Those who claim we already have a solution to climate change are right in only one sense: ­humanity has no shortage of ­capacity for innovation.


Bjorn Lomborg

Why GDP still matters

New Zealand is being lauded for introducing the world’s first Wellbeing Budget, which aims to shift the focus from GDP toward the “wellbeing of people.” 

This sounds great. But GDP is actually closely connected to many of the crucial indicators making life better: education, child survival, nutrition, health, life expectancy, and even environment. 

The focus on wellbeing may have the best of intentions. But if GDP does not increase, the government will have less money for its grand schemes. And compared to what it could have had, the country will have less overall wellbeing, worse environmental performance, and weaker human capital.


Read Bjorn Lomborg's new column for Project Syndicate in five languages. The article was published by media outlets around the world, including Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Shanghai Daily (China), Interest (New Zealand), Berlingske (Denmark), Börse Online (Germany), La Nacion (Costa Rica) and The Daily Star (Lebanon).

Sorry, banning plastic bags won’t save our planet

An increasing number of countries and local authorities are banning single-use plastics such as shopping bags. Bjorn Lomborg argues in Canada's newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail, that we need to be honest about how much consumers can achieve.

As with other environmental issues, instead of tackling the big picture problems to actually reduce the plastic load going into oceans, we focus on relatively minor changes involving consumers.

We also need to consider the wider environmental impact of our bag choices. A 2018 study by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food looked not just at plastic waste, but also at climate change damage, ozone depletion, human toxicity, and other indicators. It found you must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less environmental damage than a plastic bag.

Lomborg also discussed the topic on US radio.

The trade war’s biggest losers: poor people

The trade war between the USA and China has prompted many commentators to focus on the economic pain that will be felt by the two sides: hitting US consumers in the pocket, and causing pain for Chinese exporters. But there’s a far bigger concern that extends globally, which is that decision-makers in almost every nation have shifted so sharply against the most powerful development tool that has ever been discovered: free trade.

A completed Doha agreement would have made the world $11 trillion richer each and every year by 2030 according to research for Copenhagen Consensus. The tragedy is that the stubbornness from both sides—and today’s entrenched mood against free trade—means that trillions of dollars of potential growth are effectively thrown away.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's article in New York Daily News (available here for readers from the EU).

The costs and benefits of attacking climate change

On the renowned EconTalk podcast, Bjorn Lomborg talks about the costs and benefits of attacking climate change. He argues that we should always be aware of tradeoffs and effectiveness when assessing policies to reduce global warming, and advocates for realistic solutions that consider the potential to improve human life in other ways. In addition to funding the innovation needed to move away from fossil fuels, Lomborg argues that geo-engineering and adaptation may be the most effective ways to cope with climate change.

Energy solution hinges on better technology

What will be the solution to climate change? It would be very nice to be able to point confidently to a single technology such as wind turbines or solar panels. Many people argue we just need to build more of their favoured technology to achieve a so-called “energy transition” from fossil fuels to renewables. Unfortunately, as one of the world’s leading energy researchers, Vaclav Smil, has pointed out: “The great hope for a quick and sweeping transition to renewable energy is wishful thinking.”

In a two-page feature essay for The Weekend Australian, Bjorn Lomborg comprehensively analyzes why the global energy transition is so incredibly difficult despite stark warnings of a warming world, making the case for much higher investments into green R&D.

Lomborg discussed his essay on The Chris Smith Show on 2GB Radio, and Australia's best known radio talk show host Alan Jones called it an "outstanding piece".

The UK is about to spend £1 trillion on a pointless policy

The UK is, reportedly, already resorting to the use of "creative accounting" as it attempts to meet its current obligation of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. However, that hasn't stopped the government from proclaiming an even bolder promise: net zero. While having almost no impact on global temperatures, the cost of this target would be immense at up to £374 billion annually. That’s more than the UK currently spends on health, education, police, courts, defence, environment, housing, recreation and culture.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's article for The Telegraph (here without paywall), from which the BBC quoted in their reporting on Theresa May's announcement.

Why India must expand its immunization coverage

Of all of the things that a government can do to influence the lives of citizens, immunization is one of the most effective, cost-efficient investments. And a new, non-partisan report by India Consensus shows that expanding India’s immunization program would be a phenomenal investment.

For example, delivering six vaccinations (tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and polio) can deliver one year of healthy life for less than $10. In terms of what this means for society, every dollar spent achieves benefits worth some $50.

Lomborg argues in Hindustan Times that it is rare in public policy to find simple, cheap interventions that have such compelling and phenomenal returns. Expansion of immunization over coming decades can help (and save) many lives.

Policy directors validate Ghana Priorities Project

Policy directors drawn from selected ministries, departments and agencies recently attended a validation workshop on the Ghana Priorities Project, a data-driven approach to the prioritization of policy interventions.

Through academic research, stakeholder engagement and a targeted outreach strategy to determine the best investments, the project seeks to help Ghana accelerate the achievement of the Ghana Development Agenda (GDA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the country's leading newspaper The Daily Graphic reports.

Empowering rural courts

Increasing access to justice at the grassroot level can directly protect human rights of the rural poor. It is estimated that nearly 4 billion poor around the world cannot access the protection of the law and justice system. In Bangladesh, 31 million people, mostly belonging to rural areas, experience legal problems every year.

Research for Bangladesh Priorities shows that when village courts are empowered as a quasi-formal justice system to deal with more complicated and higher value cases, it could benefit Bangladesh’s economy tremendously. Reducing backlog and making it more convenient for rural citizens to access justice, without having to travel to district courts, would generate nearly Tk 19 of benefits for each taka spent.

Read the article by Lomborg and Bangladesh Priorities Outreach Manager Hasanuzzaman in The Daily Star.

Lomborg on social media:

No, climate won't undo development

Scotland promised 130,000 green energy jobs. £5 billion later, there are 100 temporary jobs

5.4m kids didn't get to see their first birthday. How is that not a bigger deal?

Where does almost all renewable energy come from? - Old-fashioned wood

Measles cases up 300% worldwide in 2019

Unreliable nature of solar and wind makes electricity much more expensive

More global articles and interviews:

Interview on the climate plans of US Democratic presidential candidates
FOX News (USA)

Interview on false climate alarms
Roy Green Show (Canada)

Golden Rice, Part 4: Cost-effective GMO crop can save lives and dramatically boost developing economies
Genetic Literacy Project (USA)

Poverty eradication
The Financial Express (Bangladesh)

Politikere lever af at få det til at se ud, som om de redder alle mennesker i verden
Altinget (Denmark)

Grön energi är svaret på klimatfrågorna
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)

Energiewende: Mehr Geld für die Forschung
Börse Online (Germany)

Las promesas rotas de París
La Prensa (Nicaragua)

No toda noticia alarmante es real
El Universo (Ecuador)

Nazywanie zmiany klimatu ”katastrofalną” utrudnia znalezienie realnych odpowiedzi
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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