Just because a policy sounds and feels good, doesn't mean it's smart


Bjorn Lomborg

A Moral and Economic Case

Those of us lucky enough to live in the industrialized world typically take for granted simple things like running water, flush toilets and going to the bathroom in privacy.

Yet, 750 million people have no access to any type of basic source of drinking water, 2.5 billion lack a basic latrine and 1 billion have to resort to open defecation.
Reuters reports our research, e.g. in New York Times, Exame (Brazil), DNA (India) and News24 (South Africa), every dollar spent to eliminate open defecation will do $6 worth of socio-economic good, and $4 for providing universal access to drinking water. Bjorn Lomborg writes in India's biggest business paper Economic Times and multiple Latin American newspapers.

Electric car costs and benefits

The electric car is constantly hyped in media, though it's not a good deal: 25 million electric cars would over their lifetimes cut COâ‚‚ worth $0.6 billion. Great. But they would cost $188 billion in direct subsidies and actually lead to more air pollution.

Lomborg writes in USA Today that for now, we should focus on much cleaner hybrids, clean up coal and innovate better green energy and batteries.

The poor are dying more and more like the rich

For the first time in history, more people in the developing world are dying now from strokes and heart attacks, than from infectious diseases like TB, AIDS and malaria.

Lomborg writes in e.g. The Guardian (UK), El Universo (Ecuador) and Milenio (Mexico), that simple measures such as higher tobacco taxes (every dollar spent generates $22 in socio-economic benefits), reducing salt intake ($39), and providing aspirin ($63) could avoid up to 5m premature deaths every year.

Gender equality as a development goal

The UN is keen to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment with its 2015-2030 development goals. But how do we achieve this best?

Post-2015 Consensus research recommends access to contraception for all women, giving social and economic benefits of $120 per dollar spent. And more economic empowerment and enhanced female education will benefit women more than five times the amount spent.
Bjorn Lomborg's new column for Project Syndicate is available in five languages and published around the world, e.g. in The Korea Times, El Tiempo (Colombia), Jornal des Negocios (Portugal) and Hospodářské noviny (Czech Republic).

Bangladesh & Post-2015

Copenhagen Consensus hosted a seminar on smarter Post-2015 development targets with local and international experts for journalists in Dhaka.

We should save 10 people before we save one person

Lomborg gave exclusive interviews to Bangladesh largest Bengali (Prothom Alo) and English (Daily Star) newspapers and the most visited news site, on how to make smart development targets, discussing education, trade, climate change and gender. Don't focus too much on problems you don't know how to fix, and be aware that just because a policy sounds and feels good, it doesn't mean it's smart.


Global Youth Forums

Students around the world are now discussing the data on different development targets provided by the 82 economists and 44 sector experts participating in the Post-2015 Consensus. Above some Youth Forum participants prioritizing targets at the UN in Kenya.

Better roads, fewer hungry

Between 10-50% of all crops are lost between the time they leave the farm and reach consumers. Wall Street Journal reports how 10 percentage points cut in post-harvest losses through better roads and refrigeration, could lower food prices and prevent 60 million people from going hungry. This would do $13 of social good for every dollar spent.
More agricultural R&D could reduce the number of hungry people even more, giving benefits of $34 back on each dollar.

Recommended links:

Free trade, freer migration could help tackle poverty
Economic Times (India)

Getting Bang for the Buck on New Development Goals
Inter Press Service

Migration, contraception can solve population woes
Bangkok Post (Thailand)

Small steps, a world of a difference
The Sun (Malaysia)

Smart targets can save 14 million newborns
Daily Trust (Nigeria)

Lack of social safety net hampers fight against killer diseases

Forskere manipulerer pesticidresultater

Klimaforandring ikke kun til det værre
Borsen (Denmark)

Warum die Welt von morgen besser wird
Lübecker Nachrichten (Germany)

Die größte aller Krisen? Ökonomen widersprechen
Info Radio (Germany)

Climat : cessons de noircir le tableau !
La Tribune (France)

Calentamiento global
La Tercera (Chile)

Saneamiento básico: el camino a una mejor salud
Los Tiempos (Bolivia)

AlarmujÄ…ca sprawa klimatycznego panikarstwa
Listy z naszego sadu (Poland)

Huffington Post Japan

Blog for Berlingske (Denmark)

Overophedede klimamodeller skyder over målet

Hjælp udviklingslandene – med frihandel

Irrationel frygt for spisepinde

Hvad vil verden prioritere?

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus 

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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Best wishes,
Zsuzsa Horvath
Executive Assistant to Bjorn Lomborg
US online phone number: +1-347-903-0979
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