A new UN disaster report makes great headlines, but isn't grounded in evidence


Bjorn Lomborg

How to alleviate the looming global hunger crisis

As food prices skyrocket and Russia's war on Ukraine threatens a global food crisis, we need to face an unpopular reality: Organic farming is ineffective, land hungry and very expensive, and it would leave billions hungry if it were embraced world-wide.

In his latest column for Wall Street Journal (also available here), Lomborg argues that policymakers and nonprofits must urgently focus on ways to produce more food for the world’s poorest at lower cost. Improved seeds (including genetic engineering), better pest management and more irrigation would go a long way toward increasing yields.

Ramping up the production of artificial fertilizer, as well as considering removing regulation that makes its fossil-fuel inputs more expensive, will also help. These simple, common-sense approaches can curb price hikes, avoid hunger and even benefit the environment.

UN disaster report is a reporting disaster

A new UN report warns that disasters will get much worse and have killed many more people in recent years. In a new op-ed for newspapers around the globe, Lomborg warns to treat the report with caution:

"Astonishingly, the UN is misusing data, and its approach has been repeatedly shown to be wrong. Its finding makes for great headlines—but it just isn’t grounded in evidence. (...) Climate-related disasters kill 99% fewer people than 100 years earlier."

Still, the UN manages to give the impression that such disasters are ever more deadly by lumping COVID-19 deaths in with those from hurricanes and floods. This inappropriately seems designed to create headlines rather than understanding.

Lomborg's article is being syndicated on all continents, with initial publications including New York Post (USA), Financial Post (Canada), Tempi (Italy), The Australian, Capital (Ethiopia, print only), La Prensa (Nicaragua) and El Periodico (Guatemala).

How tiny investments can generate vast results

The Copenhagen Consensus approach has successfully introduced a rational, data-driven input to countries’ priority-setting in many countries, including Bangladesh, Haiti, India, Ghana and Malawi in recent years.

With the UN's Sustainable Development Goals reaching their halfway mark by the end of this year, it is time to assess how much progress countries have made towards the goals, and what they should focus on over the following eight years to create the largest-possible benefits for their societies.

One country that seems predestined for such analysis is Kenya. Lomborg writes in the country's largest newspaper, Daily Nation, that the East African nation has huge opportunities ahead – but also challenges which could impact prosperity if not navigated carefully.

What school lessons on climate should teach

The UK government recently announced ‘carbon literacy training’ for every local authority nursery, school, college and university.

Rather than be scared to death about the future of the planet, pupils should instead be encouraged to take a rationalist approach. They might ask whether the obsession with climate change in recent decades has taken attention away from the many other major problems facing the planet. And they might also look at ‘extreme weather events’ and whether they really are claiming more lives.

Lomborg writes in Britain's The Spectator magazine that these lessons could be an opportunity to ask what our planet’s problems really are, and how effective the net-zero agenda is as a solution.

Is climate alarmism wasting trillions due to poor policies?

Overblown fears of climate change are costing time and resources that are badly needed elsewhere.

Watch Lomborg's recent talk in the US that was broadcast on C-SPAN.

Obsession with climate change distorts our priorities

Despite a large number of major problems facing the planet — including war, disease, hunger and poverty — major aid organizations have become increasingly focused on climate solutions instead. Alarmingly, despite the extraordinary focus, we’re failing even to solve climate change itself. Last year saw the largest CO₂ emissions ever.

The world has many challenges, not just the ones that get the most media attention. Climate should be tackled more effectively by funding R&D in green energy sources so they eventually outcompete fossil fuels. We need to confront authoritarian expansionism in Ukraine and elsewhere. And to ensure long-term prosperity, the world needs more and cheaper energy, better education and more innovation. We need our perspective back to overcome the elitist hyperbole on climate change.

Lomborg's article for newspapers all over the world was published e.g. in Financial Post (Canada), El Espanol (Spain), Tempi (Italy), Telegraaf (Netherlands), Berlingske (Denmark), Finmag (Czech Republic), Portfolio (Hungary), La Tercera (Chile), El Tiempo (Colombia), Perfil (Argentina), Los Tiempos (Bolivia), El Universo (Ecuador), Business Day (South Africa), Addis Fortune (Ethiopia), Jakarta Post (Indonesia) along with many newspapers across the US (e.g. Detroit News, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Daily Local News, The Telegraph and The Mercury).

'False Alarm' around the world

Bjorn Lomborg's bestselling book False Alarm* is now available in more than a dozen languages, including German, Spanish, Chinese, Norwegian, and many more.

The book has also been published in Czech, and Lomborg recently appeared on the Czech CNN to discuss the book's findings as well as Europe's current energy crisis in detail.

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

Lomborg on social media:

Many children don't learn basic reading and numeracy

Sanctions on potash producers could drive up food prices substantially

Clickbait vs. science

Adding storage makes renewables much costlier

Economic policy matters 17 times as much as climate policy for malnutrition

Rich 1st-worlders denying poor nations fossil energy to feel good about climate

More global articles and interviews:

What's Essential: Dr. Bjorn Lomborg on Radical Prioritization
The Greg McKeown Podcast

New UN report is misleading
Chicago's Morning Answer (Radio)

Vor lauter Klima-Obsession hat der Westen andere Gefahren ignoriert
Die Welt (Germany)

Téves riasztás: A klímaváltozás még nem jelenti a világ végét
Hirado (Hungary)

Európa má obrovské zásoby plynu, tvrdí dánsky ekonóm
Aktuality (Slovakia)

Mother's Day: Economic benefits of contraception and women’s choice of when to have kids
First Post (India)

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 Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and he has worked with many hundreds of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates.

Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Times of India and China Daily. His monthly columns are published in dozens of newspapers across all continents. 

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.
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