Heralding the start of the COP26 climate talks yesterday, UK prime minister Boris Johnson warned that the world is ‘one minute to midnight’ in its fight against climate change. The world leaders gathered in Glasgow say they are saving the planet from an existential threat. But does the fate of humanity really hang in the balance? And could climate alarmism do more harm than good?
Bjorn Lomborg is a climate economist and a self-described sceptical environmentalist. His latest book is False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. He joined Brendan O’Neill for the latest episode of his podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show, to talk about where the world is going wrong on climate change. What follows is an edited extract from their conversation. Listen to the full episode here.
Brendan O’Neill: At COP26, there will be lots of discussion, lots of statements and lots of dashed hopes and ambitions. What do you make of global gatherings of this kind? Do they do any good in terms of tackling climate change or making the world a better place?
Bjorn Lomborg: They probably make the world a slightly better place. But the giveaway is in the number 26 – this is the 26th time that we have tried this. We have been trying since 1992, when we signed the Rio Convention. The entire rich world failed to follow through on it. Then we had the Kyoto Protocol and again most parties failed to live up to their promises. Then we had the Paris Agreement and now we have Glasgow. The Glasgow conference is supposed to go even further than Paris did.