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Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

1 Aug2018

Improving state finances by reducing power losses

Published by Mint

Inadequate and poor-quality power supply means frequent interruptions, poor voltage levels, and dissatisfied consumers across much of the country. Adding up all the losses in the system—including the losses due to energy dissipated in conductors, transformers and other equipment, along with pilferage by those who bypass meters, and losses from failure to recover the amount billed to consumers—India’s total energy losses came to 24% in 2015-16, significantly more than international norms. This, however, is an improvement on 2003-04 when the losses were 38%. Progress was made because of...

17 Jul2018

Early childhood is when education makes the biggest difference, calling for quality preschool programmes

Published by Times of India

Early childhood programmes have long been shown to create improvements that last a lifetime. Whether by instilling good habits or by encouraging a passion for learning, early exposure to learning cuts drop-out rates in later schooling, and generates measurable improvements to the productivity and income of adults. The Integrated Child Development Scheme, initiated in 1975 on a pilot basis, has now grown to include 1.3 million Anganwadi centres across the country – one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the world for children under the age of six. But the big challenge for India is to...

19 Jun2018

Which Anti-Poverty Policies Work?

Published by Project Syndicate

Some policies seem so altruistic that it is almost impossible to imagine any objection to them. For example, lending small amounts of money or writing off debts to help the extreme poor are intended to help the most vulnerable, and both approaches seem entirely sensible. However, scrutiny reveals these well-intentioned policies to be misguided. Around a decade ago, NGOs, international organizations, and philanthropists trumpeted microcredit as a silver bullet that would end extreme poverty. The United Nations designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit, and when the Nobel Peace...

16 Jun2018

The cost of easing access to electricity

Published by The Financial Express

Access to electricity is critical for a modern economy, and a key driver of social and economic development. Lighting, health, education, productivity, labour participation, enterprise development and income generation, all improve when households are provided with access. In India, rural areas had electrification rates of 74% compared to 97% in urban areas in 2016. The Union Government of India has launched several programmes to close gaps in electricity access, such as the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, and most recently, the Saubhagya...

16 Jun2018

Burgeoning Indian cities need infrastructure development to keep pace with growth

Published by The Economic Times

Cities are, in many ways, the future of India. The number of metropolitan cities with a population higher than one million jumped from 35 in 2001 to 50 in 2011, and is expected to reach 87 by 2031. Today, 40 crore people call an Indian metropolis home. That will double by 2050. This swift growth places huge pressure on infrastructure. A March 2011 report by a high-powered expert committee chaired by Isher Judge Ahluwalia (goo.gl/r5ZLM3) found that the duration of water supply in Indian.

21 May2018

Do Children Cause Global Warming?

Published by Project Syndicate

Across all cultures, raising a child is considered one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Yet a chorus of campaigners, scientists, and journalists suggest that everyone should think twice before procreating. The United States’ public radio broadcaster NPR asks, “Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change?” The Nation magazine wants to know, “How Do You Decide to Have a Baby When Climate Change Is Remaking Life on Earth?” The Guardian counsels readers: “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.” And the New York Times warns that having a child is the worst...

18 May2018

Time for Indian states to pick best opportunities to compete globally

Published by The Economic Times

Free trade provides the greatest opportunity to improve human welfare. India is transforming, thanks to its strong performance selling products and services around the globe. But what interventions, at a State level, can do the most to ensure Indian exports are globally competitive? Research by Amitendu Palit, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, provides answers. In Andhra Pradesh, Palit looks at approaches that would align with the ongoing coastal economic development strategy, Sagarmala, and with the State’s strategy, which seeks to fully utilise the...

14 May2018

How to improve agricultural productivity

Published by Mint

Global attention has been devoted to water scarcity and its effect on Indian farmers. However, new analysis from Indian researchers suggests that far more good could come if irrigation were combined with seed improvement. Tata Trusts and Copenhagen Consensus have commissioned new research by noted experts from India and around the world, looking at measures that would help Indian states respond to major challenges and improve their competitiveness, economic performance, and the well-being and prosperity of citizens. The new research focuses on establishing how much different policies would...

14 May2018

Diabetes and heart disease should be top health priorities

Published by Hindustan Times

Chronic diseases claim more Indian lives than infectious diseases, and take a huge toll: Between 2012 and 2030, non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions are expected to cost India $4.58 trillion. The government supports states to respond, but much more needs to be done. New research for India Consensus, a collaboration between Tata Trusts and Copenhagen Consensus, reveals some strategies should be prioritised against specific diseases. The analysis by Professor Shreelata Rao Seshadri of Azim Premji University with Vijayalakshmi Hebbare fills evidence gaps by identifying the...

23 Apr2018

The Sky Is Not Falling

Published by Project Syndicate

Humans are partial to bad news. Media outlets reflect and shape this preference, feeding us woe and panic. Long, slow, positive trends don’t make it to the front page or to water-cooler conversations. So we develop peculiar misperceptions, especially the idea that a preponderance of things are going wrong. When I published The Skeptical Environmentalist in 2001, I pointed out that the world was getting better in many respects. Back then, this was viewed as heresy, as it punctured several common and cherished misperceptions, such as the idea that natural resources were running out, that an...

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