Denmark's environmental scientists have been thunderstruck by the appointment to a new environmental think-tank of a statistician known internationally for his critical approach to "phantom problems" associated with environmental risks.
Bjørn Lomborg has been appointed director of the Institute for Environmental Assessment, set up by the Liberal-Conservative government, which is trying to introduce new thinking to politics to assess how Denmark gets "most environment for the money".
Professor Lomborg, an associate professor at Aarhus University's department of political science, rose to international fame with his book The Skeptical Environmentalist : Measuring the Real State of the World . In it, Professor Lomborg questions environmental sacred cows and other scientific dogma. He calls them "phantom problems" created or inflated by the environmental movement for its own ends, diverting time and money from needier causes.
Ecologists and researchers worldwide have attacked Professor Lomborg. Stuart Pimm, professor of ecology and environment at Columbia University in New York, has asked Aarhus University's committee of practices to determine whether Professor Lomborg had breached scientific procedures. Professor Pimm asserted that Professor Lomborg often cited other scientists and researchers incorrectly and did not always publish all relevant data loyally. The committee has forwarded Professor Pimm's complaint to UVVU, the Danish organisation that polices scientific fraud.
Institute chairman Ole P. Kristensen said: "We had a comparatively large and strong field of candidates. Lomborg was simply the best."