False Alarm

How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet


By Bjorn Lomborg

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“A very important and superbly argued book” (Matt Ridley) by the bestselling “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 Arctic. 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 bestselling 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.

A new epilogue details climate lessons from a year of global economic shutdown due to COVID-19, and from our increasingly costly but often very ineffective climate policies. False Alarm will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong. It points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all.





WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF FEAR—particularly a fear of climate change. One picture summarizes this age for me. It is of a girl holding a sign saying:


This is the message that the media is drilling into our heads: climate change is destroying our planet and threatens to kill us all. The language is of apocalypse. News outlets refer to the “planet’s imminent incineration” and analysts suggest that global warming could make humanity extinct in a few decades. Recently, the media has informed us that humanity has just a decade left to rescue the planet, making 2030 the deadline to save civilization. And therefore we must radically transform every major economy to end fossil fuel use, reduce carbon emissions to zero, and establish a totally renewable basis for all economic activity.1

Children live in fear and line the streets in protest. Activists are cordoning off cities and airports to raise awareness that the entire population of the planet is facing “slaughter, death, and starvation.”2

Influential books reinforce this understanding. In 2017, journalist David Wallace-Wells wrote a lengthy and terrifying description of global warming impacts for New York magazine. Although the article was generally panned by scientists as exaggerated and misleading, he went on to publish the same argument in book form in The Uninhabitable Earth, which became a bestseller. The book revels in unabashed alarmism: “It is worse, much worse, than you think.” Likewise, in his 2019 book, Falter, naturalist Bill McKibben warned that global warming is the greatest threat to human civilization, worse even than nuclear war. It could finish off humanity not with an explosion but “with the burble of a rising ocean.” A bookshelf would groan under the weight of recent books with deliberately terrifying titles and messages: Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change; Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity; The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable; and This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America.3

Media outlets reinforce the extreme language by giving ample space to environmental campaigners, and by engaging in their own activism. The New York Times warns that “across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.” The cover of Time magazine tells us: “Be worried. Be very worried.” The British newspaper the Guardian has gone further, updating its style guidelines so reporters must now use the terms “climate emergency,” “climate crisis,” or “climate breakdown.” Global warming should be “global heating.” The newspaper’s editor believes “climate change” just isn’t scary enough, arguing that it “sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.”4

Unsurprisingly, the result is that most of us are very worried. A 2016 poll found that across countries as diverse as the United Arab Emirates and Denmark, a majority of people believe that the world is getting worse, not better. In the United Kingdom and the United States, two of the most prosperous countries on the planet, an astonishing 65 percent of people are pessimistic about the future. A 2019 poll found that almost half of the world’s population believes climate change likely will end the human race. In the United States, four of ten people believe global warming will lead to mankind’s extinction.5

There are real consequences to this fear. People are deciding, for instance, not to bring children into the world. One woman told a journalist: “I know that humans are hard-wired to procreate, but my instinct now is to shield my children from the horrors of the future by not bringing them to the world.” The media reinforce this choice; the Nation wants to know: “How Do You Decide to Have a Baby When Climate Change Is Remaking Life on Earth?”6

If adults are worried silly, children are terrified. A 2019 Washington Post survey showed that of American children ages thirteen to seventeen, 57 percent feel afraid about climate change, 52 percent feel angry, and 42 percent feel guilty. A 2012 academic study of children ages ten to twelve from three schools in Denver found that 82 percent expressed fear, sadness, and anger when discussing their feelings about the environment, and a majority of the children shared apocalyptic views about the future of the planet. It is telling that for 70 percent of the children, television, news, and movies were central to forming their terrified views. Ten-year-old Miguel says about the future:

There won’t be as many countries anymore because of global warming, because I hear on like the Discovery Channel and science channels like in three years the world might flood from the heat getting too much.

