Copenhagen Consensus 2008

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The Copenhagen Consensus is a project conceived and run by Bjørn Lomborg that analyzes a host of world issues. Now called the “Copenhagen Consensus Center,” the project runs under Lomborg’s directorship at the Copenhagen Business School. The Center researches solutions to a large range of problems by consulting experts on topics as varied as public health, education, trade, pollution, and conflict. The Copenhagen Consensus has found that dealing with HIV/AIDS, hunger, free trade, and malaria are some of the world’s top priorities, rather than combating global warming. The Copenhagen Consensus argues that development projects are the projects through which the most change can be affected for the money spent. Although the Copenhagen Consensus does not deny that global warming is occurring, it operates on the presumption that it will not cause drastic or catastrophic changes in the world such that it should be an immediate concern. Lomborg notes that, “According to UN estimates, for $75 billion a year – half the cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol– we could provide clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care, and education to every single human being on Earth.”[1]

In regards to projects to limit carbon emissions, “the panel called these ventures -- including Kyoto – ‘bad projects,’ because they cost more than the good they do.”[2] Kyoto is deemed an especially unsatisfactory project, and Lomborg predicts it will only have saved the world six years worth of carbon emissions one hundred years after its implementation, even though it will cost economic growth and development. Furthermore, Lomborg sees Kyoto as a project that mainly benefits wealthy countries.

The following is a list of priorities of the Copenhagen Consensus: 

  1. Micronutrient supplements for children (vitamin A and zinc) (challenge: Malnutrition)
  2. The Doha development agenda (challenge: Trade)
  3. Micronutrient fortification (iron and salt iodization) (challenge: Malnutrition)
  4. Expanded immunization coverage for children (challenge: Diseases)
  5. Biofortification (challenge: Malnutrition)
  6. Deworming and other nutrition programs at school (challenge: Malnutrition & Education)
  7. Lowering the price of schooling (challenge: Education)
  8. Increase and improve girls’ schooling (challenge: Women)
  9. Community‐based nutrition promotion (challenge: Malnutrition)
  10. Provide support for women’s reproductive role (challenge: Women)
  11. Heart attack acute management (challenge: Diseases)
  12. Malaria prevention and treatment (challenge: Diseases)
  13. Tuberculosis case finding and treatment (challenge: Diseases)
  14. R&D in low‐carbon energy technologies (challenge: Global Warming)
  15. Bio‐sand filters for household water treatment (challenge: Water)
  16. Rural water supply (challenge: Water)
  17. Conditional cash transfers (challenge: Education)
  18. Peace‐keeping in post‐conflict situations (challenge: Conflicts)
  19. HIV combination prevention (challenge: Diseases)
  20. Total sanitation campaign (challenges: Water)
  21. Improving surgical capacity at district hospital level (challenge: Diseases)
  22. Microfinance (challenge: Women)
  23. Improved stove intervention (challenge: Air Pollution)
  24. Large, multipurpose dam in Africa (challenge: Water)
  25. Inspection and maintenance of diesel vehicles (challenge: Air Pollution)
  26. Low sulfur diesel for urban road vehicles (challenge: Air Pollution)
  27. Diesel vehicle particulate control technology (challenge: Air Pollution)
  28. Tobacco tax (challenge: Diseases)
  29. R&D and mitigation (challenge: Global Warming)
  30. Mitigation only (challenge: Global Warming)

Source: 11/11/2010

  1. Lomborg, Bjørn. “Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore.” Project Syndicate. 2006. Available via:
  2. Lomborg, Bjørn. “Kyoto Protocol Misplaced Priorities.” The Jakarta Post. 15 February 2005. Available via: