Thursday, July 10, 2008

Copenhagen Consensus - "Stop Kyoto!"

Second Copenhagen Consensus Expert Panel has published their analysis about where global aid and development projects could do most good for least amount of money (read here). And for second time in a row climate change is the worst case - a huge investment for rather limited and unpredictable gain.
This finding was based in part on research by a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the group that shared last year’s Nobel Peace Prize – who noted that spending $800 billion over 100 years solely on mitigating emissions would reduce inevitable temperature rises by just 0.2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Even taking into account some of the key environmental damage from warming, we would lose money on the investment, with returns of just $685 billion.
It makes little sense for the world to impoverish itself by embracing a poor solution to one problem when there are more pressing challenges that can be resolved at smaller expense.
So maybe the developing world is right to say that if rich countries want to establish expensive schemes for carbon trading or carbon tax, they may do it, but having millions of poor people to feed and nurse, the less well off regions must focus on more burning issues.
So what were the most yielding foreign aid projects? Micronutrient supplements for children (vitamin A and zinc); The Doha development agenda; Micronutrient fortification (iron and salt iodization); Expanded immunization coverage for children. Simple and rather cheap ideas that would make a huge difference to the living quality of hundreds of millions of people in the poor world.

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