These findings, if valid nationwide, suggest that more than ten million American children are terrified of climate change.7

As a result of this fear, around the world children are skipping school to protest against global warming. Why attend classes when the world will end soon? Recently, a Danish first-grader asked her teacher earnestly: “What will we do when the world ends? Where will we go? The rooftops?” Parents can find a glut of online instructions and guides with titles like Parenting in a World Hurtling Toward Catastrophe and On Having Kids at the End of the World. And so, representing her generation’s genuinely held terror, a young girl holds up a sign that says “I’ll die of climate change.”8

I HAVE BEEN part of the global discussion on climate change policy for two decades, since writing The Skeptical Environmentalist. Throughout all this time, I have argued that climate change is a real problem. Contrary to what you hear, the basic climate findings have remained remarkably consistent over the last twenty years. Scientists agree that global warming is mostly caused by humans, and there has been little change in the impacts they project for temperature and sea level rise.9

The political reaction to the reality of climate change has always been flawed—this, too, I have been pointing out for decades. There are, I have argued and continue to argue, smarter ways than our present-day approach to tackle global warming. But the conversation around me has changed dramatically in recent years. The rhetoric on climate change has become ever more extreme and less moored to the actual science. Over the past twenty years, climate scientists have painstakingly increased knowledge about climate change, and we have more—and more reliable—data than ever before. But at the same time, the rhetoric that comes from commentators and the media has become increasingly irrational.

The science shows us that fears of a climate apocalypse are unfounded. Global warming is real, but it is not the end of the world. It is a manageable problem. Yet, we now live in a world where almost half the population believes climate change will extinguish humanity. This has profoundly altered the political reality. It makes us double down on poor climate policies. It makes us increasingly ignore all other challenges, from pandemics and food shortages to political strife and conflicts, or subsume them under the banner of climate change.

This singular obsession with climate change means that we are now going from wasting billions of dollars on ineffective policies to wasting trillions. At the same time, we’re ignoring ever more of the world’s more urgent and much more tractable challenges. And we’re scaring kids and adults witless, which is not just factually wrong but morally reprehensible.

If we don’t say stop, the current, false climate alarm, despite its good intentions, is likely to leave the world much worse off than it could be. That is why I’m writing this book now. We need to dial back on the panic, look at the science, face the economics, and address the issue rationally. How do we fix climate change, and how do we prioritize it amid the many other problems afflicting the world?

CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, it is caused predominately by carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels, and we should tackle it intelligently. But to do that, we need to stop exaggerating, stop arguing that it is now or never, and stop thinking climate is the only thing that matters. Many climate campaigners go further than the science supports. They implicitly or even explicitly suggest that exaggeration is acceptable because the cause is so important. After a 2019 UN climate science report led to over-the-top claims by activists, one of the scientist authors warned against exaggeration. He wrote: “We risk turning off the public with extremist talk that is not carefully supported by the science.” He is right. But the impact of exaggerated climate claims goes far deeper.10

We are being told that we must do everything right away. Conventional wisdom, repeated ad nauseam in the media, is that we have only until 2030 to solve the problem of climate change. This is what science tells us!11

But this is not what science tells us. It’s what politics tells us. This deadline came from politicians asking scientists a very specific and hypothetical question: basically, what will it take to keep climate change below an almost impossible target? Not surprisingly, the scientists responded that doing so would be almost impossible, and getting anywhere close would require enormous changes to all parts of society by 2030.

Imagine a similar discussion on traffic deaths. In the United States, forty thousand people die each year in car crashes. If politicians asked scientists how to limit the number of deaths to an almost impossible target of zero, one good answer would be to set the national speed limit to three miles per hour. Nobody would die. But science is not telling us that we must have a speed limit of three miles per hour—it only informs us that if we want zero dead, one simple way to achieve that is through a nationwide, heavily enforced three-mile-per-hour speed limit. Yet, it is a political decision for all of us to make the trade-offs between low speed limits and a connected society.12

Today, such is our single-minded focus on climate change that many global, regional, and even personal challenges are almost entirely subsumed by climate change. Your house is at risk of flooding—climate change! Your community is at risk of being devastated by a hurricane—climate change! People are starving in the developing world—climate change! With almost all problems identified as caused by climate, the apparent solution is to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to ameliorate climate change. But is this really the best way to help?

