Science

'Stop blaming global warming for tornadoes and hurricanes,' skeptical environmentalist says

By Matthew Klickstein , Jun 03, 2013 09:01 AM EDT

Highly controversial figure Dr. Bjorn Lomborg recently appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan Live alongside Bill Nye in order to explain that though global warming is a real, man-made threat to the planet, there are far more significant issues to consider when it comes to the increasingly extreme weather we've been seeing as of late, be it Hurricane Sandy or the tornadoes that have bombarded Oklahoma and Kansas.

Lomborg skyrocketed to international fame (and no smal amount of enmity, as well) when his bestselling book The Skeptical Environmentalist first hit bookstores in 2001.

It is Lomborg's unique charge that, again, though global warming is something we need to be combating, there are far more importunate issues at play that require financial consideration before more money is, in Lomborg's analysis as both a professor at the Copenhagen Business School and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, more or less "wasted" on something that the scientist and author has been quoted as saying "is man-made and ... an important problem. But is not the end of the world."

"Global warming is by no means our main environmental threat," Lomborg went on to say in 2012.

On his recent CNN discussion with Morgan and Nye, Lomborg decries those who would invest money in further combating global warming to deal with the onslaught of extreme storms such as Sandy; the Moore, Okla. tornado that left 23 dead late last month or those that recently rocked Smith County, Kan. and left the two well-known "storm chasers" Tim Samaras and Carl Young dead in El Reno, Okla.

"We need to be skeptical of the standard solutions that are offered," Lomborg said. "If people say, 'We should do something about global warming to combat tornadoes,' for instance: No, that's probably the least helpful and most expensive way to do almost no good."

Whereas fellow commenter Nye seemed a bit flustered by the idea of "stopping tornadoes" or other extreme weather systems at all, he did agree with Lomborg that there's much that can be done as far as investing funds in other means to help protect citizens from future natural disasters. Lomborg himself went on to explain that more could be done by investing money in storm shelters to protect those in Oklahoma, for example, or further fortifying levees in areas regularly at risk of hurricanes such as New Orleans.

"There are other good reasons that we need to tackle global warming," Lomborg affirms, though he does go on in the report to rationalize that "tornadoes and other storms" is not one of them.

Lomborg concluded his analysis by stating that though it may, from his studies, still be difficult to prove that global warming has anything more than a marginal affect over the ferocity and/or frequency of extreme storms, there's no question in his mind that helping the very infrastructure of storm-racked areas is a far better way to invest time, energy and -- most importantly, perhaps -- money in order to see a decrease not of the storms themselves, but rather the devastation caused by them.

What do you think about Lomborg's notions of global warming and extreme storms? Sound off in our comments below!   

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