Briefly Noted: Global Warming Thaw


Cool It, a new documentary about the "skeptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg, poses a big question: What's the best way to handle global warming? Lomborg has run afoul of climate change activists who support a single orthodoxy: cut carbon dioxide emissions by boosting the prices of fossil fuels.

 But is climate change a bigger priority than poverty? The film crew visits a Nairobi slum school and a posh British private school. The kids are asked to draw their futures. The Kenyan kids draw houses with electric lights, a television, and a car. That's not going to happen if fossil fuels cost a lot more. Meanwhile, a British girl sketches houses drowned by higher sea levels, an ozone hole, and dead penguins. A boy declares that the world is going to become 100 times warmer than it is now.

Far from despairing, the documentary ends by focusing on possible solutions, including new nuclear plant designs, biofuels from algae, and ambitious geo-engineering plans. —Ronald Bailey