Monday, July 10, 2006

Copenhagen Consensus Get Your Priorities Right

Read the July 8, 2006 Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal article about Bjorn Lomborg Get Your Priorities Right by Kimberley A. Strassel

If you were a powerful government official, what would you do if you had an extra $50 billion to spend? Unfortunately, accordingly to Danish environmentalist and political scientist Bjorn Lomborg, bureaucrats do not set priorities, so they would likely not get the maximum benefits for

From the article:
Ø “Two hundred years ago, the left was an "incredibly rational movement." It believed in ‘encyclopedias’, in hard facts, and in the idea that mastery of these basics would help ‘make a better society’."
Ø “Since then, the world's do-gooders have succumbed to ‘romanticism’;”
Ø “This once-obscure Dane has in recent years risen to the status of international celebrity as the chief advocate of getting leaders to realize the world has limited resources to fix its problems, and that it therefore needs to prioritize.”
Ø “Prioritization, cost-effectiveness, efficiency -- these are the ultimate in rational thinking. They are also nearly unheard-of concepts among the governments, international bodies and aid groups that oversee good works.”
Ø “Bjorn Lomborg ….book ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist’…carefully researched, it offered endless statistics -- from official sources such as the U.N. -- showing that from biodiversity to global warming, there simply were no apocalypses in the offing.”
Ø “Political figures don't like to make choices; they don't like to reward some groups and not others; they don't like to admit that they can't do it all. They are political. Not rational.”
Ø “the Copenhagen Consensus Center, held a new version of the exercise … If you had an extra $50 billion, how would you prioritize your spending? …..their final list looked very similar to that of the wise economists. At the top were better health care, cleaner water, more schools and improved nutrition. At the bottom was . . . global warming.”
Ø “Not that Mr. Lomborg doesn't think global warming is a problem -- he does. But he lays out the facts. "The proposed way of fixing this -- to drastically reduce carbon emissions now and to solve a 100-year problem in a 10-year time frame, is just a bad idea. You do fairly little good at a fairly high price.”


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