Sunday, June 01, 2008

Susan Hill again:

Those who take THE TIMES - and it is all online too - will also have read the very sane coverage for Bjorn Lomborg’s latest Copenhagen Consensus. Here is the gist. We need to concentrate our time, energy and resources on feeding the poor of the world not on frivolous pursuit of some GW dream. Our earnest shovelling of every bit of our energy and resources into cutting carbon emissions shows in a different light after you read the following. The attitude of ‘well, even if it does no good, it can‘t do any harm can it ?’ simply will not wash. It can do harm. It diverts our resources and energies from feeding the world. It even, at worst, helps contribute to global poverty. (Use of land for bio-fuels not food.) It certainly helps directly to contribute to the high price of food, let alone of anything else.

What We Really Should Be Doing For People

The top ten most effective economic actions were agreed to be as follows:

1.1.Vitamin A and zinc micronutrient supplements for children. Cost: 60 pence per child. “For just $60m a year, it would be possible to provide capsules of both micronutrients to 80 per cent of undernourished children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with benefits worth more than $1bn. Each dollar does more than $17 worth of good”;

2.2.The Doha development agenda. “The economists’ second-place priority was removing subsidies and tariffs that exclude developing countries from western markets, as is currently being proposed in the World Trade Organisation’s Doha round of negotiations”;

3.3.Iron and salt lodisation (cost: 5 pence per person);

4.4.Expanded immunisation coverage for children;

5.5.Biofortification of plants. Estimated that every £5 spent will yield £60 of benefit;

6.6.De-worming of children;

7.7.Lowering the cost of education;

8.8.Improving the education of girls and women;

9.9.Community-based work on nutrition;

10. 10. Support for the reproductive role of women.

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