Too much bad news - the world has become a much better place
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Bjorn Lomborg

Look on the bright side

For journalists "a good story is usually bad news". This skews our picture of reality.

In newspapers around the world, Lomborg highlights that many indicators point to a world that is improving. For instance, wars cost 5% of GDP in the 20th century -- now, we're reaping a permanent peace dividend with costs under 2% of GDP.

In Expansión (El Salvador), The Independent (Bangladesh), Korea Times (Korea), La Nacion (Costa Rica), The Reporter (Ethiopia), The Star (Kenya), El Tiempo (Columbia) and many more. Read the article in six languages on Project Syndicate.

Poverty: Just 17% to go

New data from the World Bank show that the proportion of extremely poor people has more than halved over the last 30 years, from 42% of the global population in 1981 to 17% in 2010. This is the lowest proportion ever. 

We will be better off in 2050

In 1900 average global schooling was just one year. An illiteracy rate of 70% cost a whopping 12% of global GDP. By 2050, global illiteracy will fall to only 12%, and the cost will have dwindled to just 3.8% of GDP.

Read all the amazing facts on how the world is improving in Lomborg's piece for US magazine The Atlantic.

Cross the Street

Caution is great as a political sledgehammer. Carefully formulated, you can ban anything. But this is unreasonable. The EU's precautionary principle has been weaponized, following a "guilty until proven innocent" logic. But nothing can be proven to be un-dangerous.

Lomborg explains in The European magazine (available in English and German) what politics should learn from kids crossing the street for ice cream

Running out of stuff

Humanity is constantly warned about a devastating collapse just around the corner.

But the logic is wrong. Human ingenuity is winning over scarcity. For instance, we have more and more oil left over -- not less.

Watch Lomborg's recent talk on Limits to Growth at the Creative Innovation conference
in Melbourne.

US cancer rates in decline

No, there is no cancer epidemic. The explosion in cancer in the 1950s and 1960s provided the background for the environmental alarm over pesticides. And the scare persists in today's fondness for inefficient organic farming. But in reality cancer rates went up almost exclusively because of smoking. Adjusted for this factor, death rates for all cancers are declining.


For decades, the US has been regarded a climate bad boy, whereas the EU is said to be the vanguard of emission cuts. But in reality, the fracking revolution in the US and the subsequent switch from coal to gas has cut more than three times the emissions uneconomic solar panels and wind turbines have achieved in Europe.

And while the total cost of the EU climate policies are estimated at about $280 billion per year, fracking in the US has made America about $100 billion per year.

Read Lomborg's contribution to Politico Magazine's mythbuster series on the misconceptions about the US.
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Zsuzsa Horvath
Executive Assistant to Bjorn Lomborg
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New university textbook:

Global Problems, Smart Solutions
- Costs and Benefits

Peer-reviewed research from over 50 of the world's top economists for our flagship project Copenhagen Consensus 2012 published by Cambridge University Press.

We can do an enormous amount of good if we spend our aid money the smartest way possible. Across ten topic areas, the research rigorously examines different approaches to tackling one global challenge. 

Each research paper offers new insight into the best ways to approach a global problem from malnutrition and malaria, to armed conflicts and climate change. A set of three papers has been written for each topic, to provide a range of world-class and innovative thinking.

An expert panel, including four Nobel Laureates looked at all of the solutions to all of the problems, and identified the most cost effective ways of achieving good in the world. The final outcome: a list of priorities with all the solutions identified by the scholars ranked by the expert panel according to the potential of each solution for solving the world’s greatest challenges most cost effectively.

One of the top solution shows that $3bn/year over the next 4 years for better nutrition could avoid 100 million stunted children, resulting in more education and three times more productive adults, doing $59 worth of good for every dollar spent.

Order the book on or learn more about the project on the Copenhagen Consensus Center's website.

Recommended links:

Video of Lomborg's UN keynote on Sustainable Development Goals
(20 minutes in)

Climate Change - The debate heats up
Lomborg's review of Nordhaus in Barron's

The Biggest Overlooked Trends of 2013
Politico Magazine

Is GM food safe? Yes!
Even worried eco-magazine Grist finds little worry

Wind energy very expensive
Up to 40 times more than the global damage of a ton of COâ‚‚

Energy efficiency can lead to more energy consumption
We continue to find new ways to consume energy

Forbruget af biobrændstof er vanvid
Børsen (Denmark)

Klimapolitik – Fakten und Fiktionen
Liberal Magazin (Germany)

Acceso a energía, problema medioambiental
Milenio (Mexico)

O poder para desenvolver
Jornal de Negocios (Portugal)

Hogyan költsünk el okosan 75 milliárd dollárt?
Napi Gazdaság (Hungary)

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center 

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to improve the environment and 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, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School and regularly works with many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates. 
His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the world’s "Top 25 Environmental Think Tanks".

Lomborg is 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 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.
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