If you want to help people in the Mississippi floodplains lower their risk of flooding, there are other policies that will help more, faster, cheaper, and more effectively than reducing carbon dioxide emissions. These could include better water management, building taller dikes, and stronger regulations that allow some floodplains to flood so as to avoid or alleviate flooding elsewhere. If you want to help people in the developing world reduce starvation, it is almost tragicomic to focus on cutting carbon dioxide, when access to better crop varieties, more fertilizer, market access, and general opportunities to get out of poverty would help them so much more, faster, and at lower cost. If we insist on invoking climate at every turn, we will often end up helping the world in one of the least effective ways possible.

WE ARE NOT on the brink of imminent extinction. In fact, quite the opposite. The rhetoric of impending doom belies an absolutely essential point: in almost every way we can measure, life on earth is better now than it was at any time in history.

Since 1900, we have more than doubled our life expectancy. In 1900, the average life span was just thirty-three years; today it is more than seventy-one. The increase has had the most dramatic impact on the world’s worst-off. Between 1990 and 2015, the percentage of the world practicing open defecation dropped from 30 to 15 percent. Health inequality has diminished significantly. The world is more literate, child labor has been dropping, we are living in one of the most peaceful times in history. The planet is getting healthier, too. In the past half-century, we have made substantial cuts in indoor air pollution, previously the biggest environmental killer. In 1990, it caused more than 8 percent of deaths; this has almost halved to 4.7 percent, meaning 1.2 million people survive each year who would have died. Higher agricultural yields and changing attitudes to the environment have meant rich countries are increasingly preserving forests and reforesting. And since 1990, 2.6 billion more people gained access to improved water sources, bringing the global total to 91 percent.13

Many of these improvements have come about because we have gotten richer, both as individuals and as nations. Over the past thirty years, the average global income per person has almost doubled. That has driven massive cuts in poverty. In 1990, nearly four in ten people on the planet were poor. Today, it is less than one in ten. When we are richer, we live better and longer lives. We live with less indoor air pollution. Governments provide more health care, provide better safety nets, and enact stronger environmental and pollution laws and regulations.14

Importantly, progress has not ended. The world has been radically transformed for the better in the last century, and it will continue to improve in the century to come. Analysis by experts shows that we are likely to become much, much better off in the future. Researchers working for the UN suggest that by 2100 average incomes will increase perhaps to 450 percent of today’s incomes. Life expectancy will continue to increase, to eighty-two years or possibly beyond a hundred years. As countries and individuals get richer, air pollution will reduce even further.15

Climate change will have an overall negative impact on the world, but it will pale in comparison to all of the positive gains we have seen so far, and will continue to see in the century ahead. The best current research shows that the cost of climate change by the end of the century, if we do nothing, will be around 3.6 percent of global GDP. This includes all the negative impacts; not just the increased costs from stronger storms, but also the costs of increased deaths from heat waves and the lost wetlands from rising sea levels. This means that instead of seeing incomes rise to 450 percent by 2100, they might increase “only” to 434 percent. That’s clearly a problem. But it’s also clearly not a catastrophe. As the UN climate panel put it themselves:16

For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers [such as] changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development [italics added].17

This is the information we should be teaching our children. The young girl holding the sign “I’ll die of climate change” will not, in fact, die of climate change. She is very likely to live a longer, more prosperous life than her parents or her grandparents, and be less affected by pollution or poverty.

But because of the fear-mongering surrounding climate change, most people don’t hear the good news. And because we believe that climate change is a much bigger challenge than it really is, many countries are spending more and more to combat it, and spending it in less and less sensible ways. Evidence shows that globally we are now spending more than $400 billion annually on climate change, through investments in renewables, in subsidies, and in lost growth.18

The costs are likely to keep increasing. With 194 signatories, the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the most expensive pact in human history, is likely to incur costs of some $1–$2 trillion per year by 2030. With ever more nations making promises to go carbon neutral over the next decades, these costs could escalate to tens of trillions of dollars annually in the coming years.19

