For the poorest billions, rising energy prices and less fertilizer block the pathway out of poverty and hunger


Bjorn Lomborg

The rich world’s climate hypocrisy

The developed world’s response to the global energy crisis has put its hypocritical attitude toward fossil fuels on display. Wealthy countries admonish developing ones to use renewable energy. Recently, the G7 went so far as to announce they would no longer fund fossil-fuel development abroad.

Meanwhile, Europe and the U.S. are begging Arab nations to expand oil production. Germany is reopening coal power plants, and Spain and Italy are spending big on African gas production. So many European countries have asked Botswana to mine more coal that the nation will more than double its exports.

Lomborg writes in The Wall Street Journal that rather than selfishly block other countries’ path to development, wealthy nations should do the sensible thing and invest meaningfully in the innovation needed to make green energy more efficient and cheaper than fossil fuels. That’s how you can actually get everyone to switch to renewable alternatives. Insisting that the world’s poor live without plentiful, reliable and affordable energy prioritizes virtue signaling over people’s lives.

The cautionary tale of Sri Lanka's organics experiment

One of the many things that went wrong in chaos-ridden Sri Lanka was the former President's determination to transition the country's food production to organics. This policy produced nothing but misery.
The eschewing of fertilizer caused rice production to drop by 20% in the first six months after the switch to organic farming was implemented. Last winter, farmers predicted that tea yields could fall by as much as 40%. Food prices rose; the cost of vegetables quintupled. Protests finally forced Sri Lanka mostly to give up its organic foray, but too late to rescue much of this year’s crop.

It's an important lesson for the rest of the world to let go of the self-indulgent obsession with organics and focus on scientific and effective approaches that can feed the planet during a time of global food shortages.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's article for newspapers around the world, including China Daily, Economic Times (India), Business Day (South Africa), multiple US newspapers including Houston Chronicle, Boston Herald and Press of Atlantic City, The Globe and Mail (Canada), Handelsblatt (Germany), Milenio (Mexico), El Tiempo (Colombia), Jakarta Post (Indonesia), The Australian, Le Point (France), O Globo (Brazil), Jyllands-Posten (Denmark), Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), Tempi (Italy), Bergens Tidende (Norway), Postimees (Estonia), Finmag (Czech Republic), Portfolio (Hungary), La Tercera (Chile), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Universo (Ecuador), El Universal (Venezuela), The Punch (Nigeria), Addis Fortune (Ethiopia) and Daily Graphic (Ghana, print only).

Expensive energy doesn't accelerate green transition

Political elites can’t continue to push expensive green policies without a backlash. As prices soar, risks grow of resentment and strife, as we're seeing with the Dutch farmers protest or France saw with the “yellow vest” protest movement.

But despite the massive price hikes for fossil fuels, we are no closer to solving climate change. Green energy’s failings are why carbon emissions are still increasing. Last year saw the highest global emissions ever. This year is likely to be higher again. Climate policy is broken. Instead of forcing up the price of fossil fuels, policymakers need to focus on making green energy much cheaper and more effective.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's latest globally-syndicated column in publications such as New York Post (USA), Financial Post (Canada), The Australian, Berlingske (Denmark), de Telegraaf (Netherlands), Tempi (Italy), Listy z naszego sadu (Poland) and Addis Fortune (Ethiopia).

He also discussed the topic on the FOX Business Network.

Dutch farmers protest is a taste of things to come

The Dutch farmers protest shows what's wrong with environmental policy-making. Politicians love to make nice sounding, green promises, but they have no intention of actually implementing highly expensive policies. Eventually, the Dutch government's hand was forced by environmentalists through a court case.

The net-zero pledge could likely go down a very similar path. Despite their rhetoric, politicians will shy away from implementing incredibly expensive — and hence hugely unpopular — emission cuts. But if they are sued in court, maybe they will be forced to implement them. Citizens' revolts will likely follow.

Watch Lomborg's interview on FOX News.

'False Alarm' around the world

Bjorn Lomborg's bestselling book False Alarm* is now available in more than a dozen languages, including German, Czech, Chinese, Finnish, and many more.

A few months ago, Lomborg traveled to Oslo to launch a Norwegian translation.

*As an Amazon Associate Copenhagen Consensus earns from qualifying purchases.

Lomborg on social media:

Thanks to better adaptation, heat deaths decline in Spain

Globally, increasing temperatures mean fewer temperature-related deaths

Germany replaced nuclear energy mostly with coal, leading to costly air pollution

Coal-fired power generation rose to a global record

Covid school shutdowns global disaster

In many poorer countries, most children don't learn basic reading and numeracy

More global articles and interviews:

Politicians ‘blindly’ aiming for net zero
Sky News (Australia)

Climate change is a problem, not the end of the world
FOX News (USA)

Green energy needs to be made so cheap
FOX Business Network (USA)

The Rich World’s Climate Hypocrisy
Chicago Morning Answer (USA)

Bjorn Lomborg on War, Climate, and the Future
NTD News (USA)

Climate change obsession distorts priorities
Houston Chronicle (USA)

הצביעות האקלימית של המדינות העשירות בעולם
Globes (Israel)

¿Cómo Guatemala puede invertir mejor sus recursos?
El Periodico (Guatemala)

Evropská posedlost klimatem přerostla v hazard s penězi
iDNES (Czech Republic)

Otimismo quente: as boas consequências do aquecimento global
Gazeta do Povo (Brazil)

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 Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and he has worked with many hundreds of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates.

Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Times of India and China Daily. His monthly columns are published in dozens of newspapers across all continents. 

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.
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