The Intersection

i-0903721830cf61295bb35a5cf8461871-LomborgSalon.jpg So: The latest is, I’m going to be blogging weekly for DeSmogBlog on global warming and sundry related matters. I’m a longtime reader of this site and a big fan of the folks up there in Vancouver who produce it–so I’m glad to be involved.

My first item for the DeSmoggers has just gone up. In it, I take on the Danish environmental apostate Bjorn Lomborg’s new book Cool It–and in particular, his section on hurricanes and global warming, which I find pretty off-base. Excerpt:

…from here, Lomborg grows increasingly misleading. Before long, we find him citing a late 2006 statement from the World Meteorological Organization as representative of the current scientific consensus on the relationship between hurricanes and global warming. There’s nothing wrong with the statement itself, but Lomborg reduces its ten points down to only three–all of which cut in Lomborg’s ideological favor–while failing to share the rest of what we know with his readers.

You can keep reading here. And while you’re doing so, allow me to ascend my rickety (and rarely used) fashion critic milk crate to ask the following question:

What the hell was Lomborg doing testifying before Congress dressed in a black shortsleeved Polo back in March? Check out the RealPlayer video here, or just consider the documentary evidence below:

i-6054f88d64a38d47fa8fb563bf917968-LomborgTestimony.png

Now, I understand public intellectuals wanting to have a distinct image and all. Slash’s frizzy hair, Andy Warhol’s platinum…Lomborg’s limbs. Indeed, as far as his sartorial style goes, YouTube confirms that Lomborg is a strong supporter of the right to bare arms. Dare to be different, Bjorn! But please also take some advice: Before Congress, it really just looked bad, and more than a little inappropriate.

Comments

  1. #1 Dark Tent
    September 5, 2007

    Lomborg is just playing the part of the “earthy Greenpeace environmentalist”.

    If you get up in front of Congress wearing a suit and tie and claim “I am an environmentalist but I nonetheless believe that global warming is hyped”, few will believe the former and fewer fence-sitters will buy the latter than if you appear wearing a T-shirt and jeans.

    It matters not that he might surprise some conservatives with his casual dress because he is telling them what they want to hear..

    Lomborg is no dummy. He understands the media game as well as anyone else — better, in fact, if sales of his first book are any indication.

    Michael Chrichton, who has written a glowing review of Lomborg’s book, also understands the game (look at his picture)

    It’s no secret that appearance means a great deal (everything?) here in the US. If that were not the case, Lomborg and Chrichton would not garner the amount of respect among the general public on scientific subjects that they do.

  2. #2 Jon Winsor
    September 5, 2007

    He’s dressed up as Liberalus triangulatingus.

    (BTW, Sting called and wants his haircut back.)

  3. #3 Anonymous
    September 5, 2007

    Or, perhaps they lost his luggage and a slimming, classic black tee was all he had.

    Who’s really complaining when a hot Dane can sex up science a bit? Congress needs some sexy to be brought back, don’t you think? Ahem, some non-bathroom stall/page scandal sexiness, that is.

  4. #4 Wes Rolley
    September 5, 2007

    Chris, I hope that you did not intend the use of the capitalized word “Greens” as meaning members of the Green Party. If you are talking about a green movement in general, I would have to agree with you. In fact, you did a pretty good job of showing how some protesters seemed to prefer climbing buildings and making statments that only give support to the position of “cranks” like Sen. Inhofe rather then adding to our understanding of what happened and why.

    As for the Green Party, I think it was well represented in New Orleans by Malik Rahim who kept his New Orleans based Common Ground Collective running and helping while so many stood around wringing their hands and complaining about FEMA. Rahim had run for City Council against professional politician and City Council President Oliver Thomas. New Orleans would have been better off had Rahim won.

    Oliver Thomas is yet another example of the way that politicians deal with catastrophe.

  5. #5 llewelly
    September 5, 2007

    Well, Bjorn’s dress may not look good, but it’s caused a lot of otherwise intelligent people to make many Heathers-like remarks on his ‘fashion sense’ . His opinions on anything related to environment or economics are clearly bunk, but he does know how to make his opponents look juvenile.

