Director, Copenhagen Consensus Center
Dr. Bjørn Lomborg is a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School and regularly works with many of the world’s top economists, including 7 Nobel Laureates. His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the world’s "Top 20 Advocacy Campaigns". He received his Ph.D. in political science at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. 1994. He researches the smartest ways to do good, for which he was named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. His numerous books include "The Skeptical Environmentalist", "Cool It", "How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place" and "The Nobel Laureates' Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World 2016-2030". Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, and the BBC. His monthly column is published in 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally. He was featured in the movie “Cool it”, by Sundance Award winning director Ondi Timoner.
09:30-11:00 5 NOVEMBER
PLENARY SESSION I. “SUSTAINABILITY CHECK 2015”
The past year Copenhagen Consensus Center has released more than 1,800 pages of research from 60 teams of the world’s top economists, including several Nobel Laureates, to identify which Sustainable Development Targets the world should focus on in order to deliver most social, economic and environmental benefits. Sustainable doesn’t just apply to the environment, a sustainable economy lifts people out of poverty, and sustainable societies provides boys and girls equal opportunities to education and healthy lives. But to add a reality check; the recently adopted UN’s Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are too ambitious to be achieved all at once, or even during the next 15 years. We don’t have solutions for all targets, and among the solutions we know work, not all are equally good. So where do we start? The academics engaged in our project has provided evidence for 19 phenomenal targets, out of the 169 Sustainable Development Targets, helping four times more than trying to do everything. Contraception for women turns out to be an exceptionally good target. Likewise, nutrition for infants is a very effective solution, as is immunization, which can save one million kids dying each year. Equally smart targets focus on saving coral reefs and getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies. Yet, there is a staggering funding gap for doing good in the world – the UN's Global Goals might cost $3 trillion a year, and we have just a small fraction of those resources available. So we have to make hard choices. It turns out that policies like preventing child marriages – while well intentioned – often achieve little or no success at significant cost. Likewise spending resources to teach poor kids how to recycle does rather little good. And doubling renewable energy, while generating valuable electricity and environment benefits, do so at very high costs. We need to spend more on the things that work well at low cost first. This is calls for hard choices, and some causes need to stand back and wait. Prioritizing often makes us feel bad, because of all the things we leave out. But choosing the most efficient ways to ensure sustainability makes all the difference.