World Bank Must Renew Commitment To Eradicating Poverty

Project Syndicate: The World Bank Must Change Course
Bjørn Lomborg, visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“…The argument for approaching development through the prism of climate change is that rising temperatures exacerbate challenges such as malaria and lack of access to education. Though this is true, almost all problems impact all others. An increase in malaria makes children more susceptible to hunger; poor nutrition and a lack of sanitation worsen educational performance; missing school leads to greater poverty; and so on. The more important consideration is which policy helps the most. Should we help the poor by cutting carbon dioxide emissions now and reducing temperatures a bit in 100 years’ time, or instead focus immediately on malaria and education? … The world will reduce its reliance on fossil fuels only when genuine alternatives are cheaper and better. This will require innovative research and development to bring the price of green energy below that of fossil fuels. The World Bank could even play a role in supporting this. But [new World Bank President David] Malpass must first refocus the Bank on its core mission. … Malpass should ensure that it concentrates on its most effective initiatives — including freer trade, combating tuberculosis, early childhood nutrition, family planning, and computer-aided education. The new World Bank president has a chance to make his mark on a still-valuable organization. He should start by making a renewed commitment to eradicating poverty — including the energy poverty that wrecks so many lives” (4/11).