Carpe Diem

TED Talk by Bjorn Lomborg: “The world is getting better and the naysayers should rein in the doomsday talk.”

In the TED talk above, Bjorn Lomborg discusses material from his new book, “How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?” in which he quantifies how much various problems have cost the world in terms of GDP since 1900 (and projected through to 2050). His conclusion: The world is getting better and the naysayers should rein in the doomsday talk.

25 thoughts on “TED Talk by Bjorn Lomborg: “The world is getting better and the naysayers should rein in the doomsday talk.”

  1. Very interesting TED talk by Bjorn Lomborg. The global health improvements are astounding, thanks greatly to the efforts of private U.S. foundations.

    The world is getting better there is no doubt but…

    a growing concern is the health of the Pacific Ocean and specifically a “Seachange” from acidification and possible contamination from Fukushima’s nuclear reactor.

    How much is it going to cost to stop acidification of the Pacific Ocean and repairing the damage?

      • Ron, problematic? Acidification is being found everywhere the Pacific has shores. Combine this with Fukushima and the mighty Pacific could be in really big trouble and that

        • Did you look at the study I cited for you?

          By the way thanks for making an error in your comment so I wouldn’t feel so bad about mine.

          In the “Seachange” article what does “high CO2″ mean?

          Where are historical data on Pacific Ocean ph levels?

          • No Ron, I had not read your link until now. The conclusion is that more sensors are needed to measure ocean acidification. Ok, no problem let’s get ur measured because times a wasting and so is the ocean

            “In summary, together, these pH time series create a compelling argument for the collection of more continuous data of this kind. Specifically, these data represent a critical step in understanding the consequences of ocean change: the linkage of present-day pH exposures to organismal tolerance and how this translates into ecological change in marine ecosystems “

        • well, “acidification” can be a bit misleading as the oceans are alkaline.

          what’s really happening is that they are becoming more neutral.

          acidic environments are far more conducive to life and biodiversity than alkaline ones.

          i think the oceans are going to be fine from a PH standpoint.

          there are real pollutants to worry about.

          wasting time worrying about hobgoblins like co2 and ocean ph just distracts us from paying attention to actual pollution like all the crap coming out of china.

          • “In summary, together, these pH time series create a compelling argument for the collection of more continuous data of this kind. Specifically, these data represent a critical step in understanding the consequences of ocean change: the linkage of present-day pH exposures to organismal tolerance and how this translates into ecological change in marine ecosystems “

            translation:

            we, the empaneled scientist would like more money so that we may remain the empaneled scientists.

          • More sensors are needed to record ph levels in the Pacific and they need to be more affordable so…

            the Private X Prize Foundation announces $2 million in prizes for improved and affordable sensors through “the launch of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.

            ” To address the paucity of data about global ocean pH levels, the new competition will award prizes in two categories — $1 million for the teams that develop the most accurate, stable, and precise pH sensors, and $1 million for the teams that produce the least expensive, easy-to-use sensors — with first- and second-place prizes of $750,000 and $250,000 awarded in each category. Registration for the competition will open in January, with awards to be announced by July 2015.”

          • zach-

            are you seriously trying to argue that life does better in strongly alkaline systems than in acidic ones?

            if so, you have absolutely no grounding in chemistry or biology.

            the ocean is becoming more neutral, as it has done many, many times in the last 500 million years.

            there is little or no evidence that this harms overall sea life and biodiversity and a great deal that life began and thrived in oceans more neutral than today.

          • also note:

            http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/acid-oceans-and-acid-rain.aspx

            the variation they are talking about is miniscule.

            also:

            Iris Hendriks and Carlos Duarte of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research found that in 372 studies of 44 different marine species `there was no significant mean effect’ from lower pH. They concluded that the world’s marine biota are `more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions’ and that ocean acidification `may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century.’

            so, it would appear that this “majority of working oceanographers” you cite are out of touch with the actually published findings in their own filed.

          • Cit

            the Private X Prize Foundation announces $2 million in prizes for improved and affordable sensors through “the launch of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.

            That’s great, Cit, I’m all in favor of private organizations spending private money on anything they wish.

          • morganovich

            Why is this story so familiar? It almost seems I’ve heard it before.

            Maybe someday an actual problem will develop and no one will listen to the wolf-criers.

          • morganovich: if so, you have absolutely no grounding in chemistry or biology.

            Perhaps. However, the opinion of most of those with expertise in oceanography believe that ocean acidification threatens ecological havoc.

            morganovich: the ocean is becoming more neutral, as it has done many, many times in the last 500 million years.