Any response to climate change will cost money (if addressing the problem made money, doing so wouldn’t be contentious and we’d already be doing it). If a relatively low-cost policy could fix most of the problem, that could be money well spent. However, it turns out that the Paris Agreement in its best-case scenario will achieve just one percent of what the politicians have promised (keeping temperature rises to 1.5°C [2.7°F]), and at huge cost. It is simply a bad deal for the world.20

Moreover, it is unlikely that the Paris Agreement, or any other wildly expensive climate initiatives, will be sustainable. While many people are worried about climate change, most aren’t willing to spend much of their own money to solve the problem. Across the world, people are saying they’re willing to pay $100–$200 a year to address climate change. A 2019 Washington Post survey showed that while more than three-quarters of all Americans think climate change is a crisis or major problem, a majority was unwilling to spend even $24 a year on fixing it. Yet, the commonly proposed policies will cost many thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per person per year.21

When fighting climate change becomes too expensive, people will stop voting for it. Voters have already rebelled against environmental policies that push up the costs of energy: in France this takes the form of the Yellow Vests movement, and in the United States, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines, it has seen the election of politicians campaigning against climate change policy. For this reason, less grandiose responses to climate change might also be more effective, because the electorate won’t turn against them. Climate policy has to be steady to be effective over the long run, and if the costs of climate policy are so high that citizens consistently turn against the governments that promote it, then meaningful change will be hard to come by.

ONE OF THE great ironies of climate change activism today is that many of the movement’s most vocal proponents are also horrified by global income inequality. They are blind, however, to the fact that the costs of the policies they demand will be borne disproportionately by the world’s poorest. This is because so much of climate change policy boils down to limiting access to cheap energy.

When energy becomes more expensive, we all end up paying more to heat our houses. But because the poor use a larger share of their incomes on energy, a price increase burdens them the most. In the rich world, an estimated two hundred million people already suffer from energy poverty, meaning energy sucks up one-tenth or more of their income. So they either have to use less energy, or they have to cut spending on other things. But energy poverty isn’t just an extra cost to the already vulnerable—it can disrupt their lives. For instance, energy poverty means that poorer, elderly people can’t afford to keep their homes properly heated, leaving them to stay longer in bed to keep warm. The elite use only a small portion of their large incomes on energy, so even dramatic price increases matter much less to them. This is why it is easier for the rich to argue for high energy taxes. In fact, financial benefits from climate policies (like subsidies given to a homeowner for erecting a solar panel or insulating a house, or driving a Tesla) overwhelmingly go to the richest.22

In poor countries, higher energy costs harm efforts to increase prosperity. A solar panel, for instance, can provide electricity for a light at night and a cell phone charge, but it cannot deliver sufficient power for cleaner cooking to avoid indoor air pollution, a refrigerator to keep food fresh, or the machinery needed for agriculture and industry to lift people out of poverty. Countries in the developing world need cheap and reliable energy, for now mostly from fossil fuels, to promote industry and growth. Not surprisingly, a recent study of the consequences of implementing the Paris Agreement showed that it will actually increase poverty.23

Our extraordinary focus on climate also means we have less time, money, and attention to spend on other problems. Climate change frequently sucks out the oxygen from almost any other conversation about global challenges. In rich countries, this monomaniacal focus means we have fewer and shorter conversations on how to fix our pension plans, improve our schools, and achieve better health care. For poor countries, climate policy threatens to crowd out the much more important issues of health, education, jobs, and nutrition. These are the issues that, if addressed appropriately, we know will help lift the developing world out of poverty and generate a much better future.

SO WHAT IS the way forward?

First, we need to evaluate climate policy in the same way that we evaluate every other policy: in terms of costs and benefits. What that means in this case is that we have to weigh the costs of climate policies against the benefits of fewer climate-related problems. The climate problems are incessantly highlighted, but the costs of a policy for cutting carbon dioxide are just as real, and often hit the poorest in society hardest. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of a society with access to reliable and cheap energy, which helps produce all the things that make it good: food, heating, cooling, transportation, and so on. Restricting access to more costly and/or less reliable energy incurs higher costs that reduce economic growth.

