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Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

31 May2018

Why cancelling the LPG subsidy is a poor option

Published by Hindustan Times

Air pollution kills more than 16 lakh people in India every year — more than smoking, malnutrition or even a lack of water and sanitation. And while the toxic soup of outdoor air pollution over Delhi and many other cities rightly gets a lot of attention, indoor air pollution from household cooking and heating with biomass fuels kills almost as many, or about eight lakh people, every year. A majority of rural households continue to use biomass (such as wood and cow dung) as their primary cooking fuel. Various measures have promoted cooking with LPG, a significantly cleaner fossil fuel. An LPG...

30 May2018

Is loan waiver a panacea for rural distress?

Published by The Financial Express

On the eve of the Karnataka election, waivers of farm loans were one of the major election promises. Now, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy wants to fulfill his pre-poll promise and even threatened to resign if he cannot fulfill his promise. As has been seen time and time again, “farmers first” provides political mileage. With more than 55% of Indians earning their livelihood from the agricultural sector, it comes as no surprise that political parties like to place their bets on the farmers’ cause. However, the real benefit to the farmers won’t come from loan waivers. We studied responses to...

25 May2018

Poverty: The direct approach isn’t always best

Published by Mint

Sometimes in life, it is clear that the direct approach isn’t the best one. This is true in many areas, even when it comes to policymaking. Take, as an example, the area of extreme poverty. It seems logical, at first, that the most effective response should be head-on: giving money and assets to protect people from income shocks. In recent times, microcredit schemes have been presented as a panacea, attracting a lot of money around the world. However, a series of trials have shown that microcredit doesn’t do much good—often not even increasing average incomes, and burying the poor in debt.

25 May2018

Ease of doing business: Land record reforms ahoy!

Published by The Economic Times

Ensuring clear property titles can go a long way in making the land market more transparent and efficient. Completion of survey and resurvey activities, and digitisation of cadastral maps will cost about Rs 213 crore. However, this will have multiple benefits. Evidence shows that strengthening property rights reduces the risk of expropriation and corruption. It also improves the mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes and contract enforcement.

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...

13 May2018

More than one Mother’s Day: Time to further reduce maternal mortality rate

Published by The Economic Times

Life expectancy in India has increased almost four years in the last decade. Every 24 hours, India added more than nine hours to the life of a newborn — thereby ‘allowing’ a baby born today four more years of life. To a large extent, this progress is due to substantial reductions in infant and maternal mortality, dropping a quarter and a third over the last decade. Yet, India can do better. It ranks 145th out of 193 nations on infant mortality, and 129 of 184 nations on maternal mortality, according to the World Bank. New research by US India Policy Institute’s Abusaleh Shariff and People...

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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