The G7 decided to forego a tariff war, but Europe is still determined to introduce carbon border levies


Bjorn Lomborg

Enough with the net-zero doublethink

We often hear that climate change is the world's greatest challenge. At the same time, politicians assure us that "no one is being asked for a sacrifice." George Orwell called this willingness to espouse contradictory claims doublethink. It is politically expedient and gets climate-alarmed politicians reelected. But fixing climate change requires honesty.

Today's promised climate policies will be incredibly expensive and we will have to make a lot of sacrifices to reduce our emissions using currently available technologies. But like most great challenges humanity has faced, we solve them not by pushing for endless sacrifices but through innovation. Covid is fixed with vaccines, not unending lockdowns. To tackle climate, world leaders should stop the doublethink and ramp up investments in green energy innovation dramatically.

Lomborg's new column is being syndicated around the globe, with publications so far including Financial Post (Canada), The Australian, Berlingske (Denmark), Milenio (Mexico), El Universo (Ecuador), La Prensa (Nicaragua), Los Tiempos (Bolivia) and Portfolio (Hungary).

Parliaments, not judges should make climate policy

As electorates and politicians remain unwilling to spend trillions on strict climate policies, activists have turned to a new strategy: shortcutting the democratic process through the courts.

The UN now counts at least 1,550 climate court cases in 38 countries. Germany's Constitutional Court recently handed activists their biggest victory so far, when it issued a ruling that according to Bloomberg "changed the course of Germany’s politics, economy and climate strategy for the next three decades." 

But this trend of forcing climate action through the judicial system is highly problematic: it undermines democracy, opens a Pandora’s box for all sorts of special interest litigation, harms the poor and sidetracks us from smarter ways to fix climate change.

Lomborg's column on why climate policy needs to be democratic was published around the world, e.g. in Germany's newspaper of record Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Daily News (USA), The Australian, Business Day (South Africa), National Post (Canada), O Globo (Brazil), Berlingske (Denmark), Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), Milenio (Mexico), La Tercera (Chile), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Universo (Ecuador), El Pais (Uruguay), Los Tiempos (Bolivia), The Punch (Nigeria), Portfolio (Hungary), The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia) and Al Ahram (Egypt).

No carbon tariffs in G7 communiqué is a good sign for global cooperation

Despite reports that the UK was pushing carbon tariffs as a ”key priority” of its G7 presidency and the EU’s ongoing preparation of its own carbon border levy, world leaders gathered at the G7 Summit didn’t pursue a coordinated effort to impose carbon tariffs on developing countries.

Bjorn Lomborg, whose op-ed against carbon tariffs was published in prominent newspapers in multiple G7 and BRICS countries as well as many other publications both in the developed and developing world (e.g. Los Angeles Daily News, The Times of India, China Daily, Brazil's newspaper of record O Globo, and South African Business Day, with the latest of more than two dozen publications including Germany's Die Welt, Thailand's Bangkok Post and Ghana's Daily Graphic) said in a statement:

“Developing countries are breathing a sigh of relief today. Indeed, we should all breathe a sigh of relief that the G7 didn’t agree on carbon tariffs, because carbon tariffs are simply a way to push the immense cost of rich country climate policies onto the developing world. (...) The proposed tariffs would have been terrible for the global economy and multilateral cooperation. Today, world leaders decided to forego a tariff war.”

Climate change panic causes public distrust, bad decisions

Is global warming the biggest threat we are facing? No. Climate change is real and human-caused, and it is a problem we should tackle smartly. But rabid hyperbole scares us witless and in our panic we make expensive but poor policy choices, leaving the world much worse off.

It was simply silly when President Biden's Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy claimed that climate change was "the most significant public health issue of our time," as the data clearly indicates other priorities.
In an interview with Stuart Varney on the Fox Business Network, Bjorn Lomborg discusses these claims based on findings from his latest book False Alarm.* He argues that despite climate change, humanity will still be much better off at the conclusion of the century and presents smart strategies to tackle the problem.

*As an Amazon Associate Copenhagen Consensus earns from qualifying purchases.

Current climate policy is 'wishful thinking'

In an interview on Sky News Australia, Bjorn Lomborg points out that "the current way we tackle climate policy is really wishful thinking".

"It's spending large sums of money in cutting very little emissions, mostly in rich world countries. This is not going to fix global warming, it is going to harm the poor, both in the rich world and poor world.

"Really it's going to undermine the ability to actually fix climate change while of course fixing all the other problems in the world."

Finding the best policies for Malawi

Copenhagen Consensus is partnering with the National Planning Commission of Malawi and the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) to find the most effective policy solutions for Malawi. Malawi Priorities will facilitate a prioritization of policy options for the country based on cost-benefit analyses. It will also seek to identify interventions that will enable the government to generate more financial resources to finance its development agenda.

New policy briefs and research papers are being released on a regular basis. The findings are presented to decision makers, the media and the general public across multiple channels, including panel debates with high-ranking officials and academics.

Read a newspaper report in Malawi's newspaper of record about research showing how to prevent 100,000 deaths of mothers and their children here.

Lomborg on social media:

Voters like to talk about climate policies - but paying for them, not so much

Over the past 7 decades, global life expectancy has increased from 46 to 73

EU forests are burning less

Where can limited resources do the most good first?

Covid shutdowns have had had no impact on climate

New York Times duped by climate report

More global articles and interviews:

Climate change, power problems can only be solved with innovation
Fox Business Network (USA)

Primary education should be a top priority for Malawi
The Nation (Malawi)

Organic food is not healthier for you or for animals & nature – just far more expensive
The Print (India)

Shell. „Usnesení, které změní svět“
Echo24 (Czech Republic)

¿Qué debe hacer Nicaragua ante el cambio climático?
La Prensa (Nicaragua)

Fact Check. Bill Gates é o responsável pela pandemia de Covid-19?
Observador (Portugal)

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus 

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to do good in the world, and has repeatedly been named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 public intellectuals.

He is the author of several best-selling books, Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and works regularly with many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates.

His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, was named Think Tank of the Year in International Affairs by Prospect Magazine. It has repeatedly been top-ranked by University of Pennsylvania in its global overview of think tanks.

Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, and the BBC. His monthly column is published in dozens of newspapers across all continents.
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David Lessmann
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