In the case of carbon dioxide, the best research on costs and benefits shows that we should cut some, but by no means all, carbon dioxide emissions. We should do so through a carbon tax, starting out rather low at $20 per ton of emissions (equivalent to an 18¢ per gallon tax on gasoline) and slowly increasing it over the century. The tax should preferably be coordinated globally, but more likely we’ll end up with a patchwork of less effective policies. Still, this will cut the global temperature rise somewhat and prevent us from reaching the most damaging temperatures. It will also slightly slow economic growth, because that is the inevitable corollary of making energy more expensive.

Overall, this turns out to be a good deal. We will examine the inner workings of these climate-economic models later, but here is the gist. The cost from slightly more expensive energy translates into a slightly slower-growing global economy that over the next centuries achieves slightly less welfare than it would have without carbon taxes. In short, the extra cost is about 0.4 percent of total GDP.

The lower temperature rise will lead to fewer climate damages over the coming centuries than the world would otherwise have seen. In total, that benefit is worth about 0.8 percent of total GDP. The simple point then is that it is a good deal to pay 0.4 percent of GDP to obtain a benefit of 0.8 percent of GDP.

Cutting some carbon dioxide makes a lot of sense. First, it is easy to cut the first tons, because these are the lowest-hanging fruit. There are many places where efficiency can be obtained at low cost. You can stop heating the patio when nobody is outside, incurring just the minimal inconvenience of turning the heat off. Also, cutting these first tons has the largest benefit, because it cuts the highest and most damaging temperature rises.24

But it is also important to recognize the scale of this solution. We pay 0.4 percent and make the world 0.8 percent better off. In total, the benefit is 0.4 percent of total global GDP. Getting a carbon tax right can make the world better, but not by a lot.

An approach informed by cost-benefit analysis also helps show us what we shouldn’t do. We should not try to eliminate almost all carbon dioxide emissions in just a few short years. Yet, this is what most campaigners clamor for and most politicians profess to want. If we try to do this, the costs could escalate out of hand. Competently done, we would need carbon taxes equivalent to tens or hundreds of dollars per gallon of gasoline in order to effectively prohibit carbon dioxide emissions in short order. This would cost us about 3.4 percent more of total global GDP. Yet, the extra benefits would be much lower at about 1 percent, making the world overall worse off. It would be a bad deal, even if all policies were done competently, and expertly coordinated across all nations and across the century.25

It is much more likely that such panicked climate solutions would be done badly and ineffectively, which could make the total costs incredibly large. We would in essence be paying a fantastically high price for little extra benefit. We would truly leave the world much worse off than it need be.

Let’s return to the speed limit analogy. No sensible person would argue that we don’t need any speed limits, just as no sensible person would argue that we should do nothing in response to climate change. At the same time, nobody argues that we should set the speed limit at three miles per hour, even though it would save thousands of lives, because the financial and personal costs would be too high for us to bear. And so we find a compromise solution somewhere in the range of fifty-five to eighty-five miles per hour. People who worry primarily about safety will argue for speed limits at the lower end, while those who care more about the financial implications of free movement will argue for the higher end. It’s a reasonable range for conversation.

By demanding an immediate and dramatic reduction of carbon dioxide levels worldwide, climate activists are essentially arguing for the three-mile-per-hour speed limit. It’s a ridiculous demand, at least for anyone who has to get to work in the morning.

Second, we need to look at smarter solutions to climate change. Top climate economists agree that the best way to combat its negative effects is to invest in green innovation. We should be innovating tomorrow’s technologies rather than erecting today’s inefficient turbines and solar panels. We should explore fusion, fission, water splitting, and more. We can research algae grown on the ocean surface that produces oil. Because the algae converts sunlight and carbon dioxide to oil, burning that oil will not release any new carbon dioxide. Oil algae are far from cost effective now, but researching this and many other solutions is not only cheap but also offers our best opportunity to find real breakthrough technologies.26

If we innovate the price of green energy down below that of fossil fuels, everyone will switch—not just rich world countries but also China and India. The models show that each dollar invested in green energy research and development (R&D) will avoid $11 of climate damage. This will be hundreds of times more effective than current climate policies.27

Finding the breakthroughs that will power the rest of the twenty-first century could take a decade or it could take four. But we do know that we certainly won’t solve the problem with more empty promises and investment in inefficiency. Innovation must be unleashed.


