Thursday, October 09, 2008

Would you accept 4 cents on the dollar?

If so, you might think it makes sense to fight global warming instead of adapting to it. The cost-benefit ratio of policies to fight global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions is, indeed, roughly 25 to 1. Bjørn Lomborg emphasized this in a September 30 article in Times Online (the online version of the Times of London).

Lomborg and other economists estimate that every dollar spent to reduce global warming by adopting renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels would yield about 4 cents of benefits. "To make a simple comparison," Lomborg writes, "the UN estimates that for about £40 billion ($70 billion) annually, we could solve all major basic problems in the world - we could give clean drinking water, sanitation, basic education and healthcare to every person in the world. But instead we are spending a fortune achieving almost nothing."

For additional information on prioritizing spending to achieve the greatest good, see the Copenhagen Consensus Center’s 2008 report (


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