Policy choices for Australia's bush-fires that actually help


Bjorn Lomborg

Fighting Australia’s fire myths

Scenes of devastation from Australia’s bushfires have been heart-breaking. How do we stop this suffering? For many campaigners and politicians, the answer is clear-cut: drastic climate policies. When we examine the evidence, this simple answer falls short.

Globally, wildfire burns less land than it used to. Surprisingly, this decrease is even true for Australia. And a new review of the available data suggests it’s not actually possible to detect a link between global warming and fire for Australia today. To address Australia's fire problem, there are much more effective policies than carbon cuts.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's new op-ed in The Australian. The article is also available in Danish language (Berlingske).

During a recent visit to Australia, Lomborg discussed the fires on national television (Sky News, The Kenny Report) and radio (2GB, The Alan Jones Show).

Copenhagen Consensus one of the world's top think tanks

The University of Pennsylvania every year invites nearly 46,000 journalists, policy-makers, donors and scholars to rank the world's best think tanks.

This year, Copenhagen Consensus was once again acknowledged for having launched one of the top-20 advocacy campaigns anywhere in the world, for the seventh year running. It was also named in the same rankings as one of the 70 think-tanks in the world with the most outstanding policy-oriented research programs, alongside NGOs that have more than 100-times larger budgets.

You can support the Center's work by donating here.

The IMF’s miscalculation of energy subsidies

Over the past year, climate campaigners haven't grown tired of quoting an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report that claims the fossil fuel industry received “a whopping $5.2 trillion in subsidies” in 2017, equivalent to 6.5 percent of global GDP.

Like much else that we hear about energy these days, the story was dramatically exaggerated. In trying to give grist to environmental campaigners in the West, the IMF published a politically motivated report that massively overstates fossil fuel subsidies and distracts from the important issue of encouraging the world to dismantle the $424 billion left in such wasteful spending.

Bjorn Lomborg's analysis of fossil fuel subsidies was published in Australia's largest circulating newspaper Herald Sun and by Forbes.

Gas is key to cutting CO2

Switching from coal to gas for power generation is the most realistic way to cut carbon dioxide emissions to tackle climate change in the short term. In a recent interview with The Australian newspaper, Lomborg also explained that the best long-term strategy to tackle climate change is innovation:

“We should be bold and invest in all kinds of green energy ­research because we can’t guess which one is going to win. What we can see is it is incredibly much cheaper to invest in green energy research and development rather than putting up the ideological favourite, which basically makes you feel good but has virtually no impact on climate change. We really just need one technology that is cheaper than fossil fuels and that should not be ­beyond human ingenuity.”

Finding the best policies for Ghana

Ghana’s booming economy has allowed the national budget to grow substantially over the past decade, and many campaigners have compelling stories on how these extra resources should be best spent to improve Ghana’s wellbeing and prosperity. But the biggest problem with setting spending priorities is that there might be little information on the cost and benefits of policy proposals.

A new research project conducted by Copenhagen Consensus together with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Ghana Priorities, aims to fill some gaps in the data. The goal is to create a valuable new resource not just for politicians and civic leaders, but for all development stakeholders in Ghana.

The benefits to society could be immense. If Ghana over the next decade could drive just a quarter of its public spending increase — $660 million each year — towards the best interventions, it could increase total Ghanaian welfare in the coming decade by almost $750 billion.

Bjorn Lomborg and Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, Director of the NDPC, introduced Ghana Priorities to the readers of the country's newspaper of record, The Daily Graphic. In the coming weeks, we will publicize research papers (and corresponding op-eds) on the best policy proposals across all sectors of government, which will be assessed and ranked by an eminent panel including a Nobel laureate and renowned Ghanaian economist.

Lomborg on social media:

The World Economic Forum's sad testament to group think

Five myths about energy

The cost of all weather-related disasters keeps declining

What causes under-adoption of profitable energy efficient technologies

ABC deletes story about climate protesters halting protection burns prior to devastating bushfires

Recycling is becoming incredibly expensive

More global articles and interviews:

Leere Gesten zum Thema Klimawandel
Euro (Germany)

¿Guerras climáticas?
Milenio (Mexico)

Reality check: Pęd do szybkiej „zerowej” emisji to gwarancja przegranej
Listy z naszego sadu

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 Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 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 in International Affairs by Prospect Magazine. 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 dozens of newspapers across all continents.
Thank you for your continued interest and we hope you enjoy these occasional updates, if you do not wish to receive news about Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus in the future, you can easily remove your email from our mailing list.

Best wishes,
David Lessmann
Communications Manager
Copenhagen Consensus Center
Support the non-profit Copenhagen Consensus Center: donate hereforward this email to a friend, or read archived letters.

Copyright © 2020 Copenhagen Consensus Center, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences