Copenhagen Consensus

"The Skeptical Environmentalist": A Conversation with John Tierney and Bjorn Lomborg

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"The thing that blows my mind is that we spend so much money on feeling good," says author and activist Bjorn Lomborg about "feel-good" environmentalist measures like recycling and wind turbines, "I would like us to do stuff that actually works."

The Reason Foundation hosted a conversation with Lomborg and the New York Times' John Tierney at the Museum of Sex in New York City, where they discussed how free trade and innovation could help alleviate the suffering of the third world and improve the environment, if only people could be convinced these "unsexy" ideas were of greater benefit than sorting the glass and plastic in their garbage.

Lomborg, the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and the subject of the documentary film "Cool It," is also the founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus, a Danish think-tank focused on finding the "the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money."

For more Reason coverage of the Copenhagen Consensus go here, here and here.

About 27 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher.

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  1. Crony Capitalism must feel especially good to most Americans.

  2. finding the “the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money.”

    Best way #1: The governments don’t spend any money on it.
    Best way #2: Philanthropists spend it however the hell they want.

    There, problem solved. Now he can go back to Denmark having done his job.

      1. Best way #3: Artisanal mayo.

        1. Shhhhhhh…. don’t rattle the cage.

        2. Put some vanilla pudding in a mayo jar, take it to the next climate change conference, and start eating it with a spoon.

    1. Nobody is trying to force philanthropists to spend their money one way or another. People with money could use the best ideas on what to spend it on. And look, if government is going to spend all that money fixing the world, we’re definitely better off if they spend it more efficiently when such glaring inefficiencies at the mission level are so obvious.

  3. finding the “the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money.”

    Best way #1: The governments don’t spend any money on it.
    Best way #2: Philanthropists spend it however the hell they want.

    There, problem solved. Now he can go back to Denmark having done his job.

    1. OK, I think I see where you’re going with this.

  4. finding the “the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money.”

    Best way #1: The governments don’t spend any money on it.
    Best way #2: Philanthropists spend it however the hell they want.

    There, problem solved. Now he can go back to Denmark having done his job.

    1. It all makes sense now. Thanks for multi-posting! 😉

      1. God dammit! By the way, we will be down again tomorrow night and probably Thursday night as well. And I swear to God above that we will meet up and I can give you some of my beer. I fucking promise.

        1. Sounds good. See you tomorrow.

          1. Don’t believe him. He flaked out on meeting me and Anacreon when he was in San Francisco a few months ago.

    2. I find Lomborg a great deal more ‘sufferable’ than the average eco-tarian. He actually asks questions like “will this policy have the intended consequences?” and “since the previous policy won’t work, what policy could give the most benefit in this area for the least cost?”

      Also, keep in mind that he’s a complete pariah in AGW circles, because his recommended policies wouldn’t provide the usual suspects with the power that they crave. That should count for something.

      1. Yes, he’s a bright light. Cost-benefit analysis, what a concept to apply to trillion-dollar plans!

        But I will complain again about Reason cranking out all these videos, but rarely if ever publishing transcripts. I don’t have time to watch them all, and read a lot faster than people can speak. Please consider providing transcripts, even if that means fewer videos.

        1. But Mother Earth has spoken. Her words were revealed to the Algore. Your “cost benefit analysis” is plainly just a stalling tactic while you and you cabal work on your secret plans to cook the earth and boil the seas. Don’t worry the Brin has noted your name and added it to the list.

      2. I wasn’t in any way calling him out. I was just offering up the two most basic and sensible answers to the two questions he posed.

  5. I know Reason loves Mr Tierney but his uncritical embrace of pseudo-science leaves me cold. To me he typifies everything that’s wrong with modern ‘science’ journalists.

    1. “The thing that blows my mind is that we spend so much money on feeling good,”

      Said during a discussion at New Yorks, Museum of Sex!

      Alert the irony police?!

      1. I think that’s too ironic for the irony police. This is a case for the irony SWAT team. Let no ironic dog go unironically unshot.

  6. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been to the Museum of Sex. It wasn’t very sexy. But they did have a configurable multi-position fucking couch that looked interesting, even if it was woefully under-ScotchGarded.

    1. “This configurable multi-position fucking couch was once owned by the Duchess of Marylebone. The stains have been identified as belonging to the Count d’Monet. Bidding starts at ?20,000”

      1. I’ve been stripped of my Duchy. 🙁

        1. Did this happen while boarding a plane?

  7. I never rode the AGW bandwagon, so it’s easy for me to see the whole thing as it really starts to collapse. Lomborg seems like a reasonable person. I’m guessing his skepticism will grow much more quickly than the average Al Gore Acolyte. Maybe he’s skeptical now, but knows he can’t really say so, yet.

    1. You do realize you’ve fucked yourself getting a Christmas card from Tony.

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