Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Gee, if I was back in Australia, I would have been able to watch rock star and Green Peter Garrett debate Bjorn Lomborg. That sounds like it was fun.

Garrett: "Well I don't think the statistics actually back you up, Professor Lomborg. All those experts who study these things in their complexity and their depth basically dissent from your findings. They don't agree with what you say, in respect to just about everything."

Lomborg: "You're wrong. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation have put out figures on starvation since 1970 and [they have] shown a dramatic decrease – from 35 per cent to 18 per cent [of the world's population], from 947 million, now down to 840 million."

Garrett made no attempt to refute these figures from a respected source, but fell back on the emotional assertion that there were still millions starving,

It is merely worth observing that the claims Lomborg makes are in some ways pretty modest. He doesn't claim that the world doesn't have problems, only that the trends are generally good. If you read his book, he does actually make the point that there are still millions starving, and that this is clearly a very bad thing. He merely also asserts that a trend in which the number is decreasing is much better than one in which the number is increasing. This seems pretty reasonable to me.

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