It's good to see a common sense approach. Now for the hard part --to
implement the changes
From ENN http://www.enn.com/news/2004-05-25/s_24217.asp
Maverick environmentalist's conference to list solutions to global ills
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
By Jan M. http://www.enn.com/news/2004-05-25/s_24217.asp, Associated
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A maverick environmentalist brought together
eight prominent economic experts recently for a conference aimed at
finding cost-effective solutions to the world's most urgent woes,
including climate change, conflict, disease, and malnutrition.
The weeklong meeting was organized by Danish statistician Bjoern
Lomborg, who wrote the 2001 international best seller The Skeptical
Environmentalist, which was criticized by many mainstream
environmentalists for downplaying the impact of global warming.
Four of the experts participating are winners of the Nobel Prize in
economics: Robert W. Fogel, James J. Heckman, Douglass C. North, and
Vernon L. Smith, all of the United States.
"Several economists have been asked to write a list of priorities seen
from an economic perspective," Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh
Rasmussen said after he opened the Copenhagen Consensus conference.
The panel has already identified 10 problems, including education,
financial instability, migration, sanitation and water scarcity, trade
barriers, bad governance, and corruption.
When the conference ends Friday, they will have discussed how to solve
these woes and come up with 38 solutions that are ranked by their cost
benefit, Lomborg said, calling the panel his "dream team."
The list "should enable us to improve economic growth in the world,
fight poverty, and guarantee a better environment," said Fogh
Rasmussen. "When a circle of economists say that certain solutions are
better suited to help the population of the world, that is something
that will influence the thinking of the politicians at international
However, Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged that it won't be easy to change
the priorities, likening it to "a ship that will be difficult to turn
because there are many interests at stake globally."
Lomborg, director of the publicly funded Environmental Assessment
Institute, which monitors the spending of taxpayers' money on curbing
pollution, brushed off criticism from those who are skeptical about his
"We need the cold scrutiny of the economists in order to make a
warmhearted contribution to a better world," Lomborg said at the
opening of the 8-million-kroner (US$1.3 million) conference financed by
the institute, the Danish government, and private sponsors.
In his 2001 book, Lomborg, a former member of the environmental
activist group Greenpeace, contends that many claims of environmental
degradation — melting ice caps, deforestation, and acid rain — are
overblown. He argues that Earth overall is getting cleaner and
humankind healthier and richer.
One kilometer (0.6 miles) away, another environmental conference kicked
off Sunday, organized by grassroot movements and nongovernmental groups
to coincide with the Lomborg meeting.
The two-day Global Conscience event includes among its speakers Klaus
Toepfer, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, European
Union Environment Commissioner Margot Walstrom, and former Danish
Environment Minister Svend Auken. They billed it as "a complementary
"I don't think anybody fears" the other conference, Auken said. "We
need amateurs in the debate," he added smilingly, referring to
Toepfer said global woes "must not be diminished to an economic
On Sunday evening, Toepfer and Walstrom were attending a closed session
with Fogh Rasmussen and Lomborg.
Source: Associated Press