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Summary

The New York Times best-selling "skeptical environmentalist" argues that panic over climate change is causing more harm than good

Hurricanes batter our coasts. Wildfires rage across the American West. Glaciers collapse in the Artic. Politicians, activists, and the media espouse a common message: climate change is destroying the planet, and we must take drastic action immediately to stop it. Children panic about their future, and adults wonder if it is even ethical to bring new life into the world. 

Enough, argues best-selling author Bjorn Lomborg. Climate change is real, but it's not the apocalyptic threat that we've been told it is. Projections of Earth's imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics. In panic, world leaders have committed to wildly expensive but largely ineffective policies that hamper growth and crowd out more pressing investments in human capital, from immunization to education. 

False Alarm will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong - and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2020 Bjorn Lomborg (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Bjorn Lomborg is that rare thing: a clear-sighted realist about climate change. In False Alarm, he argues that it would be foolish to do nothing to prepare for a warmer planet, but it would be more foolish to pretend that we are doing things that will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions when we are not. At the same time, getting serious about cutting CO2 emissions will have a cost. As Lomborg says, vastly more people die as a consequence of poverty and disease each year than die as a consequence of global warming. As in the past, we humans are capable of adapting to climate change in ways that can significantly mitigate its adverse effects, without choking off economic growth. To learn how, you must read False Alarm." (Niall Ferguson, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

"Bjorn Lomborg's new book offers a data-driven, human-centered antidote to the oft-apocalyptic discussion characterizing the effect of human activity on the global climate. Careful, compelling, and above all sensible and pragmatic." (Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life)

"[Lomborg] follows his previous critiques of climate change policy...with a hard-hitting analysis of failing strategies for addressing what he acknowledges is 'a real problem.'...A serious, debatable assessment of a controversial global issue." (Kirkus)

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A bit wonky but super-important perspective

The over-arching theme of this book is as per the title, The global climate situation is real but is being overblown as a risk to humanity. Building dams to keep sea water out, inland dams to keep rain-water and a plethora of other initiatives that never get taken into scientific models, or do but those scenarios get left out in the hysterical press means that humans are in a very good place. Physically at least, and definitely compared to history when a good proportion of our ancestors would get wiped out by drought or flood induced famines. Fires, tsunamis, etc. all follow similar patterns. Heat maybe be rising by a celsius or two, but the falling price of air-conditioning means fewer and fewer people are dying of it every year. And so on and so forth. The dodgeyness comes in some of the cherry-picking and stats. For example, an area I know well, solar energy he dives back to a 2015 example of a UN special project in India where the locals went nuts and were so upset and enraged by the feeble solar power and battery storage they received that the politicians ended up expediting their connection to the grid for 'real power'. The problem is 2015 is 2-3 doublings away in terms of total rollout and price reduction, so in 2020 solar and lithium battery storage can power fridges and more in rural tropical villages, and most importantly at a fraction of the price of connection to the grid. That said, it's not a perfect solution and I wouldn't swap my gridded connection in the UK for an isolated renewable and storage solution. Not yet. I assume he's made other similar forays in other chapters, but I'm not keen enough in each area to know if he's right or wrong, I've just seen attacks on Twitter about some of them. What is certain is there's a lot to answer for in the modelling of doomsayers and their media click-bait brethren. This book is an important mental doorlock for anyone who wishes those negative forces to come bashing in.

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Futility of Low Carbon Energy Again Explained

Lomborg again makes the case that even if you accept the worst climate change prediction of the IPCC, you will not make life better for most people on Earth if you try and solve the problem with windmills, solar panels and batteries of the current technology. Along with 'Apocalypse Never' by Michael Shellenberger and the Michael Moore documentary 'Planet of the Humans' it is great that more is now being published about the futility and harm caused by low carbon policies. They damage the poor and continue impoverishment of developing countries and enrich wealthy land owners. They waste scarse world resources. But so many in power go along with this scam despite the ham and use the power of the state and of social media moguls to oppress opposition. Well done to Lomborg for continuing to repeat what needs to be said despite the numerous unjustified attacks on his integrity.

