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Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

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.

27 Feb2017

Making the SDGs smarter

Published by The Daily Star

Over the next 15 years, the Sustainable Development Goals will influence more than USD 2.5 trillion of money in development aid and trillions more meant to help reduce poverty, hunger and disease, and improve education and the environment. Bangladesh, along with all other nations, now has to decide where to spend scarce resources to do the most good. And clearly not all of the many, many UN targets are equally good, smart or effective. Since its inception, the UN has had a lot of well-meaning targets, goals and declarations that have made very little impact. At the turn of this century,...

14 Feb2017

Learning from Bill Gates

Published by Project Syndicate

Everyone – from elected officials and bureaucrats to voters and taxpayers – can learn from the world’s largest charitable foundation about effective development spending. And these lessons are particularly relevant at a time when 56% of Europeans believe their governments should focus solely on domestic issues and let recipient countries deal with problems as best they can (opposition to aid is even higher in France, Poland, Italy, Hungary, and Greece). The United Kingdom’s largest-circulation Sunday newspaper recently launched a petition calling for an end to ring-...

2 Feb2017

A ‘Green Leap Forward’ in China? What a Load of Biomass

Published by Wall Street Journal

Excitement crackled through the environmental movement when China’s National Energy Administration announced last month that the country will spend at least $360 billion on green energy through 2020. Green elites are now toasting the communist country: While President Trump threatens to end costly climate policies, Chinese President Xi Jinping promises his nation will continue to fight climate change. It’s an interesting narrative, but the facts tell a different story. China’s announced investment works out to around $72 billion a year, much less than the $103 billion the...

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