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Bjorn Lomborg

How to save 4 million lives every year


9 minute read

Bjorn Lomborg

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to do good. With his think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus, he has worked with hundreds of the world’s top economists and seven Nobel Laureates to find and promote the most effective solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, from disease and hunger to climate and education.

Best Things First – The top 12 solutions for the world

The Sustainable Development Goals are supposed to be delivered by 2030. World leaders have promised everything, like eradicating poverty, hunger and disease; stopping war and climate change, ending corruption, fixing education along with countless other things. But they are failing to deliver on their 169 promises at halftime.If we can’t do everything, let’s do the best things first — this is the message of Bjorn Lomborg’s brand new book.* Together with more than a hundred of the world’s top economists, he has worked for years to identify the best solutions to make the world a better place.

The book details how the 12 most cost-effective policies for the world can save 4.2 million lives and generate $1.1 trillion additional income for the world’s poorer half. Each dollar spent delivers an astounding 52 times the benefits.

It is strongly endorsed (”remarkable,” ”insightful,” ”incredible,” ”amazing,” ”spectacular,”  “thought-provoking,’ “Best Things First is the book to read”) by eminent voices in the global development conversation including Larry Summers, Bill Gates, the Chief Economist of the World Bank, a Nobel laureate and the Indian Prime Minister’s Chief Economic Advisor.

In a glowing review of the research project the book is based on, Canadian newspaper Financial Post writes:

Priorities, priorities, priorities. Results, results, results. Bjorn Lomborg (…) certainly understands the economic approach to problems. Choose. Don’t attempt everything. Put your resources where they will do the most good. (…) If calling his approach “economic” sours you on it, how about “evidence- not aspiration-based”?

You can also learn more about the “Doable Dozen” in a 3-hour podcast Prof. Jordan Peterson recorded with Dr. Lomborg, watched by close to half a million people already on YouTube alone.

*As an Amazon Associate, the Copenhagen Consensus Center earns from qualifying purchases.

Proven methods that will radically improve learning

One thing that taxpayers and politicians agree on practically everywhere is that more money should be spent on children’s education. But we need to be careful. Many popular educational investments deliver little or no learning, while we rarely hear about the most effective investments.

New research for Copenhagen Consensus highlights two cheap and efficient ways to increase learning. Tablets with educational software used just one hour a day over a year cost only $20 per student and result in learning that normally would take three years. Semi-structured teaching plans can make teachers teach more efficiently, doubling learning outcomes each year for just $10 per student.

We could dramatically improve education for almost half a billion primary school students in the world’s poorer half for less than $10 billion annually. This investment would generate long-term productivity increases worth $65 for each dollar spent.

Each week, Bjorn Lomborg is writing about the 12 most phenomenal solutions for global development in 35+ newspapers worldwide. You can read his article on education in publications including National Post(Canada), The Australian, The Nation (Kenya), Business Day (South Africa), Daily Graphic (Ghana), Addis Fortune(Ethiopia), New Times (Rwanda), Daily Mail (Zambia, print only), The Nation (Malawi, print only), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh), Bangkok Post (Thailand), DC Journal (USA), Tempi (Italy), Portfolio (Hungary), Finmag (Czech Republic), Milenio(Mexico), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Universal(Venezuela), Jordan Times, Al-Ahram (Egypt) and An-Nahar (Lebanon, in Arabic).

Skilled migration can address inequality

Smart migration policies can reduce inequality. Enabling more skilled migration to countries that need more skilled labor could achieve both higher productivity and less inequality.

Surprisingly, our new studyfinds that even the countries where migrants originate will see more benefits than costs.

Each dollar spent on increasing skilled migration by 10% will deliver a substantial $18 of social benefits globally.

