Digital solutions can make poor countries richer, in Wired Magazine


Bjorn Lomborg

How to avoid the political pitfalls of carbon taxes

A well-designed carbon tax set around the price of future carbon damage (the leading, peer-reviewed study shows this price is realistically about C$10 per tonne) could be an effective tool in combating climate change. It could be especially helpful in raising funds for more research and development of better green technologies.

But five important caveats, almost universally breached by politicians, affect the likelihood of such a policy working, as Bjorn Lomborg explains in Canada's newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail.

Digital solutions can help poor nations prosper

Kick-starting the technological revolution may seem like a low priority for poor countries.

Compared with critical infrastructure, healthcare, or schools, improved digital access and less waiting times for birth certificates feel like luxuries that should come further down the road.

But there is reason to rethink this. Evidence from Bangladesh Priorities and Haiti Priorise shows that smart digitization opportunities can generate a big push forward for little money, as Bjorn Lomborg writes in WIRED. The article was also published in Russian language.

Paris Climate Agreement:
It's just not working

When the Paris agreement was signed, the rhetoric was grandiose. But the agreement doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

Even in an implausibly optimistic best-case scenario, Paris leaves 99 percent of the problem in place. If the planet requires a carbon diet, then the Paris Agreement is just a flippant promise to eat one salad. Its advocates want us to believe that, 15 years after this salad, we will then undertake an incredibly strict exercise and diet regimen.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's comprehensive analysis of contemporary climate policy in The Australian, which published the article as a long-read feature in its Weekend edition, including multiple graphics.

The mis-measure of development

A new scorecard that purports to grade countries on development progress tells us little about how we are faring against humanity’s biggest challenges. Instead, it highlights the shortcomings of today’s unfocused global development agenda.

A report that gives the world’s biggest aid donor the lowest possible rating for “Partnerships for the Goals” clearly has some underlying issues, and the UN needs to get its priorities right.


Read Bjorn Lomborg's new column for Project Syndicate in six languages. It was published by newspapers around the world, including El Tiempo (Colombia), Clarin (Argentina), New Vision (Uganda), La Nacion (Costa Rica), Times of Oman and The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).

Now even climate-change believers count as ‘deniers’

Climate alarmists such as Al Gore are increasingly embracing this strategy: labeling anybody whose arguments they disagree with as climate deniers and anti-science.

In The New York Post, Bjorn Lomborg argues that the expanding definition of “denial” is an attempt to ensure that the public and policy-makers hear from an ever-smaller clique. This way, we’re left with just one way of ‘correct’ thinking. An echo chamber of accord may feel cozy, but there is the risk that single-minded campaigners win the battle but we all lose the war.

It’s impossible to meet all 169 SDGs. Choose wisely.

Policy-makers from South Asia gathered in Kathmandu last week to discuss the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ahead of the meeting, Bjorn Lomborg argued in Nepal's highest-circulating newspaper Kantipur (in Nepali language) and Hindustan Times (India) that politicians need to acknowledge that not all targets are equally effective, and they need to push for prioritisation of the most effective ones at the next year’s UN high-level political forum on sustainable development.

The green opportunity: having our cake and eating it

The concept of trade-offs has become unfashionable. Politicians around the world like to pretend that carbon cuts present an opportunity for economic growth.

Bjorn Lomborg demonstrates in Australia's highest circulating newspaper Herald Sun and Canada's National Post that we need to be honest that there is a trade-off when it comes to carbon cutting. All economic models show there is a cost to cutting CO₂. There is historically a strong relationship between higher GDP growth and higher CO₂ growth.

Yes, there are benefits to cutting CO₂ but there are also costs, and we need to challenge politicians when they paper over the trade-offs and argue that we can have our cake and eat it.

The global Paris climate failure

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord prompted a resolute response from other world leaders: The deal would go ahead without the U.S.A. However, the threat to climate success doesn’t just come from Trump’s White House ignoring climate change. It also comes from leaders left in the Paris accord. New research from Nature shows that all major industrialized countries are failing to meet the pledges they made in Paris.

Lomborg argues in New York Daily News that rather than making vows we can't and won't live up to, national governments should change course and invest far more in green energy R&D.

Lomborg on social media:

The Incredible Cost of Domestic Violence

Stephen Hawking Talks About Stuff He Knows Nothing About

Prominent Environmentalist Proposes a Climate Dictatorship

Green groups need to make peace with modernity and technology

The world is mostly run on fossil fuels

Carbon sequestration reduces CO₂, but causes biodiversity loss

What causes do Americans donate for?

12% of people could read in 1800, 85% today

IPCC: climate small problem relative to most other issues

More global articles:

The youth prioritises agriculture
Daily Star (Bangladesh)

Why American Overseas Aid Should Focus On SDGs
All Africa

Cambio climático: ¿culpable de los últimos huracanes?
Milenio (Mexico)

Dar mais poder às meninas
Jornal de Negocios (Portugal)

Je tako videti globalno segrevanje?
Vecer (Slovenia)
  Le Quotidien d'Oran (Algeria)

Violenza domestica, i costi per la società
Corriere della Sera (Italy)


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 works regularly 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 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 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.
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