            Sure, but that period included mass extinctions, nor did humans and human civilization exist for the vast majority of that time.

            morganovich: Iris Hendriks and Carlos Duarte

            Hendriks et al: Ocean acidification needs be carefully monitored and its effects better understood, while especially synergistic effects and complex interactions between acidification and other stressors need to be studied, as these synergies may amplify the otherwise limited impacts of ocean acidification.

            See Harvey et al., Meta-analysis reveals complex marine biological responses to the interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming, Ecology and Evolution 2013: The observed synergisms between interacting stressors suggest that care must be made in making inferences from single-stressor studies.

          • zach-

            “Perhaps. However, the opinion of most of those with expertise in oceanography believe that ocean acidification threatens ecological havoc. ”

            if you had clicked the link i posted, you would know that this is not true.

            folks claiming consensus and making false statements they claim to be representative are not always telling the truth.

            the papers in the field say otherwise.

            the study you cite is a cherry pick of global warming alarmist pieces.

            “We limited our analysis to studies published between 1st January 1990 and 1st January 2012, as the majority of experimental climate change studies that manipulated climate change conditions in line with IPCC AR1 predictions and subsequent updates (IPCC 1990, 2007) were published post 1990. Only controlled manipulative experiments were used for analysis. In addition, the control treatments of the environmental stressors (e.g., pH, CO2, or temperature) needed to represent current ambient levels and were based on the authors’ opinion of “ambient”. The experimental organisms had to be subjected to elevated temperature alone, acidification alone, or both warming and acidification. When studies included environmental variables in addition to temperature and ocean acidification (such as light availability or nutrients), these responses were only considered at “ambient” levels as determined by the authors’. To explore predicted future conditions for 2100, the manipulation treatments needed to conform to the IPCC IS92a “business-as-usual” emission scenario for the year 2100 (IPCC 2007). We omitted studies that manipulated carbonate chemistry using acid addition, because it does not reproduce the changes in HCO3- concentration that occur as a result of increased CO2 (aq) (Iglesias-Rodriguez et al. 2008a,b). Finally, only studies that reported a measureable biological response were included.”

            read that last line very carefully.

            they threw out any studies that showed no effect.

            gee, i wonder why they got such “interesting” results…

          • ron-

            “Why is this story so familiar? It almost seems I’ve heard it before.”

            perhaps you are thinking of the “global cooling/ice age” predictions from the 70′s?

            isn’t it interesting that the solution to all these problems is always the same?

          • isn’t it interesting that the solution to all these problems is always the same?

            Indeed. I’m STILL waiting for this summary:

            “After more than a 40 years of intensive and very expensive studies, during which our members have spend countless months vacationing working tirelessly at locations all over the globe to help determine what consumer and taxpayer harming policies should be forced on them to mitigate this non-existent catastrophic problem, we have determined that absolutely NOTHING should be done, as there’s nothing that can or should be done.

            Our only recommendation is that all funding be terminated immediately. We will return the remaining funds from current grants, cease studying this non-problem, and return to our day jobs.

            Thanks for the good time, suckers.

          • morganovich: read that last line very carefully

            That aspect is dealt with in the analysis of sensitivity. But we see what you’re doing. If you think the study supports your view, you like it. It you think it doesn’t, you don’t like it.

            You’re own citation indicated that synergistic effects may be important. We pointed to a study that provided support for that claim.

            Ron H: I’m STILL waiting for this summary:

            Interesting notion—that less knowledge is better.

  2. But of course doom and gloom attracts eyeballs and ears, and the media is in business solely to attract them. Their business is to deliver the ears and eyes to their advertisers plain and simple. So since blood and gore and doom and gloom attract attention they do so. Part of this is the changed from reporting the news (which might take 10 mins) to analyzing the news and always always doing a slippery slope analysis as a part of it. You see the sky is always falling if it sells ads. Of course if you switched to a pure just report the facts there would be vast amounts of air time to fill and no way to attract folks to watch the adds you have.

  3. I’m sure all the dead people in the Philippines will be glad to hear that they’re saving money on their heating bills. As Bjorn says “If you’re dead, it kind of doesn’t really matter.”

  4. A 16 minute talk to tell me the world is handling issues better than we did in 1900 in terms of GWP? Thanks Bjorn. I’m glad everything is OK…

    The strict discussion of GWP might lead to an optimistic worldview, but I’d like to see some investigation to global happiness and quality of life.

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