Bjorn Lomborg has dropped another bomb in the climate-change debate, and one economist is rushing to defuse it. "As a matter of policy, I typically decline to review books that deserve to be panned. You only make enemies," writes Joseph Stiglitz in his New York Times review of Lomborg's new book, False Alarm. "In the case of this book, though, I felt compelled to forgo this policy." Stiglitz points out that the Danish author doesn't deny climate change—in fact, he supports a carbon tax and spending on innovation—but Stiglitz doesn't like Lomborg's argument that climate change is too expensive to fix. After all, Stiglitz asks, aren't rising sea levels, bigger storms, more floods, and more droughts also a drain on the economy? And what about the cost to future generations?
Stiglitz also takes issue with Lomborg's notion of a "consensus" around his own work. "When one looks at [his] list of 'experts,' one sees the conservative bias—all distinguished economists, but most with a particular bent, and not including any of the true experts in climate science who might have raised an objection," writes Stiglitz, himself a Nobel Prize winner and lead author of a sobering IPCC climate report in 2019. Stiglitz admits one thing: "Lomborg is correct that climate change is not the only problem the world faces." But Lomborg "poses a false choice, because it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. As the advocates of the Green New Deal point out, investments that reduce climate change can usher in a new era of prosperity." (Read more climate change stories.)