  6. #6 Roger Pielke, Jr.
    September 6, 2007

    On the effectiveness of adaptation and mitigation in response to hurricane losses your readers might like to see:

    Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Future Economic Damage from Tropical Cyclones: Sensitivities to Societal and Climate Changes, Proceedings of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2517-2007.14.pdf

  7. #7 csrster
    September 6, 2007

    “Who’s really complaining when a hot Dane can sex up science a bit? Congress needs some sexy to be brought back, don’t you think? Ahem, some non-bathroom stall/page scandal sexiness, that is.”

    Ok anonymous, but if you’re a girl you’re going to be disappointed.

  8. #8 Dark Tent
    September 6, 2007

    Was the link above to “Future Economic Damage from Tropical Cyclones” a hint that most of Lomborg’s wardrobe was lost in a hurricane?

    The potential loss to the world of fashion from hurricanes (staggering?) had never entered my mind before this.

    Also, perhaps “percentage appearing before Congress in T-shirts” might be used as a proxy for “hurricane activity”. One or two people now and then is probably not significant, but when it reaches 10%, we’ll know it’s probably time to do something.

  9. #9 mark
    September 6, 2007

    I was unaware of Lomborg’s new book, but yesterday my mother asked me if I ever heard of this guy. She had recently seen him interviewed (probably on Fox), introduced as a glaciologist. She would not believe otherwise; after all, he was introduced as a glaciologist.

  10. #10 Mike M.
    September 6, 2007

    A heretic!! Let’s make fun of his appearance and sexual preference. That’ll show the intellectual depth of our position. Hmmph! he’s probably on of those stupid Christians, too.

  11. #11 Chris Mooney
    September 6, 2007

    Oh, come on folks: Surely you agree it’s weird to testify before Congress in a T-shirt.

  12. #12 Dano
    September 6, 2007

    Surely you agree it’s weird to testify before Congress in a T-shirt

    Who cares.

    It should be the quality of his argument. And that s*cks.

    I must say that focusing on raiment is what denialists/ideologues do.

    The guy’s a polemicist. Focus, pee-pul. Focus.

    Focus.

    Best,

    D

  13. #13 Jon Winsor
    September 6, 2007

    Presuming to talk about things as important as he’s talking about in front of congress, but then presenting himself as if he’s on the way to the squash courts?

    That’s odd behavior. It’s hard to tell if it’s show business, some sort of vanity, or just eccentricity. But I think Chris is within his rights to remark on it…

  14. #14 Rasmus
    September 7, 2007

    Actually, in Denmark it would be considered that odd to wear a polo at various “official” occations. We’re very informal that way. And I must agree with Dano, his writings are more dangerous than his bare arms.

  15. #15 Rasmus
    September 7, 2007

    Sorry, that should be “WOULDN’T be considered”…

  16. #16 Chris Mooney
    September 7, 2007

    It’s good to get this feedback, though I’m not sure I agree with it. But thanks, folks. I guess we’ll give fair warning before we add regular style coverage to the science, politics, and pop culture coverage that is our current fare.

  17. #17 agnostic
    September 7, 2007

    Oh c’mon Chris, don’t back down! It’s taken for granted around here that global warming is real, so that railing against his denialism is preaching the to choir. But pointing out that he’s dressed inappropriately — that concept, that there are standards of dress, would be news / a topic for debate in academic circles.

    It really deserves to be pushed more, since the pro-”casualization of everything” people look down their noses so nakedly at anyone who dares to wear “dress” pants, a jacket, a tie, a belt, or I suppose even underwear. Their anti-standards snobbery has become very tiresome.

    It just goes to show that dignity is a highly unstable equilibrium — push it in the “what’s it to me?” direction only slightly, and within a generation everyone looks like homeless drug addicts or 12 year-old boys who just went back-to-school shopping with their mommies. Slobdom, on the other hand, is clearly a highly stable equilibrium. That’s why conventions exist: to protect the fragile, elevated state we occupy against the rapid descent into pitiableness.

  18. #18 Jon Winsor
    September 11, 2007

    Hey, there’s that black polo shirt again. I hope he washes them in between media appearances:

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/9/11/10160/9480

  19. #19 Veles
    February 3, 2008

    Oh c’mon Chris, don’t back down! It’s taken for granted around here that global warming is real, so that railing against his denialism is preaching the to choir. But pointing out that he’s dressed inappropriately — that concept, that there are standards of dress, would be news / a topic for debate in academic circles.
    WW2

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