The world will be half a century late completing its Sustainable Development Goals


Bjorn Lomborg

Let's focus on the smartest strategies to help the world

We are almost at halftime of the UN's Global Goals for 2016-2030. It would be informative to take stock and see how well the world is faring on its promises. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near halfway. We should focus our resources more effectively. Economic cost-benefit analysis can help identify policies where few resources can help a lot and highlight where even very large resources achieve little.

Bjorn Lomborg writes in Mint together with the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that in the current SDG world, where we are not achieving everything, we should allocate more resources to the policies that will deliver the most effective return for an extra rupee, dollar or euro.

Net-zero climate policy offers much pain, little gain

In rich countries, energy policies designed to make fossil fuels expensive are doing exactly what they were supposed to do. Since the 2015 Paris climate agreement, global fossil-fuel investment has halved, inevitably driving up prices.

Unfortunately, the painless transition to renewable energy sources that climate activists have promised has not happened: Renewables are far from ready to power the world. This has been a significant contributor to the current energy crisis, and despite energy scarcity, we're not reining in carbon emissions.

Emerging economies that are focused on poverty eradication and economic development are unlikely to follow a net-zero approach that brings much pain for very little climate reward. India even wants the West to pay $1 trillion in climate finance just to start its transition.

Bjorn Lomborg writes in a new op-ed for New York Post (USA), National Post (Canada), The Australian, Addis Fortune (Ethiopia) and Tempi (Italy) that without affordable, effective fossil-fuel replacements, power bills will rise and growth will shrink. That's why we need to focus on green energy innovation.

Electric car subsidies are a bad investment

Climate activists and politicians constantly tell us electric cars are cleaner, cheaper, and better. California and many countries, including the U.K., Germany, and Japan, will even prohibit the sale of new gas and diesel cars within a decade or two.

But if electric cars are really so good, why do we need to ban the alternatives? And why do we need to subsidize electric cars to the tune of $30 billion per year?

Lomborg writes in Newsweek that you can buy the same CO2 reduction an electric car offers compared to a gas car on America's longest-established carbon trading system for about $300, making electric car subsidies one of the least effective and most expensive ways to cut emissions.

The world is getting better. We just don't hear about it.

Not long ago, environmentalists constantly used pictures of polar bears to highlight the dangers of climate change. The bears even featured in Al Gore’s fear-inducing movie An Inconvenient Truth. But the reality is that polar bear numbers have been increasing – from 5,000-10,000 polar bears in the 1960s, up to around 26,000 today. We don’t hear this news. Instead, campaigners just quietly stopped using polar bears in their activism.

With a torrent of doom and gloom about climate change and the environment in the news, it’s understandable why many people — especially the young — genuinely believe the world is about to end. The fact is that while significant problems remain, many indicators, even environmental, are in fact getting better. We just rarely hear it.

Bjorn Lomborg's op-ed is currently being syndicated with newspapers around the world. So far it has been published in multiple US newspapers including New York Post, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Press of Atlantic City and The Daily Courier as well as Financial Post (Canada), The Herald (United Kingdom), Business Day (South Africa), Berlingske (Denmark), Listy z naszego sadu (Poland), Addis Fortune (Ethiopia) and Voinamir (Bulgaria).

Facts on hurricanes are blowing in the wind

Despite what you may hear over and over again, Atlantic hurricanes are not becoming more frequent. The best long-term data shows that the frequency of hurricanes making landfall on the continental United States has declined slightly since 1900.

But many more people live in the paths of hurricanes compared to even a few decades ago. Florida had fewer than 600,000 houses in 1940 — today, that number is 17 times higher, at more than 10 million.

Yes, we need to find smart climate solutions. But if our goal is to protect lives and property from hurricanes, better infrastructure, fed by improved technology and wealth, does more than cutting carbon emissions.

Read more in Forbes and multiple American newspapers including Las Vegas Review-Journal, Boston Herald, The Reporter, The Mercury, The Times Herald, News Tribune and The Times Herald.

Practical solutions to address climate change

Climate change is not the extinction-level event it is often characterized as. Still, it is a problem we need to address, focusing on smart, effective solutions. In his latest long-form interview on climate change and climate policy on Uncommon Knowledge (filmed at Stanford University), Lomborg discusses practical ways to lower our carbon footprint and emissions, pointing out why “carbon free by 2050” probably isn’t achievable without massive energy breakthroughs coming from green energy R&D.

He also recorded an hour-long podcast interview with Mark Moss, discussing the cost of climate change as well as our responses to it, including renewables, electric cars, greenwashing, biofuels and innovation.

People will rebel against green policies

The disconnect between climate-worried global elites and the real world suffering from the energy crisis and the aftermath of the pandemic is growing by the day. The costs of the climate and environmental policies are quickly becoming unbearable, and people are starting to rebel against green diktats, as we have recently seen in the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Even under today’s policies that won't get us close to the net zero target, EU vice-president and long-time climate action advocate Frans Timmermans admits many millions of Europeans may not be able to heat their homes this northern winter. This, he concludes, could lead to “very strong conflict and strife”. He’s right. When people are cold, hungry and broke, they rebel. If the elite continues pushing expensive policies that are disconnected from the urgent challenges facing most people, we need to brace for much more global chaos.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's analysis in newspapers around the world, including Financial Post (Canada), The AustralianThe Philippine Daily Inquirer, City AM (UK), El Tiempo (Colombia), Milenio (Mexico), Listin Diario (Dominican Republic), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Periodico (Guatemala), El Universal (Venezuela),
Business Day (South Africa), Addis Fortune (Ethiopia), Tempi (Italy), Finmag (Czech Republic) and multiple US newspapers such as Las Vegas Review-Journal, Press of Atlantic City, The Telegraph and The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Lomborg on social media:

China not green yet

Impact of Biden's Climate Act will be unnoticeable

Saying we have 10 years left to fix climate is like saying the right speed limit is 3MPH

Developing countries won't want to emulate ineffective climate policies

Most renewable energy comes from wood

Despite climate, the average person will earn 434% of today’s income by 2100


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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