Smart solutions to save lives in developing countries often lack media attention and viral imagery. But they can deliver incredible benefits


Bjorn Lomborg

Biden can lead on climate, but Paris isn't the answer

Hours after being inaugurated as President, Joe Biden recommitted the United States to the Paris climate agreement, arguing that climate change was an "existential threat".

This climate alarmism is poorly founded. Take hurricanes. Carefully curated stories tell you that last year's Atlantic hurricane season was "record-setting". But globally, 2020 ranked as one of the weakest hurricanes years in the 40-year satellite record.

The Paris Agreement is a very expensive way of achieving very little for the climate, costing $1-2 trillion per year to deliver 1% of the cuts needed to limit warming to 2°C. Many of Biden's policies are simply very expensive ways to deliver almost nothing.

Fortunately, Biden is also suggesting another, much more effective solution, namely investment in green energy R&D. More than 20 other countries made a promise to increase research funding at the sidelines of the Paris Summit, but they largely failed to deliver. This part of Biden's climate policy could help refocus the world on smarter climate spending.

Lomborg's new column was published in newspapers around the world, including New York Post (USA), The Australian, Jyllands-Posten (Denmark), Die Presse (Austria), Milenio (Mexico), Perfil (Argentina), El Universo (Ecuador), La Tercera (Chile), Los Tiempos (Bolivia), Estrategia & Negocios (Central America), Jakarta Post (Indonesia) and Business Day (South Africa).

Lomborg also discussed Biden's decision on US television and radio, including Fox and Friends, Varney & Co and The Ben Shapiro Show.

How to prevent hundreds of thousands of childbirth deaths at a tenth of the cost

The tragedy of pregnant women and their children dying has been on the global health community’s radar for a long time. Development professionals have put forward many proposals on how to address this global crisis, but trying to fix everything everywhere comes at a cost of over $30 billion per year — an amount that is hard to mobilize.

A new study for Copenhagen Consensus now shows the most cost-effective way to save the lives of mothers and their children. Targeted spending of less than a tenth of the amount typically asked for on family planning and Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in the 59 hardest hit countries could save 162,000 mothers every year along with 1.2 million newborns. Every dollar spent will yield benefits worth $71.

Newspapers across the world continued to publish articles on this research in January, including China Daily, The Australian, National Post (Canada), Business Day (South Africa), Listin Diario (Dominican Republic), La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador), Los Tiempos (Bolivia), Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) and Addis Fortune (Ethiopia).

In December, the Los Angeles Times (USA) ran this story,

along with Jyllands-Posten (Denmark), Milenio (Mexico), Jakarta Post (Indonesia), Punch (Nigeria), The Nation (Kenya), La Tercera (Chile), Perfil (Argentina), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Periodico (Guatemala), El Heraldo (Honduras), El Universo (Ecuador) and Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia).

Is climate change the biggest health issue of our time?

The new US Administration has made climate change one of its top priorities. President Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, just stated that climate policy will be central to the nation's foreign policy, admitting that "when almost 90 percent of all of the planet’s emissions come from outside of US borders, we could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved." Indeed, even if all OECD countries stopped all their emissions today and never bounced back, global warming would be reduced by the end of the century by less than 0.8° F / 0.4°C.

Lomborg exlains on FOX and Friends that this is why the best climate policy is focussing on innovation to make green energy so cheap that China, India, Africa and Latin America will be able to afford it.

He also points out that White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy's claim that climate is the "most significant public health challenge of our time" is silly, especially during a global pandemic. Cold is 17 times more deadly than heat, and there are many other diseases both in the US and the rest of the world that qualify as significant public health issues much more than climate does.

Digitization can help Ghana unlock enormous potentials

Ghana's President rightly emphasizes the digital opportunities for his country. Across all possible policies, the Eminent Panel of Ghana Priorities has concluded that digital revenue collection is the best policy to embark upon; it will indeed transform the whole Ghanaian economy.

As Lomborg and Prof. Augustin Fosu point out in Ghana's leading newspaper Daily Graphic, digitization is vital for local governments to generate their own income. Digitizing property and business fees can make tax collection much more efficient, and this will help municipalities to provide the best possible services to citizens.

Lomborg on social media:

The average person will likely be 4.5x better off at the end of the century

The death of degrowth

Despite breathless climate reporting about ever-increasing fires: US fires burn 5-10x less today

Relative cost of global weather catastrophes is decreasing, not increasing

How living conditions have improved over time

Over the past hundred years, the climate-related death risk has dropped by 99+%

More global articles and interviews:

Diese Rechnung entzaubert den Mythos vom günstigen Öko-Strom
Die Welt (Germany)

Slösaktiga subventioner till elbilar
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)


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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