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A wake up call for reason

This is a very strong case for not listening to climate alarmism and to consider what way of spending money does the most good. The point is well argued with support from the best research. Using billions on feel good projects without real impact hurt the poorest and weakest part of earth's population the most, because they can't afford waisting money on expensive unreliable solar and wind energy, while we - the riche - can cut a little of our luxury without even noticing.

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A very persuasive counter argument

The main argument of the book is well researched and quite persuasive. I would have loved it the author engaged even more with environmentalist authors who hold an opposing view. Now he seemed pretty dismissive of their arguments.

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Bad narrating, great content

Not the best narrator voice i have heard, but the content of the book made up for it.

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Rational analysis of climate change science

A must read for anyone bewildered by the climate extremists who fill our screens. governments around the world need to learn the lessons from this book and stop squandering precious resources on a fantasy.

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  • Wayne
  • 16-07-20

Stop climate change panic!

I've been a fan of Danish author Bjørn Lomborg since he released The Skeptical Environmentalist in 2001. FALSE ALARM is the latest in his series of books on environmental topics. His two part message is (1) the earth's atmosphere is warming due to the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide and (2) we must deal with it without alarmism. He makes the scientific case that the Paris Climate Accords would have almost no effect even if every country meets its CO2 reduction targets. Likewise he makes the case that that panic is unjustified and counterproductive. Lomborg goes into great detail of his multifaceted plan to deal with the effects of global warming. Lomborg is not a climate change denier. It is refreshing to have an expert like Lomborg agreeing that global warming caused by CO2 is real and offering real world solutions to the problem. He also demonstrates using IPCC data that the solutions preferred by world governments will not resolve the problem butt will cause horrid economic issues especially for all but the richest countries. False Alarm should be required reading in high schools worldwide. The English edition of this book uses Fahrenheit rather than Centigrade temperatures for his American audience. I very, very strongly recommend False Alarm for everyone. It is a very important book.

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  • Nicholas W. Pecone
  • 25-07-20

Valuable Information, Seemed Self-Contradictory At Times

I enjoyed the book and gleaned a lot of insight into what reality vs fiction are. The book should be a 5 for the data alone. Unfortunately Bjorn has the same problem Steve Pinker does. They both like to arbitrarily declare things problems right after they explain why it’s really not. Very frustrating Nicky P freemarketsgreenearth.com

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mountain K9iner
  • 07-08-20

Should be required reading

in every high school and college econ and environmental science course. Common sensical risk analysis without hype or political parrtisanship.

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  • Paul Ellingson
  • 05-08-20

An abosolute MUST READ!

Lomborg's review of current climate policies and news stories is enlightening. I have been very skeptical about the media's reporting of almost everything for the past decade related to the environment especially as I have seen them significantly misreport environmental water science, a field in which I am expert. So to have a well documented book (along with his book "Cool It") is a gift. Thank you Mr. Lomborg

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  • Lisa M. Seuferer
  • 25-07-20

Everyone should read this!

Finally, a rational, explicit, factual examination of the climate problem without denying that it is a problem but also without panicked exaggeration! This topic is so heated, so politically divisive that it seems we will never come to an agreement that will protect the environment and those of us who live within it. THIS, THIS, THIS book contains the answers, the compromise, the science that (ought to) bring all of us together. Regardless of what your personal political view, the science here is undeniable. You will hear things that make you uncomfortable - facts always do - but you will hear far more that gives you optimism! There are valuable things each of us can do, right now, TODAY, without costing a fortune or forcing us to give up our creature comforts. READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW!

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  • Daniel
  • 24-07-20

Common sense is still right

Common sense to solve our problems is the right way to go. Not fun, not sellable in today crisis media, but the right thing to do.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-07-20

Needed!

Very good book! it is good to understand that climate change is a middle ground problem. loved reading it !

2 people found this helpful

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  • Harley
  • 21-09-20

A balanced perspective on climate change.

A must read for both climate change deniers and green fanatics. The author reviews an encompassing perspective of climate and economic problems that the world faces which are backed by significant data and simultaneously offers sensible well thought out solutions

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  • B. Walker
  • 15-09-20

sanity in the face of panic mongering

evaluative fact based ideas worth considering instead of throw the baby out with the bath water

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-09-20

Eye Opening!

I thought I knew a lot about how badly they skewed the members about climate change but never thought it was this bad. False Alarm was absolutely mind blowing...great read!

1 person found this helpful