Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

6 Jun2016

Golden rice: The malnutrition fighting crop

Published by The Daily Star

Over the past two decades, Bangladesh has remarkably managed to feed an increasing population better - the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that in 1993, the average Bangladeshi had access to just 2,000 calories per day, whereas today that number has increased to 2,450 calories per day. To a large extent, this success comes on the back of ever-higher rice production - rice makes up 70 percent of the average daily calorie intake. Unfortunately, rice may make an empty stomach feel full, but it lacks many vital micronutrients. The latest survey shows three-quarters of all...

1 Jun2016

Liberal trade policies to boost the best

Published by The Daily Star

Like many places around the globe, Bangladesh has made great strides in liberalising trade over recent decades. 25 ago, the protection rate, which takes into account tariffs and other trade barriers, was 74 percent. Today, that rate is just 27 percent. Slashing high tariffs and opening up the economy has produced great benefits for the country, because consumers can buy products where they can be produced the cheapest. Largely thanks to such reforms and related export incentives, Bangladesh's export sector has boomed, particularly in apparel. But costs from some aspects of trade policies...

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...

21 Apr2016

Climate change is real, but Paris treaty won't fix it

Published by USA Today

World leaders will disembark from carbon-spewing jets in New York on Earth Day this Friday to sign the Paris climate treaty, the world’s costliest-ever accord. No doubt, American presidential candidates will use the spectacle to make hay. In line with President Obama, Hillary Clinton believes the treaty is a “historic step forward” against “one of the greatest challenges” of our age, while Bernie Sanders argues it “goes nowhere near far enough.” John Kasich has “serious concerns” the agreement will hurt the American economy; Donald Trump...

20 Apr2016

The Promise of E-Procurement

Published by Project Syndicate

Corruption is a huge problem across the globe. In Africa, it is estimated that one-quarter of the continent’s GDP is “lost to corruption each year.” In Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank believes that corruption may cost 10% of GDP every year. In the only comprehensive overview based on surveys of businesses and households, the World Bank puts the total direct cost of corruption at $1 trillion annually. The international community has time and again reaffirmed its intent to stamp out corruption, most recently last year, when the United Nations adopted the...

20 Apr2016

Why the Paris climate treaty is just a load of very expensive hot air

Published by South China Morning Post

This Friday, world leaders and their entourages will disembark from carbon-spewing jets in New York to sign the world’s costliest climate change treaty. Lit by the flashbulbs of the world’s press and warmed by their sense of accomplishment, these politicians will pat each other on the back and declare a job well done. The reality is that the so-called “Paris Treaty” is a hugely expensive way of doing very little. The Paris Treaty talks a big game. It doesn’t just commit to capping the global temperature increase at 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels...

20 Apr2016

Healthcare solutions that are smart

Published by The Daily Star

Every hour, tuberculosis kills nine Bangladeshis. Another seven die each hour from arsenic in drinking water. Simple and cheap solutions are available to avoid almost all these deaths. Bangladesh has made incredible progress over recent years on many health indicators. But the country continues to face great challenges, like tuberculosis (TB) and arsenic, two of the biggest killers. Many other grave health issues remain too, including factors that threaten mothers and their children.

18 Apr2016

The smartest ways to fight non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh

Published by The Daily Star

Infectious diseases get all the attention. And for a long time, these diseases were what most people around the world died from. But as we are increasingly beating back infections and live to grow older, we start dying from what doctors call non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like heart disease, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. Bangladesh has seen the same pattern. A study of the rural area Matlab showed that from 1986 to 2006, the share of deaths caused by communicable diseases fell from 52 percent to 11 percent. During the same period, deaths from NCDs increased from 8 percent to 68 percent...

6 Apr2016

Linking economies through transportation infrastructure

Published by The Daily Star

More than six kilometres of water separate the southwest region from the rest of Bangladesh. The longstanding Padma Bridge project holds potential to span that gap both physically and economically, linking the region with Dhaka, Chittagong, and the rest of the country to the east. After significant delays and cost overruns, however, the relevant question today is whether the project still makes overall social and economic sense. There is limited funding for infrastructure, and there are alternative transportation projects and many other proposals that could also produce benefits for...

4 Apr2016

How education and stimulation in early years can help children thrive for a lifetime

Published by The Daily Star

Today, 99 percent of Bangladesh's girls and 97 percent of boys are enrolled in primary school. The great progress in primary education over recent years is the reason that the country has met the two Millennium Development Goals related to primary schooling: universal enrollment and gender equality. The rest of the education story, however, is not so good. Concerns remain over poor education quality, and enrollment rates beyond the primary level remain low. And one important concern for education is something that appears rather separate: stunting, or the condition of being shorter than...