Climate change sceptic Bjorn Lomborg: 'I'm the victim'

| 23rd January 2012
Bjorn Lomborg
Bjorn Lomborg is a political scientist and adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School

Bjorn Lomborg is a political scientist and author of a number of books on environmental policy

The think tank set up by Bjorn Lomborg will close in July unless new sources of income can be found after the Danish government cut its funding

The much-criticised author and climate policy sceptic Bjorn Lomborg has told the Ecologist he is the victim of a vendetta after his funding was cut by the Danish government.

Lomborg, working through the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, of which he is director, has been highly critical of proposals to tackle climate change. While accepting that climate change is happening, he argues that current policies for reducing emissions are not only failing but are a waste of money as well. Instead of trying to cut emissions we should focus on adaptation, he says, investing in renewable technologies and tackling poverty today.

'The real question is, is it justice to focus on people who will be a lot richer in 100 years and help them ineffectively through climate policies or should we rather be focusing on poorer people that are here today?' he asks. A 2008 ranking of the top 15 most cost-effective challenges governments around the world should prioritise, produced by Lomborg's organisation, only listed one related to tackling climate change. That was to invest in R&D for new low-carbon energy technologies. A new ranking is due this May.

However, Denmark's general election last year ushered in a new administration less keen to support his views. Earlier this month, the Danish government confirmed that it had cut more than £1 million in funding for Lomborg's centre. As a result, he only has funding in place until the end of June.

In an interview to be published next week, Lomborg tells the Ecologist that he was the victim of politics. 'I met with the woman who's now Prime Minister (Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the daughter-in-law of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock). I said: "I’d love to show you how the Copenhagen Consensus is a good idea," and she looked at me and said: "I think that probably might be right, Bjørn, but I will just get so much more mileage out of criticising you."'

And Lomborg, who is searching for new benefactors ahead of the June deadline, fears he is looking at a limited pool of donors. 'There would be a lot of people who'd be waiting to pounce, saying, "of course he's saying that because he's just funded by Exxon". Well no, I'm not, and obviously that's a big problem going forward because we have to make sure that the funding, if it's going to go forward, is unassailable.'

The full interview will be published in the Ecologist investigations section for subscribers next week

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