Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

30 May2016

RMG: Smartest Strategies

Published by The Daily Star

Bangladesh's manufacturing sector has grown steadily as the country has industrialised. Manufacturing now accounts for 30 percent of GDP, nearly double the share of agriculture. That industry is largely driven by the readymade garment (RMG) sector, which represents a whopping 85 percent of all export earnings and employs 4 million people, 80 percent of whom are women. While global demand for RMG products is expected to surge in coming years, Bangladesh's sector must continue to progress and evolve in order to take advantage of it. Some of the RMG industry's most pressing current...

25 May2016

Bringing electricity to more Bangladeshis

Published by The Daily Star

Tens of millions of Bangladeshis have gained access to electricity over recent years. In 2000, just 32 percent of the population had electricity access; today that figure stands at nearly 60 percent, according to the World Bank. Yet the national energy sector still lags behind many of its neighbours, and the power Bangladesh manages to generate is unreliable - blackouts and shortages cost an estimated 0.5 percent of GDP annually. What are the smartest ways to bring reliable energy to more Bangladeshis?

18 May2016

Best strategies to empower girls

Published by The Daily Star

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls worldwide will become child brides - defined by the United Nations as marriage before age 18. The effects from such early marriage can be devastating and long-lasting for women: lower education levels and lower lifetime earnings, higher rates of domestic violence, greater risk of dying from pregnancy complications, and increased mortality rates for the children of these young brides. Even though Bangladesh's legal age of marriage is 18, the country has the second-highest rate of child marriage globally: the Bangladesh Demographic and...

17 May2016

The Evidence on Education Reforms

Published by Project Syndicate

It is almost universally agreed that more education is good for society. But it turns out that some popular educational policies achieve very little, while others that are often overlooked can make a huge difference. Reducing class sizes would seem to be an obvious improvement; but by itself, smaller class size has not been shown to boost educational performance. Likewise, extending the school day seems an easy way to ensure that pupils learn more; but research finds that time spent in school matters considerably less than what happens there.

16 May2016

Healthier mothers for a brighter future

Published by The Daily Star

Bangladesh has had incredible success fighting hunger. In 1990, almost two-thirds of children younger than five were underweight, but less than one-third are today. Recently, Bangladesh even received a “special recognition” award from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation for outstanding progress in fighting hunger and poverty. National rates of malnutrition, however, are still very high, and stunting is a particular concern. When children are chronically undernourished or have to fight many infections early in life, they can become shorter than normal for their age...

9 May2016

The best solutions to the most serious health issues that remain in Bangladesh

Published by Financial Express

Over recent decades Bangladesh has seen amazing improvement across many health indicators. Maternal mortality has decreased 75 per cent, infant mortality has halved, and life expectancy has surpassed that of both India and Pakistan. The progress has been so impressive that in 2013 The Lancet, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals in the world, devoted a six-part series to Bangladesh, calling it "a remarkable success story for health."...

9 May2016

An ambitious attempt to work out the best use for scarce resources

Published by Financial Express

Every government minister, senior civil servant or charity official is familiar with the pitch. Spend money on my project, says the supplicant: it will bring such large benefits that you will actually save money in the long run. At this, the official sighs, knowing that another supplicant with an equally bold pitch is waiting outside. How can he pick among competing pleas for bridges, IT systems, deworming medicines and a thousand other things? This week, at a conference in Dhaka, the Copenhagen Consensus will try to answer that question, reports the Economist.

9 May2016

The smartest ways to deal with traffic congestion in Dhaka

Published by The Daily Star

Dhaka is one of the fastest-growing megacities in the world. A population of just 3 million in 1971 has ballooned to 18 million today. This unprecedented urban growth has resulted in a city more densely inhabited than Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai, or any other major city (Robert Gallagher). The capital's growth partially represents the progress of the Bangladesh economy, which has grown atover 6 percent annually (7th Five Year Plan). The city's transport system, however, hasn't kept up, and Dhaka now has some of the worst traffic congestions in the world. What are the best ways to deal...

5 May2016

No one ever says it, but in many ways global warming will be a good thing

Published by The Telegraph

ast week, a study in the prestigious journal Nature revealed just how much CO₂ increases have greened the Earth over the past three decades. Because CO₂ acts as a fertilizer, as much as half of all vegetated land is persistently greener today. This ought to be a cause for great joy. Instead, the BBC focused on warning that the paper shouldn’t make us stop worrying about global warming, with threats like melting glaciers and more severe tropical storms. Many other major news outlets did not even report on the study...

1 May2016

Education sector: The smartest investments

Published by Financial Express

It seems like a great idea: to improve education in Bangladesh, we should equip classrooms with computers, moving the next generation to the cutting edge of knowledge. But while such an idea is alluring and has gotten wide traction around the world in the last decade, we need to look at the evidence. And it is surprising. A recent OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) study finds that over the past 10 years, there has been virtually no "appreciable improvement" in student achievement in developed countries that have invested heavily in computers and other...