We "need to keep promoting evidence-based policies over political ones" -- The Economist about Ghana Priorities


Bjorn Lomborg

Sorry, solar panels won’t stop California’s fires

Politicians, media and climate campaigners around the world claim that California's fires are caused by climate change, and that we need to enact strict climate policies to prevent future fires. This is grossly misleading, steering the state to the worst way to help future Californians.

Even if the ­entire United States were to cut all its emissions tomorrow and for the rest of the century — an ­incredibly fanciful and enormously expensive assumption — temperatures would still climb, just 0.3°F/0.17°C less. The main reason we are now seeing more and bigger fires is because a century of fire suppression has left what researchers call a “fire deficit” — all the fuel that should have burnt but didn’t. To fix its wildfire problem, California politicians should focus on the unpopular but effective solution of prescribed burns.

Lomborg's new column was published in newspapers around the world, including New York Post, Die Welt (Germany), Jakarta Post (Indonesia), Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), Perfil (Argentina), Milenio (Mexico) and La Prensa (Nicaragua).

Lomborg also discussed the fires on national television (Varney and Co.), with nationally syndicated radio hosts Ben Shapiro and Michael Medved, on California radio and other radio stations across the US (e.g. Chicago's Morning Answer).

Are cooler heads needed on climate change?

Bjorn Lomborg's new book False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet was reviewed very positively in Financial Times (UK) and The New Zealand Herald recently, with the writer praising Lomborg's "powerful" argumentation.

The book is doing well. It is being reprinted for the third time in the US, and the UK is reprinting, too. False Alarm has also been launched in Australia this month, and is being translated to multiple other languages, from Chinese to Norwegian.

Lomborg discussed the book on multiple prominent podcasts over the past few weeks, e.g. with US Congressman Dan Crenshaw or on The Delingpod (UK) and The Young IPA (Australia).

He recorded a three part interview series based on the book for British magazine The Spectator together with author and journalist Matt Ridley.

The episodes are titled:

Discussing smart climate policies on Sky News

Bjorn Lomborg participated in a one-hour primetime panel debate on Sky News (United Kingdom) titled Climate After Covid: A Green Recovery?

Ahead of the TV special, he stressed in an op-ed for Sky News that if climate change really could end the world, then perhaps the omnipresent alarmism might be warranted, but that is simply not the case. The UN's climate panel has estimated that the negative impact of climate change equates to incomes reducing by 0.2% to 2% by the 2070s. A problem, but clearly not the end of the world.

Sky News Australia also invited Lomborg to discuss climate change on two of its high profile public affairs programs. He told host Chris Kenny that one of the most expensive climate change remedies was subsidizing electric cars. “Right now, we’re paying something between 10 and 100 times too much for every ton of CO2 we cut and it’s basically subsidized to rich people to drive around and feel very virtuous,” he said.

And during his interview on Sky News Australia's Bolt Report he reaffirmed: “What we should make sure we don’t do, is make expensive policies that have almost no impact in a hundred years, which basically makes us poorer but doesn’t help the future.”

Promoting evidence-based policies over political ones

The renowned British publication The Economist published a story about Ghana Priorities last week, highlighting the "need to keep promoting evidence-based policies over political ones" after the upcoming election and pointing out that the project aims

"to steer the government away from pork barrels by using solid evidence to assess which projects give the most bang for each buck. (...) The nominally apolitical National Development Planning Commission says the findings are already influencing how the government spends in response to covid-19. It also hopes that the research will shape Ghana’s medium-term development plan."

Family planning for health and development

Family planning plays an important role in the reproductive health and rights of women. Access to contraception helps empower women and adolescents, increases investment in children, and contributes to poverty reduction and overall development.

Researchers for Ghana Priorities found that every cedi spent on the provision of family planning would produce social and economic good worth 29 to 34 cedis in Ghana.
Moreover, an effective sexual education would delay pregnancy to an age when it is safer to have children, yielding benefits more than twice as high as the cost.

Read a summary of this study in Bjorn Lomborg's article for Ghana's leading newspaper Daily Graphic.

Improving learning in Ghana: right approach matters

Ghana has made great strides to improve access to its education system in the past decades. However, as in many other developing countries, the quality of education is still a critical challenge. In a 2016 assessment, 45% and 30% of 4th graders could not meet minimum standards in mathematics and English.

Researchers for Ghana Priorities studied two interventions designed to improve learning levels: an expansion of Ghana’s School Feeding Program (GSFP), and a pedagogical approach called ‘Teaching at the Right Level’. With societal benefits between 5 and 8 cedis for every cedi invested, these are powerful tools to improve Ghana's schools.

Read a summary of this research in Bjorn Lomborg's article for Ghana's leading newspaper Daily Graphic.

Electricity for health and productivity

Expanding access is a vital component of development in rural areas. In rural Ghana, access was only 67% in 2018, and the northern parts of the country are in a notably worse situation compared to regions in the south. In all three northern regions, national grid connection is available for only 48 - 66% of households.

Researchers for Ghana Priorities found that expanding the grid to remote communities would result in a 46% increase in gross household income through increased productivity. It would also increase the availability of health services. Every cedi spent would yield 4.5 cedis worth of social good.

Read a summary of this study in Bjorn Lomborg's article for Ghana's leading newspaper Daily Graphic.

Protecting Ghana's artisanal mining sector

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining has provided jobs and supported the livelihoods of many rural Ghanaian communities for over a century. The sector does, however, face some struggles. While an estimated 1.1 million people are currently engaged in this activity, 60% of them are illegal or unregistered.

To improve this situation, researchers for Ghana Priorities studied the costs and benefits of establishing mining co-operatives. These associations have proven to be an effective way of formalizing small-scale mining to adopt improved technologies, increase efficiency, reduce environmental impacts and minimize social conflicts.

Read a summary of this study in Bjorn Lomborg's article for Ghana's leading newspaper Daily Graphic.

Lomborg on social media:

For every three COVID-19 deaths, lockdown may have caused another two in UK

Climate change is important, but solving it shouldn't come above all else

Bill Gates' spending on global health produced social benefits worth $200 billion for the world

3.5 billion people lack reliable power

Climate ranks as the least important problem for Americans in new poll

A green housing project in China runs off-course because of mosquitos

More articles and interviews:

Cost of COVID-19 lockdown outweighs health benefits in Nigeria
Vanguard (Nigeria)

The sensible approach to climate change
Financial Post (Canada)

Curb climate fear to tackle other priorities
Iran Daily

Interview with Sergio Sarmiento
Mexican television

Free speech, fake science - and why we must take the fight to the climate zealots
Daily Mail (UK)

Lad os dæmpe klimafrygten, så vi kan tage os af verdens øvrige problemer
Berlingske (Denmark)

Mitos y verdades sobre la extinción de osos polares
Perfil (Argentina)

Six mois plus tard: à quoi ressemblera la suite?
La Presse (Canada)

A klímapánik keresztbe tehet a klímaváltozás elleni harcnak
24.hu (Hungary)

Fortune China

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.
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