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Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  817 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Bjorn Lomborg argues that many of the elaborate and staggeringly expensive actions now being considered to meet the challenges of global warming ultimately will have little impact on the world’s temperature. He suggests that rather than focusing on ineffective solutions that will cost us trillions of dollars over the coming decades, we should be looking for smarter, more c ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2007)
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Mar 15, 2009 Manny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash, science
Many people have pointed out that the right to free speech doesn't mean that you are allowed to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater. I suppose that what Lomborg is doing isn't quite as bad; the theater is on fire, and he's shouting "Sit down, there's nothing to worry about!" That may put him just on the right side of the line, but I still wish he wouldn't do it.

As everyone who's worked with science knows, if you cherry-pick your facts to favor only the most extreme interpretations, you can suppo
Anthony A
Dec 18, 2008 Anthony A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lomborg looks at global warming and the proposed solutions with the unflinching eye of an economist, and discovers that most of the hype and hysteria is unjustifiable, and that most of the political solutions offered will make things worse for future generations.

Lomborg is not a "climate change denier" - he fully accepts the IPCC consensus that global warming exists and is significantly caused by human activity. But that's where he parts company from most people who discuss global warming in pu
Dec 30, 2007 Scot rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A conservative friend gave me this book for Christmas, saying it stimulated her book club to have a thoughtful discussion about the global warming debate.

Not wanting to condemn it without reading Lomborg's position first, I made a valiant effort to read this all the way through, but grew increasingly disturbed at the way he reduces, simplifies, and misrepresents the arguments of many committed environmentalists, as he offers a rather smug economist's reaction to the fact that global warming is
Jan 20, 2008 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Mr. Lomborg takes the science and applies statistical and economic methodology to it. Bottom line, the scare stories miss the point. Quite often they forget to give the other fact or more embaressing to look at the denominator. For example, about 5 times as many people die from cold than from heat related disease, etc. So warming saves lives. Rain increases so some areas do better others worse, but on the whole the world may do better. The amount of starvation may go up, but fa ...more
Apr 16, 2012 Erik rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have a fascination with reading what is popular in non-fiction no matter how idiotic the book appears. I have at times been surprised and my intuitions about a book proved completely wrong. That was not the case with this book.

Lomborg, has nothing new to say, he has no specialization in education or experience that is in anyway relevant to the topic he has chose to discuss, and he has no sense of proper scholarship. One would have thought that the fire storm that broke over his last book would
Dec 10, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars, not for the prose, but for Lomborg's presentation of the facts, and a solid analytical argument that cuts through the choreographed screaming to argue that the costs of Kyoto (and this book is about Kyoto, not global warming per se), are excessive, will leave us and future generations worse off, and will have no discernible impact on global climate change or the human condition.
On my "most important reads of 2009" informal list at the moment. This little book is a tour de force of sound reasoning. I'm so glad I found it, as I had been prone to stomping up and down my house muttering "Moby Dick, Moby" Oh, no, wrong life. OK. Muttering "Cost-benefit analysis---why isn't anyone doing global warming cost-benefit analysis? Have we all collectively lost our minds?"
If you've ever been concerned about the environment but secretly been wondering if we are all being stampeded l
Dec 01, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about climate change, and the choices we face over the next century. Professor Lomborg is not a 'climate change denier' (a disparaging term coined by assholes whose moral vanity is matched only by their self-righteousness. For example of usage, see: Al Gore). Instead, he fully accepts the very clear science that tells us that the earth is warming, that humans bear some of the responsibility, and there will be negative consequences (increased flooding, more frequent and more powerf ...more
Apr 24, 2008 Alice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It’s been a long time since I finished a book I enjoyed so little. The truth is, I appreciate much of what Lomborg seems to say and I also appreciate the spirit in which he says it, but much of the time he just doesn’t say it very well. Write it, I should say. Should write.

