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Welfare, Growth and Environment: A Sceptical Review of The Skeptical Environmentalist(Bjørn Lomborg, Cambridge University Press, 2001)

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  • Felix R. FitzRoy
  • Ian Smith

Abstract

In his wide ranging attempt to review the literature on economic development and welfare in relation to the environment, Lomborg claims balance and objectivity, but actually presents a thoroughly misleading picture of environmental prospects and research, global economic development, and the real determinants of human welfare. Statistician Lomborg blatantly distorts the evidence by systematically selecting statistics to support his claims that global welfare is generally improving and environmental policy is unnecessary, while denying catastrophic risks such as prolonged drought in major food growing areas (though such events cannot be ruled out by climate models). In spite of its numerous errors and biases, "the Lomborg scam" (as leading biologist E.O.Wilson aptly calls it) has been welcomed by gullible or like- minded journalists and politicians.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews in its series Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics with number 200204.

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Date of creation: 15 Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:0204

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Keywords: Lomborg; environmental optimism;

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  1. Barbier, E B & Burgess, J C, 2001. " The Economics of Tropical Deforestation," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 413-33, July.
  2. Wilson, Clevo & Tisdell, Clement A., 2000. "Why farmers continue to use pesticides despite environmental health and sustainability costs," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers, University of Queensland, School of Economics 48363, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  3. Pearce, David W. & Atkinson, Giles D., 1993. "Capital theory and the measurement of sustainable development: an indicator of "weak" sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 103-108, October.
  4. Hanley, Nick, 2000. " Macroeconomic Measures of 'Sustainability.'," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 1-30, February.
  5. Cowan, Robin & Gunby, Philip, 1996. "Sprayed to Death: Path Dependence, Lock-In and Pest Control Strategies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 521-42, May.
  6. Koop, Gary & Tole, Lise, 1999. "Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for deforestation?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 231-244, February.
  7. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Alleviating unemployment:: The case for green tax reforms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1723-1746, October.
  8. Berhard F. Walter & Felix R. FitzRoy, 2000. "Air Pollution and Mortality in a Sample of British Cities," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews 200016, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  9. Christian Gollier, 2001. "Should we beware of the Precautionary Principle?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(33), pages 301-328, October.
  10. Edward B. Barbier, 2001. "The Economics of Tropical Deforestation and Land Use: An Introduction to the Special Issue," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(2), pages 155-171.
  11. Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247882, October.
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