Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?

  • Economist Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, explains the key issues and reaches some sobering conclusions about climate change.
  • Is man-made climate change our biggest problem? Are the wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes we see on the news an omen of even worse things to come?
  • The United Nations and many political leaders think so and want to spend trillions of tax dollars to reverse the warming trend. Are they right?
  • Will the enormous cost justify the gain? Economist Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, explains the key issues and reaches some sobering conclusions.
  • One of the most persistent claims in the climate debate is that global warming leads to more extreme weather. This is a common concern expressed by those who fear a dangerously warming planet.
  • President Barack Obama did so eloquently in his 2013 State of the Union Address when he talked about ‘the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. Many other persons have a similar sentiment.
  • Global warming is a real problem that needs to be addressed but, however, exaggeration does not help.
  • Exaggeration about global warming often distracts from simple, cheaper, and smarter solutions. To find these solutions, there is a need to address the “Three Horsemen” of the climate apocalypse to which President Obama referred to:


  • Historical analyses of the wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that even with global warming, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until mid-century and won’t resume on the level of 1950 – the worst for fire – before the end of the century.

  • Claiming that droughts are consequences of global warming is wrong. The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in March 2014 shows that globally there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years. The UN Climate Panel in 2012 concluded: “Some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular, in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions, droughts have become less frequent.


  • Global hurricane activity, measured by total energy, has not been lower since the 1970s. Damages will be lower because people will adapt.
  • A March 2012 Nature Study shows that the global damage cost from hurricanes will be 0.02% of gross domestic product by 2100 – down 50% from today’s 0.04%.
  • The fact is climate change is a real issue. The problem is that exaggerating the threat concentrates resources in the wrong areas.