Completing the Doha round of trade talks would cut the number of people living in poverty by 145 million in just 12 years.


Bjorn Lomborg

Where does our aid money do the most good?

In international polls and on the world stage, developing countries are very clear about their priorities: improved healthcare and education, more and better jobs, less corruption, and solutions to nutritional challenges. Unfortunately, these areas are not necessarily where rich countries direct funds.

In his new column for Project Syndicate (available in six languages), Bjorn Lomborg asks how development funds can be used better. Cost-benefit analysis can play a vital role in shining a light on interventions and investments that achieve the most for every dollar spent. If we ignore economic efficiency, we risk failing to make needed progress against humanity’s greatest challenges.

The article was published by media outlets around the world, including Berlingske, (Denmark), Channel News Asia (Singapore), Arab News (Saudi Arabia), La Nacion (Costa Rica), The Daily Star (Lebanon), Times of Oman, New Times (Rwanda), My Republica (Nepal), New Europe (Belgium), Jornal de Negocios (Portugal) and Finmag (Czech Republic).

The best investment Bill Gates has ever made

In an essay for The Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates discusses the great success of global health initiatives the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has sponsored. He writes:

"The Copenhagen Consensus Center is a think tank that uses sophisticated algorithms and the best available data to compare alternate poverty-fighting strategies. Their tools have allowed us to test an interesting hypothesis: Suppose that our foundation hadn’t invested in Gavi, the Global Fund and GPEI and had instead put that $10 billion into the S&P 500, promising to give the balance to developing countries 18 years later. As of last week, those countries would have received about $12 billion, adjusted for inflation, or $17 billion if we factor in reinvested dividends. (...)
By investing in global health institutions, however, we exceeded all of those returns: The $10 billion that we gave to help provide vaccines, drugs, bed nets and other supplies in developing countries created an estimated $200 billion in social and economic benefits."

Gates' article was widely cited in media around the world, including CNBC, BusinessInsider and BT (Denmark).

In her article "Why women's and children's health is at risk around the world" for CNN, Melinda Gates also highlights this Copenhagen Consensus analysis.

Solutions shouldn't cost more than the problem

Congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently declared that “the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don't address climate change” and expressed exasperation that anyone would want to talk about the cost of global warming policies.

The idea that humanity will be doomed in 2030 is just silly – as social media was quick to point out. But really, the politician is just saying what many people believe after years of apocalyptic reporting. Lomborg argues in New York Post that if we look at the science and stop believing the end of the world is nigh, our decisions will be much smarter.

We are missing the forest for the trees on free trade

As the U.S. and China are locked in a major trade dispute, the mood has turned against freer trade around the world. The tragedy is that genuine, global free trade would have benefits that reach far beyond that continent worth trillions of dollars. By turning against free trade, we are denying the world’s poorest genuine opportunities to climb out of poverty, while cutting off great benefits for the rest of the world.

In an op-ed for The Hill, Lomborg argues that those in rich countries who focus on negative globalization stories such as blue-collar workers losing their jobs are missing the forest for the trees.

Free trade is undoubtedly good for the world’s poor, who would have new opportunities to thrive and prosper. But the benefits of trade also extend to wealthy consumers, workers, and even the planet.

Why don’t we spend much more on nutrition and education?

In an article about the future of development entitled "5 puzzles in the international economy", Homi Kharas of the influential public policy think tank The Brookings Institution is wondering why the economic evidence on the effectiveness of nutrition and education interventions does not translate into more spending on these global priorities.

Citing benefit-cost analyses from Copenhagen Consensus, Kharas points out that
"aid for nutrition and education continues to lag far behind what is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Why isn’t there a significant scale up of aid to education and nutrition, as happened with aid for health interventions?" 

Climate cost headline catchy but false

How much did climate change cost in 2018? One major charity says the answer is $85 billion. That claim was repeated by many newspapers—just as it was designed to—yet it is nonsense. The report just listed the costs of ten weather events, without examining the science on the links between these events and climate change.

Lomborg argues in The Weekend Australian that it is alarming that a major charity not only disregards the scientific evidence while urging climate action but also ignores what the world’s poorest say they want. The United Nations’ vast global survey reveals that for people from the world’s poorest countries, climate change comes dead last in their concerns, well after education, health, jobs, transparent government, and food.

How (not) to save the world

Germany's most prestigeous Sunday newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung conducted a feature interview with Bjorn Lomborg on "how to save the world". He discussed the smartest solutions to the biggest global challenges and also addressed the question of how to approach climate change and environmental problems best.

Moreover, the Czech Republic's leading news magazine Tyden published a 4-page interview with Lomborg, in which he pointed out that feel-good solutions won't be effective in tackling climate change, and that global leaders need to prioritize the smartest policies that promise the biggest bang for the buck.

Lomborg on social media:

Fighting TB is one of the world's best investments

Africa is slowly working toward creating the world’s largest free-trade area

Fewer and fewer people die from climate-related natural disasters

What is the most expensive way to cut a tonne of CO₂?

Global fossil-fuel related CO₂ emissions bigger than ever, despite Paris Treaty

Don't panic over climate change, seek smart fixes

More global articles and interviews:
Technology can’t replace teachers in classrooms
Hindustan Times (India)

Interview: We are too eager to believe climate change is worse than science shows
Roy Green Show (Canada)

”Jeg har det ikke dårligt over at sætte mig op i et fly”
DR Aftenshowet (Denmark)

Das eine tun, bedeutet in einer knappen Welt, das andere lassen
NZZ (Switzerland)

Toujours sceptique 20 ans plus tard
La Presse (Canada)

El acceso a la energía
La Tercera (Chile)

Agenda 2030 no va por buen camino
La Prensa (Nicaragua)

A verdade é a primeira baixa do aquecimento global
Jornal de Negocios (Portugal)

Pozostawianie ubogich tego świata w ciemności jest niemoralne
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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