And a green dictatorship isn’t the answer to climate change


Bjorn Lomborg

Climate change policies can be punishing for the poor

Freezing temperatures in the U.S. Northeast have pushed up heating costs, creating serious stress for many Americans. The poor are hit hardest by the cold temperatures, as energy costs - thanks in no small part to climate policies - have increased significantly.

In Europe, where renewable subsidies are about three times as high as in the U.S., higher costs from policies like stringent emissions caps and onerous renewable-energy targets have led to more than 30% of Germans spending at least one-tenth of income on energy, and about half of Greeks are in energy poverty, according to the IEA.

In Wall Street Journal, Lomborg writes that America should learn from Europe’s failure to protect the needy while reducing carbon emissions.

How to make more of India's budget

Copenhagen Consensus, together with Tata Trusts and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is proud to announce its latest prioritization project, India Consensus, starting with the states Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In each of the two states, we work with hundreds of stakeholders who identified more than 700 interventions and solutions which were shortlisted to 70 for detailed analysis. Top Indian and foreign economists are analyzing the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of each proposal to help politicians, thought leaders, and ordinary voters to focus on doing the most good in the most effective manner.

Writing in the world's largest-circulating English language newspaper Times of India about India Consensus, and highlighting the successes of previous Copenhagen Consensus projects, Professors Faizan Mustafa (VC, National Law University Hyderabad) and VS Vyas (Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur) argue that
"budget setting can always be improved in every nation, and we submit that one of the most effective ways for India to do so would be to engage in cutting-edge economic analysis and to adopt the principle that every rupee should be spent achieving the greatest social benefit that it possibly can. (...) It is an approach that we would like to see expanded to every state."

Making government smarter

During a month-long stay in India, Bjorn Lomborg promoted the India Consensus project with the major news media in New Delhi, and many meetings in both Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan with hundreds of top government officials, policy makers and bureaucrats. In the meeting with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Naidu was excited and said: "you show us the best policies, and we will implement."

In an interview with the most widely read English daily newspaper in Andhra Pradesh, The Hindu, Lomborg explains that the project "is based on the principle of time-tested cost-benefit analysis of policy decisions and quantifying how every rupee spent translates into benefits to the people", so government can prioritize “the most effective development solutions through this cost-benefit research across a comprehensive development agenda for the State”.

A climate cure worse than the disease

The climate policies lauded in Paris at the One Planet Summit last month are essentially high-cost, low-effect gestures. While the EU will devote 20% of its budget this year to climate-related action, even fully achieving the accord's emissions targets throughout this century would prevent just 0.053°C of global warming by 2100.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's new column for Project Syndicate in six languages. It was published by newspapers around the world, including The Australian, Shanghai Daily (China), Arab News, La Nacion (Costa Rica), Today (Singapore), Times of Oman, Tageblatt (Luxembourg) and The New Times (Rwanda).

Innovation needed to fight climate change

The One Planet Summit in Paris demonstrated that there is a vacuum for global leadership on climate. The US lacks a climate policy, and other leaders are supporting the Paris treaty but failing to live up to it, which anyway would do very little. Underlying the political drama is the economic reality that the carbon cut-driven approach to fight climate change is deeply flawed.

In China Daily, Lomborg points out that the solution to climate change lies not in Paris's failed political approach, but in innovation instead.

A green dictatorship isn’t the answer to climate change

Green activists and a even Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist toy with the idea that “democracy must be suspended to solve the climate crisis.”

In Australia's highest circulating newspaper The Herald Sun, Lomborg argues that we need more democracy, not less. This includes paying more attention to the voices of the majority of people around the world who would prefer progress and smart policies on education, health, and jobs over feel-good, high-cost climate Band-Aids.

Lomborg on social media:

Main reason for EU CO₂ reductions? The economic crisis, not climate policy.

Forbidding subsidies to flood-prone barrier islands might have saved taxpayers $1bn

Progress in the fight against malaria

CSR makes workers feel morally better, but also increases misbehavior

One billion people lifted out of extreme poverty within 25 years

The dengue vaccine saga

Subsaharan Africa uses almost no electricity, a huge impediment to growth

Climate models are likely still exaggerating the temperature rise

Science shouldn't be settled in a court room

More global articles and interviews:

Why the Paris Climate accord was a waste of money
FOX Business Network

Unge stemmer i Bangladesh fremlægger deres støtteprioriteter
Borsen (Denmark)

El libre comercio politizado
El Comercio (Peru)

Tecnología contra la probreza
Milenio (Mexico)

Nejlepší rozvojová pomoc: výzkum a vývoj
Finmag (Czech Republic)

O percurso da I&D rumo ao desenvolvimento
Jornal de Negocios (Portugal)

Os erros na medição do desenvolvimento
Jornal de Negocios (Portugal)

Dla młodzieży priorytetem jest rolnictwo
Listy z naszego sadu (Poland)

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 named Think Tank of the Year by Prospect Magazine, in US International Affairs. 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 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.
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David Lessmann
Communications Manager
Copenhagen Consensus Center
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