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

Cool It by Bjørn Lomborg
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's review
May 08, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: read-in-2008
Read in May, 2008

** spoiler alert ** *INITIAL IMPRESSION*

I'm not even halfway through this book yet, and I'm already ranting about it. Not a good sign.

Look, Mr. Bjorn whatever-your-name-is, I agree with your overall argument. I do, I really do. And I think you make some important points about how to think about solutions to global warming that are worth pursuing.

But if you're going to write a book, FERCHRISSAKES make it interesting. Lord knows I love economists (well, one economist anyway), but they couldn't write an interesting sentence if their positive utility depended on it. The writing is as dead as a Dickensian doornail.

Also, where the hell are you getting your numbers from? Fishy fishy fishy, that's all I have to say.

Lord knows how the hell I'm going to finish reading!


It took great effort to finish this book. The author's writing is ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING. Not just because it's soporifically boring, as mentioned above, but because he is clearly trying to pull the wool over his readers' eyes via gross gross GROSS oversimplification and wily/selective use of statistics.

By golly, given the dismissive ease with which Lomborg thinks we can eradicate HIV/AIDS and malaria, why do we even HAVE disease on this planet? It's just not that simple, damnit. And god, his statistics. He cites Nobel laureates and says that 'leading climate scientists' support X and Y statement about cold deaths and heat deaths and yadda yadda yadda. It wreaks of rhetorical appeals to authority, to cover up the fundamental weakness (and spuriousness?) of his arguments.

And it's frustrating, because I actually AGREE with some of his major points. (Go ahead, call me anti-green.) I suppose I've been biased by my economist boyfriend, but I do think that more money should be put into R&D, instead of attempting to pursue prohibitively expensive policies that may yet do little toward addressing the global warming problem.

So, fundamentally, it is a testament to the great failure of Bjorn Lomborg that his book, his writing, his fishiness have essentially infuriated the converted! If he can drive away his most receptive audience with his transparently suspicious tactics, then how is he going to convince anyone else?

But perhaps that's the answer - maybe he's not trying to convince anyone. Maybe he's just out to stir up controversy. He's an economist after all, and controversy sells books.
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