  • "Lomborg does not lack solutions. In False Alarm, he advocates a range of cost-benefit tested policies to address both climate change and global poverty.... Lomborg does a service in calling out the environmental alarmism and hysteria that obscure environmental debates rather than illuminate them."—National Review
  • “It’s precisely because the problem is so serious that [Lomborg] argues it is necessary to approach it cool-headedly….The alternative? In Lomborg’s view it is letting ourselves be panicked into the most expensive course—trying to fix the climate without having the necessary technology on hand. Lomborg argues powerfully that this is a fool’s errand….A corrective to many of the green assumptions that dominate the media.”
     —Financial Times
  • "Meticulously researched, and well worth a read."—Forbes
  • “An excellent summary of the madness, hypocrisy, and cynicism of the climate-alarm establishment.... Lomborg has done an excellent job pointing out that climate fears are indeed a ‘false alarm,’ misdirecting time and resources away from real, and soluble, problems.”—New Criterion
  • "An important book. Mr. Lomborg is a long-standing environmentalist regarded as a heretic by hardliners in the movement because he is an optimist who says that humanity is not doomed."—Iain Martin, The Times (UK)
  • “Lomborg is persuasive on the vulnerability of Africa and need for greater emphasis on building climate resilience.”—The Irish Times
  • "The best way to deal with global warming is to increase global prosperity.... The choice we face, Lomborg writes, is between a human future driven by fear and one driven by ingenuity. On that, he is exactly right."—The Bulwark
  • False Alarm is a comprehensive analysis of the issues in climate change that represents a reasoned balance between the shrill voices demanding immediate change (without being aware of the practical issues involved) and those who see no problems at all with our current environmental situation.”—New York Journal of Books
  • "Lomborg's most basic premise remains that there are better ways to alleviate human misery than spending taxpayer subsidies than on panic-driven, political non-solutions to a changing climate. Few would argue with that goal."—American Thinker
  • “A detailed...human-centric, optimistic tome from an honest environmentalist.”—Capitalism Magazine
  • “Lomborg’s work is impossible for alarmists to ignore.”—Heartland Institute
  • “In between the cries of imminent apocalypse and outright denial that seems to be the daily fare of the mainstream and alternative news outlets on the issue of global warming, Bjorn Lomborg sounds a rare note of sanity and moderation in his new book, False Alarm. Lomborg’s achievement is in providing a much-needed broader context to the climate debate, based on years of researching and writing on the topic....One hopes that this book will bring to the attention of the general public, specialists and policy-makers, not just the scale of the problem of climate change, but the most positive steps that can be taken by governments to address it.”
     —International Journal of World Peace
  • "Lomborg brands climate change warnings as alarmist, and argues that a massive reduction in fossil fuels would exacerbate global poverty, in this detailed account.... Lomborg is careful to back his cost-benefit analyses of climate policies with surveys and statistics."—Publishers Weekly
  • "[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
  • "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
  • "This is a very important and superbly argued book. Those who have been persuaded that climate change is not happening, and those who think catastrophe is imminent should both read it and know they can rely on Lomborg's meticulous analysis to put them right. The rest of us can be alarmed by his relentless revelation that the world is spending a fortune on making the plight of the poor and the state of the environment worse with foolish and expensive policies."—Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works
  • "False Alarm is a timely and important book. Based on the latest scientific evidence and rigorous economic analysis, it provides a welcome antidote to widespread, irrational panic about a coming climate apocalypse. Instead, it provides a set of smart, rational policies for addressing global warming -- while not losing sight of the myriad other problems that beset our planet, including poverty and inequality. This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about our shared human future."—Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist, the World Bank
  • "This is a fantastic book. In it, Bjorn Lomborg examines through the lens of statistics the apocalyptic projections of the future of climate change. He points out, rightly, that the doomsday scenarios are misguided and that policy decisions driven by panic have real costs, particularly for the poor. False Alarm is a must-read."—Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India
  • "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

On Sale
Oct 19, 2021
Page Count
336 pages
Basic Books