negative effect on this bellwether mammal. The far greater tragedy is that misleading presentations such as those proffered by Lomborg may help to foster uncertainty in the public at large about the severity of the human causes of climate warming, and thus further delay the urgent need for the entire world to respond quickly to reduce our collective output of greenhouse gases.”—Ian Stirling, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Research Scientist Emeritus, Environment Canada

“Compelling. . . . Anyone who picks up Cool It. . . should have Lomborg Deception within reach to decide for themselves whether Lomborg's main claim to authority—that environmentalists make it up while he provides accurate facts—is so much hot air."--Sharon Begley, Newsweek

"Devastating. . . . Reputable scientists immediately smelled something fishy in Lomborg's work. Now Freil, a journalist, has found the source of the stink."--James Lenfestey, Minneapolis Star Tribune