Shifting just 1% of the Indian state Andhra Pradesh's spending towards smart priorities could generate benefits worth $7 billion.


Bjorn Lomborg

Sometimes all it takes to look green is creative accounting

Because honest and deep emissions cuts are staggeringly hard to make, achieving carbon neutrality anytime soon is an empty ambition for almost everywhere.

But countries continue to make big promises and give a false sense of progress on combating global warming.

Look at New Zealand, which promised in 2007 to become carbon neutral by 2020. Actually, its emissions will be 23% higher. Yet, fiddling the numbers, it claims success and now looks to become carbon neutral in 2050 — which won't happen either.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's new column for Project Syndicate six languages. The article was published by media outlets around the world, including Berlingske (Denmark), Die Presse (Austria), La Nacion (Costa Rica), The Daily Star (Lebanon), Times of Oman, New Times (Rwanda), Finmag (Czech Republic) and My Republica (Nepal).

The biggest bang for every buck

How should governments prioritize issues to derive the greatest social impact? For instance, should education budgets focus on primary, tertiary or skill-based education? Should nutrition initiatives spend more on micronutrients for pregnant women or therapeutic foods for children?  Such questions are critical, and tricky, when a country’s resources are limited and its development needs aplenty.

The India Consensus project empowers policy makers in Indian states with information about how much more good they can achieve with every dollar or rupee.

A 4-page feature story in The TATA Trust's Horizons magazine looks at the project and its finding in depth:

The Andhra Pradesh impact research, for instance, shows that improving the teacher-pupil ratio in the state would return ₹5 worth of social and economic benefits on every rupee invested. On the other hand, computer-assisted learning — the highest priority solution that emerged — would yield a return of 74 for every rupee spent. 

In Rajasthan, the findings were similarly enlightening. Improving private sector tuberculosis care would yield benefits worth ₹179 for each rupee invested. In agriculture, introducing e-mandis (electronic agricultural markets) would deliver a return of ₹65 on each rupee spent, whereas farm loan waivers would return less than a rupee.

Cost-effective approaches to save the environment

Is climate change the rapidly impending apocalypse it is often portrayed as in the media? On Uncommon Knowledge, Bjorn Lomborg breaks down what economic impact climate change will have on the global GDP in the next one hundred years, and argues that green energy R&D and a moderate carbon tax would have a great long-term impact on reducing emissions.

He also discusses the need for a rational, evidence-based approach to policy prioritization in other sectors of government, including trade, infrastructure and health.

Climate hackers

For years scientists have been quietly working on a last ditch solution to slow global warming: geo-engineering, or artificially hacking the climate.

In a new documentary for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's flagship program Foreign Correspondent, Lomborg discusses the potentials of geoengineering and reasons why it is so difficult to replace cheap and reliable energy provided by fossil fuels with wind and solar energy:
“Most people are not content to only be able to charge their phones or have their TVs or indeed their operating theatres in hospitals running when the sun is shining.”

Is a "Green New Deal" going to help the climate?

The United States controversially discusses the "Green New Deal", a set of proposed economic stimulus programs that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. While grandiose, the action plan falls on the wrong side of both science and economic reality. Just the cost of the climate part of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal runs to $2.1 trillion a year, while curbing global warming by less than 0.3°F by the end of the century.

Lomborg discusses the shortcomings of the Green New Deal on the Ricochet Podcast (interview starts 15 minutes into the episode) and Chicago's Morning Answer.

Lomborg on social media:

Over the past 200 years, the share of people in poverty has fallen from 90% to 10%

Why renewables can't save the planet

Climate concerns fade quickly when voters are told power bills will increase

Africa won't do climate deal if rich countries don't pay $100bn per year

Making the world $11 trillion richer every year

Nobel Laureate: The UN’s 1.5°C is incredibly expensive

More global articles and interviews:

Family planning can boost India's per capita GDP 13% by 2031
Business Standard (India)

Digitisation should improve public services: analysts
The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

1800 bis 2050: Der rasante Rückgang der Kindersterblichkeit
Der Standard (Austria)

Una oportunidad para salir de la pobreza
El Comercio (Peru)

La Agenda Mundial para el Desarrollo no va por buen camino
Perfil (Argentina)

Raport z sensacyjnym twierdzeniem o ”załamaniu klimatu” jest chwytliwy, ale nieprawdziwy
Listy z naszego sadu (Poland)

Co nauka może powiedzieć pani Ocasio-Cortez o klimacie
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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