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July 08, 2006



Interesting. I would have thought a dollar preventing malaria (DDT mosquito nets) would be more effective than a dollar fighting AIDS (expensive drug cocktails).

Rick Ballard

The Lomberg Op-Ed at the Observer drew a nice flock of loons in comments but there is a very interesting post at July 5, 2006 05:39 AM by Skeptical that is worth a read.

In general Lomberg's method seems a reasonable approach. I really question the base information that suggests that the preponderance of money would be efficiently spent on AIDS/HIV. Oddly enough, that problem seems to be self rectifying in Africa. It's almost as if the remaining Africans have noticed that there are certain behaviors that are, if not causal, at least damaging. Amazing.

Second, the mosquito net idea is about 1/4 as effective as spraying the walls of a house with DDT. Again, it's killing mostly poor black and brown people so propitiating Gaia by not mentioning DDT is completely understandable.

I've thumbed through the Copenhagen Conference website but I don't see the information that was provided to the economists. If it's that important, I'm not sure why the underlying assumptions are not highlighted. Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough.

Rick Ballard

Aha, the 'challenge' papers are here (under the '04 tab). Now all that's required is a few hours to read them.


Of course it came out that way, but Tthe exercise was poorly conceived. Instead of a cost/benefit analysis, an analysis of cost to social control should have been done. In other words, for the least amount of cost, how do you gain the most control over peoples' lives through increased taxation, regulation, treaties, etc. Then global warming would have been right on top.

John Anderson

pdq332, I wish I thought you were wrong but, alas, I live here.
The first sentence, "Bjorn Lomborg is a political scientist by training" almost got me to stop reading: isn't Mr. Lomborg a statistician, somewhat more rigorous?
"... at that point, the real Al Gore would be slightly sidelined, since he's arguing for the most expensive cure that would do the least good."
Slightly? Well, only if you (like Congress' response to his Kyoto love) think he is a sideshow already. A smart man, but that does not mean he is not also a clown: Emmet Kelly was also a smart man.
I originally used the option the Observer provides for test-only, but decided to follow Rick Ballard's tip and read a few of the comments. Yep, lots of lunatic junk. One intrigued me by pointing to the Wiki on the Copenhagen Consensus, saying it destroyed Lomberg. I hope a lot of people did, because the commenter apparently did not get past the first sentence which indirectly objected to "welfare economics", looking at the benefits to people rather than nations. Scroll down to "Climate Change" and we find the objection there is that the premise used by the panel exaggerated the costs of Global Warming! Then come the "Criticism" section - $50 billion was far too low a figure (but why does it make a difference if the sum was $0.20 or $900 billion?), and the panel was all economists (to which Lomberg retorted basically "That was the point!") from the committed [alas, not to mental hospitals] Kyoto believers.

John Anderson

"test-only"? Oops: "text-only"


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