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Skeptical Environmentalist Embraces Climate Activism

Lomborg calls for global carbon tax and hundreds of billions in spending

1 min read
Skeptical Environmentalist Embraces Climate Activism

In what's generally perceived as a radical reversal, the famed skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg is now calling climate change a major world issue that must be squarely addressed. Though Lomborg himself is claiming he has not switched positions, this is not the general perception; the Lomborg Wiki characterizes his new stance as a u-turn.

In fairness, contrary to a very widely held misperception, Lomborg has never been a climate change denier. His position was that the problem of global warming was exaggerated, that other global problems deserved much more attention and investment, and that to the extent greenhouse gas emissions were a threat, advances in solar technology would take care of the problem. (In a book, I called Lomborg's faith in solar technology remarkably credulous, for somebody who styles himself as a skeptic.)

If Lomborg is now noticing that solar will not actually be able to solve all our problems, and if he's owning up honestly to the implications, he's to be congratulated. One reason I've always defended Lomborg against his detractors is that he writes clearly and accessibly, and says what he really thinks. The evolution of his well-articulated thinking will be a positive service.

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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