What he has to share boils down to this: 1) the trend of rising temperatures does not spell the end of the world: the stated effects of global warming are not untrue, but they are much exaggerated: alarmist vocabulary and ske
Aug 30, 2010 Brad rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics
It's been a while since I read this book, a couple years now, but I quite enjoyed the read (though I didn't love the book and was nowhere near in full agreement).

I've always appreciated that Lomborg -- despite Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, likening him to Hitler -- was mostly trying to put all of the world's ills in perspective.

For Lomborg, at least back when he was writing Cool It, there were other issues of greater importance to the world than c
Frank Roberts
No, the polar bears aren't going to go extinct. No, the seas are not going to rise and flood our cities, coastlands, and small island nations. No, the Gulf Stream is not going to stop and plunge Europe into Siberian cold. No, hurricanes are not getting more frequent or more intense. No, there will not be droughts and famines. Lomborg dispenses with all the hype, hysteria, and doom-saying in this slim volume (1/3 of its pages is bibliography and notes!)

Lomborg, an economist, argues that we need t
Jan 24, 2008 Chad rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lomborg's case was very poorly argued. He focused on certain things that were insignificant, such as the number of people who will die from heat waves as the climate changes. The fact that he wastes so much space of his small book on such a non-mainstream argument takes away from the validity of his case.

In the end, he claims that something should actually be done about climate change after he spends the whole book downplaying the need to do so.

However, it does teach the problem with people who
Peter Zylstramoore
His books always appear to be soundly reasoned. He regularly argues along the lines that we have limited resources and governments and institutions need to spend in ways that result in the most good, and many of his prescriptions seem to be well-meaning. However, he has historically spent most of his time undermining responses to environmental issues and very little time encouraging governments to solve global issues in his supposedly more cost-effective ways. He also is incredibly selective in ...more
Mar 10, 2013 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dean Smith
"Cool It" does two things well - criticizes some of the reactionary aspects of Global Warming (statements, media campaigns, and Kyoto), and proposes a method of deciding where money should be spent, based on solid numbers and good estimates of the effects of Global Warming. His point, and I agree with it, is that no matter what you and I do about hybrid vehicles and carbon credits, more people in China are going to want cars over the next 10 years. That is the BIG problem here. If we can provide ...more
John Atcheson
No stars for this misleading bit of non-science masquerading as science. Lomborg sets out to intentionally misinform, and he distorts facts, repeats debunked denier talking points and flat-out lies in order to do so. Hard to see what his motive is, except global warming iconoclasts get a lot of attention from the mainstream media which seeks "balance" at all costs, including loss of accuracy. There's gold in being a denier I guess, but don't wast your time here -- just listen to Fox News if you ...more
Bonnie E.
Feb 19, 2012 Bonnie E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides an interesting perspective on global warming without being shrill or overtly political. It's not an anti-environmental polemic but rather, a thoughtful and logically presented point of view about an issue that has polarized people to such an extent that we sometimes find it difficult to listen to one another. Lomborg's propositions will force you to test your assumptions and broaden your understanding of global warming, and no matter where you fall on the sliding scale of beli ...more
Kayla Peebles
Jan 05, 2015 Kayla Peebles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was much needed for me. Bjorn Lomborg urges us to take a step back from the environmental debate and look at it in a economically. What is the cheapest way to do the most good? Carbon cuts rank towards the bottom of the list. Instead we should focus on research and development as well as other more concrete actions that can be made imminently. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who cares about the environment but wants to stop approaching the global warming problem so "heatedly" ...more
Apr 05, 2009 Kristi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
This was an okay read. I can sum it up in one sentence: Kyoto bad, HIV/AIDS research good. I like that he wasn't an extremist on either side. Most of the book is him disproving everything Al Gore has ever said and it's fun at first, but grows a little redundant. I got bored halfway through because it felt like the same old argument. But it's a good argument so I'm glad I read it.
Oct 01, 2007 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lomborg’s book on climate change is a mixed bag. I heartily agree with his major policy prescriptions: give more aid to alleviate poverty, enact a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and invest massively in low-carbon R&D. The slim book is otherwise disappointing: short on ideas, selective with facts, and cavalierly dismissive that climate change could prove worse than most expect.
Aug 09, 2008 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read, which made me question the merits of the global warming hype. Then I learned about how he 'cherry picks' data and is the golden child of the right wing establishment - barf.
Laura Finazzo
From Al Gore to Kyoto, from sea level rise to fatal disease, Bjorn Lomborg tackles it all in his book Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. Having seen a preview for Lomborg’s movie which spreads the message of his book, I was intrigued and decided to see what it was all about. I’ve seen An Inconvenient Truth, I’m completed my share of reading on environmental issues and strategies for doing my small part, and I consider myself to be a citizen who cares about the wor ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Blair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-climate
In his own words, the argument in this book is:

1. Global warming is real and man-made. It will have a serious impact on humans and the environment toward the end of this century.

2. Statements about the strong, ominous and immediate consequences of global warming are often wildly exaggerated, and thus unlikely to lead to good policy.

3. We need simpler, smarter, and more efficient solutions for global warming rather than excessive if well intentioned efforts. Large and expensive CO2 cuts made now
Erik Graff
Feb 04, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: global warming fans
Recommended to Erik by: Kelly Kingdon
Shelves: sciences
I didn't know it until pulling up the Wikipedia profile, but Lomborg is a controversial figure. This book is ostensibly an attempt to put the global warming problem into perspective, doing a cost/benefit analysis of dealing with the human contribution to that against other social and environmental problems. In his opinion, other, more pressing problems can and should be given a higher priority as they can be dealt with much more cost effectively. For now large investments should be made in new t ...more
Ashley Leong
Feb 12, 2016 Ashley Leong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2008 Deron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard about this book on NPR when the author was interviewed. I was quite intrigued as I've always been rather skeptical of how bad climate change really is. I especially was skeptical after 20 minutes of watching Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" because I couldn't get past Al Gore's back-patting and self-involved persona in that first 20 minutes.

However, having been "the environmentalist" of my family insomuch I believe in recycling, not being wasteful, and respecting the environment...
Come “the skeptic environmentalist”, non e’ del tutto convincente.
Sono pronto a credere che – dato il limitato risultato ottenibile anche nel migliore degli scenari e gli enormi costi economici conseguenti a riduzioni significative delle emissioni di CO2 – Kyoto (considerata la scarsita’ di risorse finanziarie) non convenga rispetto ad una congerie di manovre eziologiche che affronterebbero diversi problemi in maniera piu’ razionale. Sono pronto a credere che Kyoto non e’ la soluzione e che alz
Sep 04, 2008 Danelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reading a selected portion of the book through the google book application. (Google, I love your applications! Keep up the good work.) Usually it's a LARGE selected portion, the first hundred pages or so. So don't worry about only having a chapter or so. Of course, by then you are HOOKED! And I end up buying or checking out the book anyway...

First, the Prologue is great! You can read it using the Google app, but here it some of it if you are feeling a little lazy today:

Basically, Bjorn is a
I read this because it strikes me as odd how strongly people feel about what I consider to be a scientific problem. Why do average people (non scientists) get so emotional about an issue when he or she is so obviously ignorant about the science behind the theories? Seems like group-think to me so I wanted to explore. This was an interesting read, several ideas that I hadn’t considered. The author stresses that both sides of this debate sound crazy. Global warming isn’t some elaborate hoax but no ...more
Drew West
Aug 10, 2014 Drew West rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not an entertaining book, but a great resource for individuals interested in the impacts of climate change and particularly the effectiveness of fighting negative impacts of global warming, either through reducing carbon emissions or negating the effects in alternative ways.

The true value of this book lies in objectively estimating the environmental and societal impacts of global warming and then comparing and evaluating the various options we have for curtailing the negative effects. I
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