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

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  987 ratings  ·  143 reviews
Bjørn Lomborg is the best-informed & most humane advocate for environmental change in the world today. In contrast to other figures that promote a single issue while ignoring others, he views the globe as a whole, studies all the problems, ranks them, & determines how best, & in what order, to address them. His 1st book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, established the impo ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Alfred A. Knopf (NY) (first published January 1st 2007)
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Mar 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 rated it did not like it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Bonnie E.
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Apr 05, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 04, 2019 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: aoc
Recommended to Owlseyes by: onepolarbear
AOC : "people are dying" (because of climate change)

"...the Green New Deal, Bloomberg estimates, and this is just one of many estimates that it would cost every year about $2.1 trillion, that's two-thirds of the U.S. budget. So, no, we can't afford that even if you did, the impact would be fairly small in 100 years."
Bjørn Lomborg (in interview)
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Bob Ryan
I purchased this book at a lecture by the author in the fall of 2017. His presentation was very good, although hurried, as he was leaving for Africa the next morning. The lecture included a number of graphs and other visuals that would be very helpful as a part of this book. The basis of the book was written in 2007, seemingly in response to the global warming hysteria created by Al Gore's book and movie, Earth in the Balance. The 2010 edition includes an afterward that provides an update, but n ...more
Tej Kumar Nepal
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The humanity has caused a substantial rise in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels over the past centuries, thereby contributing to global warming, is beyond debate. What is debatable, however, is whether hysteria and headlong spending on extravagant CO2 - cutting programs at an unprecedented price is the only possible response. Such a course is especially debatable in a world where billions of people live in poverty, where millions die of curable diseases, and where these lives could be saved, soc ...more
Robert Kortus
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, going into this book, I was skeptical of the so called "skeptic" author. But, Lomberg won me over. He lays out a compelling argument with the data to back it up.

The basic premise of the book is laid out in the first chapter with four main arguments:
1) Global warming is real and man-made.
2) Statements about the strong, ominous, and immediate consequences of global warming are often wildly exaggerated.
3) We need simple, smarter, and more efficient solutions to global warming.
4) M
James Edwards
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
The thesis of this short book is that (a) global warming is happening and (b) that the main proposed solution of cutting emissions is the wrong approach. Such an argument is obviously likely to receive a lot of loud disagreement from most of the people arguing about the issue.

Lomborg is quickly and decisively dismissive of the argument that global warming isn't real. Instead, he focusses his argument against those who see cutting emissions as a solution. He lays out his argument very rationally
Andreas Lorenz
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: climate-change
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob T
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Lomborg presents a dissenting opinion to the importance of the Kyoto protocol based primarily on economic information. It seems to be well researched, but the fact-checking was certainly beyond my capabilities. The over-arching theme is that lives can better be saved and improved by spending money on humanitarian projects other than carbon-taxes.
James Zarycki
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great insight into the problems of focusing on the issue of global warming through one lens: carbon emissions. This book examines many sources and studies, particularly from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to create an argument that there might be better solutions to man-made global warming.
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Bjørn Lomborg is a Danish author and president of his think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center. He is former director of the Danish government's Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI) in Copenhagen. He became internationally known for his best-selling and controversial 2001 book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, in which he argues that many of the costly measures and actions adopted by scienti ...more

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