OSLO (Reuters) - Danish “Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg hopes a movie about his work will stir debate over his alternative solutions to climate change led by $100 billion a year in green technology research.
He said on Tuesday that “Cool It,” to be released in the United States and Canada on November 12, offered solutions after former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006 publicized the risks of global warming.
“Al Gore pointed it out as a problem and now let’s talk about the solutions,” Lomborg told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit of the movie by U.S. filmmaker Ondi Timoner.
“It has definite potential to get out and hopefully do what Al Gore did for the climate debate ... taking it further,” he said. The movie was shown at this year’s Toronto film festival.
Lomborg, a statistician, said there was a need for “pragmatic and sensible” alternatives to deadlocked U.N. climate talks where he said there were “a lot of promises and very little action.”
Last year’s U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen fell short of a binding treaty. A U.N. session last week in China was dominated by recriminations between China and the United States, the top greenhouse gas emitters, about blame for global warming.
Lomborg said the movie explores his calls for $100 billion a year to be spent on research and development of technologies ranging from wind and solar power to “geo-engineering” that could, for instance, be used to reflect sunlight into space.
“It would be much cheaper than the (U.N.’s) Kyoto Protocol and much, much cheaper than any of the other arrangements that are under consideration,” he said.
He denied media reports that he had abruptly converted to belief in global warming, noting he had long viewed it as a problem. Lomborg’s 1998 book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” said the severity of climate change had been widely exaggerated.
“A fundamental problem of climate change is that we seem to be stuck in two positions -- it’s either the end of the world or it’s not a problem at all,” he said.
“That makes it very hard to have a pragmatic or sensible middle that says ‘yes, there’s a problem but we need to fix it tomorrow’,” he said.
He said anyone, like him, saying the world should focus on investing in green technologies was accused of being a “climate denier” or of seeking to delay urgent action needed to avoid floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
“Likewise, if you say as I do that we should spend $100 billion on this technology, people say: ‘Oh, he’s saying we must spend money, he must be Al Gore’. This is incredibly unhelpful.”
Many nations, especially in the developing world where food and water supplies are most vulnerable to climate shifts projected by the U.N. panel of climate scientists, reject Lomborg’s views.
They say shifts from fossil fuels are needed now to help avert projected impacts including rising seas that could swamp low-lying Pacific islands or large parts of Bangladesh or Florida.
Lomborg said a $7 a tonne tax on carbon dioxide emissions could raise about $250 billion a year, well above the $100 billion a year or about 0.2 percent of world gross domestic product that he wants spent on research and developmnent.
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)