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Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

19 May2017

Changing the Narrative About Haiti

Published by Project Syndicate

Prioritizing spending alternatives is difficult in every country. But it is especially challenging in Haiti, where, following years of fractious politics, a newly elected government is striving to expand the economy and improve wellbeing while confronting the lingering consequences of the massive 2010 earthquake. Every government has limited funds, but Haiti has an annual budget of just $2 billion, with foreign donors allocating another $1 billion. To put that number into context, the annual budgets of two countries with similar-size populations, the Czech Republic and Sweden, are $74 billion...

24 Apr2017

Making dollars count in Haiti

Published by Boston Globe

In every country, every day, a lot of money is spent by various governments and agencies with the intention of making life better for citizens. In Boston, priorities are set by City Hall, the state, and the federal government — along with a host of privately controlled philanthropic organizations. Just like everywhere, these decisions are driven by both political realities and personal preferences.

19 Apr2017

The Low Cost of Ending Poverty

Published by Project Syndicate

Poverty is humanity’s cruelest affliction. If you are extremely poor, you can’t afford to avoid even the easily curable diseases that cause every sixth human death. Your lungs are likely to be filled with indoor air pollution, because, like 2.7 billion others, you cook and keep warm with fuels like dung and wood – with the same effect as smoking two packs of cigarettes every day. An inadequate diet makes your children grow up physically stunted and impairs their cognitive development, costing 4-8 IQ points on average. Such deprivation leads to profound stress and despair, making it difficult...

19 Apr2017

Admitting what we don't know how to fix

Published by China Daily

What are the biggest problems facing humanity? A lack of education and opportunity, poverty, inequality, violence and war, and environmental degradation. These are the areas where trillions of dollars are spent in well-meaning efforts by governments and donors each year. But agreeing that a problem exists is not the same as knowing how to fix it. When it comes to development spending and philanthropy, it is too easy for money to be wasted - and opportunities missed - because this important distinction is ignored.

5 Apr2017

The flawed thinking at the heart of the renewable energy swindle

Published by The Spectator

A new report revealing that using wood pellets to generate electricity can actually speed up global warming should be the final nail in the coffin for the flawed policy of biomass subsidies. Policies designed to incentivise green energy use are not only having a dubious effect on climate change, they are destroying biodiversity and even killing many thousands of people.

29 Mar2017

Trump cuts show Paris treaty is a paper tiger: Bjorn Lomborg

Published by USA Today

President Trump’s executive order eliminating President Obama’s standards for power plants guts the main U.S. measure to reduce harmful carbon emissions, and in doing so reveals the emptiness of the Paris climate treaty. The science is clear-cut: Climate change is real and mostly caused by humanity. Obama committed America to major carbon cuts. According to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. promised to cut more energy-related CO2 emissions than any country in the world from 2013 to 2025, under the Paris climate treaty.

25 Mar2017

Earth Hour is bad for the poor

Published by USA Today

At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, in the U.S. and around the world, around one billion people are expected to switch off their lights for one hour as a political statement against climate change and fossil fuels, and in support of carbon cuts and renewable energy. This feel-good exercise not only does absolutely nothing for the planet, but it ignores the reality that what the world’s poorest need right now is more light and energy, much of which will be powered by fossil fuels, not darkness.

23 Mar2017

Using Data to Find the Middle Ground

Published by Project Syndicate

A sad reality of this hyper-partisan, politicized era is that many policy proposals are immediately identified as either “left-wing” or “right-wing” and lauded and derided by partisans as if by rote, with little room for discussion about soundness or impact. But there is an alternative that could help us get past this political divisiveness: using data to help us focus on the policies and investments that would have the biggest positive impact on society. This may sound like an idealistic thought experiment dreamed up in an ivory tower, but data-driven policies are having a real-world impact...

3 Mar2017

If our foreign aid is to work, we have to stop throwing money around blindly

Published by The Telegraph

A new report by spending watchdog the National Audit Office has generated concern about UK foreign aid by revealing that allegations of fraud have risen more than four-fold in five years. Aid always has an element of risk, which agencies such as the Department for International Development (DfID) strive to keep to acceptable levels. But there is a broader problem globally with the way that development funds are allocated. Priorities are set based on a myriad of inputs, including a nation’s diplomatic, economic and even military objectives, and political reality. Things that look bad in...

2 Mar2017

An Alternative Plan for Development in Haiti

Published by Huffington Post

In every country, considerable resources are spent by the government and businesses, various national agencies, and often local and foreign NGOs, to improve the standard of living. Haiti is no exception. The national budget is 203 billion Gourdes (USD$3 billion) annually, and another 67 billion Gourdes (USD$1 billion) is received in aid each year. On top of this, there are earthquake recovery resources and the money that is spent by private industry, donors, or sent home by the Haitian Diaspora.

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