Read Bjorn Lomborg’s column on this research in newspapers around the world, including Jakarta Post(Indonesia), The Star (Malaysia), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh), The Nation(Kenya), Business Day (South Africa), Addis Fortune(Ethiopia), Daily Mail (Zambia, print only), Daily Graphic(Ghana), The Nation (Malawi, print only), Milenio(Mexico), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Universal(Venezuela), La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador), Jordan Times, An-Nahar (Lebanon), Al-Ahram (Egypt), National Post (Canada), DC Journal (USA), Tempi (Italy), Portfolio(Hungary), Standard (Slovakia) and Finmag (Czech Republic).

How India can use its G20 leadership to prioritize the best solutions for the world

Bjorn Lomborg recently traveled to New Delhi to speak at India’s biggest news event, the Republic Summit, sharing the stage with many of the federal ministers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Discussing both climate policy and global development, he pointed out that India has made the fastest progress on the Sustainable Development Goals of any G20 nation, and argued that India should use its G20 leadership to prioritize the best solutions for the world.

As a voice for the Global South, India should insist on most efficient solutions for health, education, nutrition and other areas in which smart investments can create a huge impact to improve people’s lives.

While in New Delhi, Lomborg also appeared on one of the largest political talk shows of the country, Nation Wants To Know, to discuss smart solutions to climate change and how to turn the SDGs into a success story.

Bednets can save more than a million lives

We think of malaria as a problem faced only by humid, hot countries. But just over a century ago, the disease thrived as far north as Siberia and the Arctic Circle, and was endemic in 36 states of the U.S. Today, much of the malaria problem has stubbornly remained in Africa, where it kills more than half a million people every year.

Our new research proposes a 10 percent point scale-up and use of bednets in the 29 highest-burden countries in Africa alongside insecticide resistance management strategies, between now and the end of the UN’s 2030 promises. This investment will save 30,000 lives even in 2023. By the end of the decade, the number of malaria deaths will be halved, saving some 1.3 million lives in total. Every dollar spent on this campaign would yield societal benefits worth $48—a phenomenal return on investment.

Bjorn Lomborg writes about this study in his column for newspapers around the world, including The Nation(Kenya), Business Day (South Africa), Daily Graphic(Ghana), Addis Fortune (Ethiopia), Daily Mail (Zambia, print only), The Nation (Malawi, print only), National Post (Canada), Navbharat Times (India, in Hindi), Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh), Jakarta Post (Indonesia), Philippine Daily Inquirer, DC Journal (USA), Tempi(Italy), Portfolio (Hungary), Standard (Slovakia), Finmag(Czech Republic), Morgunbladid (Iceland), El Periodico(Guatemala), La Prensa (Nicaragua), El Universal(Venezuela), An-Nahar (Lebanon), Al-Ahram (Egypt) and Jordan Times.

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Bjorn Lomborg

Climate change hasn’t set the world on fire

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Thank you for your continued interest .

David Lessmann
Communications Manager
Copenhagen Consensus Center
[email protected]

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Bjorn Lomborg

Actions That Would Do More Good Than Wasting Trillions on Climate Change

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From Stossel TV

Bjorn Lomborg studies solutions for the world’s biggest problems. He says we should spend on the “best things first.”

I asked people on the street in New York how they’d spend money to help the world. Fixing climate change was the most common answer.

Lomborg agrees that climate change is a problem that may threaten our kids someday. But he also says, “if you live most other places on the planet, you’re worried about the fact that your kids might die from easily curable diseases tonight.”

Lomborg has a cheaper plan that would save millions of lives.

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After 40+ years of reporting, I now understand the importance of limited government and personal freedom.


Libertarian journalist John Stossel created Stossel TV to explain liberty and free markets to young people. Prior to Stossel TV he hosted a show on Fox Business and co-anchored ABC’s primetime newsmagazine show, 20/20.

Stossel’s economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits by a non-profit organization, “Stossel in the Classroom.” High school teachers in American public schools now use the videos to help educate their students on economics and economic freedom. They are seen by more than 12 million students every year.

Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Other honors include the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award


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