Researchers led by Robert Davis, a climatologist at the University of Virginia, have concluded that the number of heat-related deaths in New York in the 1990s was only a third as high as in the 1960s. The main reason is simple: air-conditioning.
On the basis of such evidence, Dr Bjorn Lomborg argues that the best strategy in the face of climate change is to make the rest of the world as rich as New York, so that people elsewhere can afford to do things like shore up their coastlines and buy air conditioners. He calls Kyoto-style treaties to cut greenhouse-gas emissions a mistake because they cost too much and do too little too late.
Dr. Lomborg, who’s best known (and most reviled in some circles) for an earlier book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” runs the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which gathers economists to set priorities in tackling global problems. In his new book, he dismisses the Kyoto emissions cuts as a “feel-good” strategy because it sounds virtuous and lets politicians make promises they don’t have to keep. He outlines an alternative “do-good” strategy that would cost less but accomplish more in dealing with climate change as well as more pressing threats like malaria, AIDS, polluted drinking water and malnutrition.
Makes a lot of sense to me.