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Who Decides The Priorities When Saving The World Print E-mail
Anja Merret   
Thursday, 08 November 2007
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What most people shrugged off as rubbish twenty years ago, is now perceived to be the gospel truth. And now there are such vitriolic evangelists in favour that one has to be superbly courageous to even voice an opinion against it. This truth is the global warming issue. There, I can already see the hackles rising. What now, you ask yourself.
The world has huge problems, in addition to global warming, and that available aid funding would not be sufficient to address all these problems.
Bearing this in mind then, one has to give the Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg an especially large medal for bravery for speaking out on the subject. This does not mean that Mr Lomborg is opposed to the idea that there is such a thing as global warming, or questioning that it is busy destroying our planet earth. Not at all. What he is saying rather, is that the world has huge problems, in addition to global warming, and that available aid funding would not be sufficient to address all these problems.

Amongst the list of the top most pressing problems the world faces are poverty, starvation, malnutrition, lack of water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, malaria, lack of free trade and migration of people just to mention some of them. He was not the only one who compiled this list. In 2004 Bjorn Lomborg convened a Copenhagen Consensus at which the participants tried to establish a strategy on how to tackle these challenges with a view to utilising the limited available funds as effectively as possible.

During these discussions a plan of action was recommended. Previously no organisation, including the United Nations, had established any kind of plan to view and tackle the overall problems facing the world. This Copenhagen Consensus has tried to do this involving many experts in the various areas such as health for instance plus adding in a sprinkling of economists to assist with predictions on costs and possible outcomes.
One priority for the world should be to spend available funding on the HIV/AIDS pandemic both for prevention and for health care for infected people.
The recommendations of these experts was that the number one priority for the world should be to spend available funding on the HIV/AIDS pandemic both for prevention and for health care for infected people. The conclusion they drew was that the available funding would provide the most' bang for the buck' if spending was focused on this issue. With other words it would be the most effective way of spending the world's aid funding.
Global warming only featured as number 17 on the list
The second world problem the experts decided should receive funding was malnutrition. Number three in terms of importance, they felt, was the principle of offering Fair Trade to countries outside the North Americas and Europe, as this would enable areas such as the sub-Sahara to earn a more sustainable living through trade. And the fourth issue that should be addressed was malaria.

Global warming only featured as number 17 on the list. Its position on the chart was determined by how expensive it would be to address serious global warming issues, in relation to how much more effective the money could be spent addressing malaria or combating the spread of HIV/AIDS for instance.

During this meeting of bright minds, it was also decided that many of the world interventions such as fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS would automatically enable the human race to be more aware of environmental issues in that they would not need to focus all of their attention on their and their family's survival. Some of their effort could be spent on ensuring that some global warming issues became important to them.
Who after all should determine what the money needs to be spent on
The most important question one needs to ask then is whether one should allow a group of economists to determine what is important for the world. Who after all should determine what the money needs to be spent on when every single major problem, whether malnutrition, HIV/AIDS or global warming for instance needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Remember the popular debating topic? When a plane is falling out of the sky, who out of all the passengers gets to use the one and only parachute? Or the cruiser that is sinking, who gets to climb into the lifeboat. Check the video at TED of Bjorn Lomborg discussing the topic of global problems and make up your own mind as to which one you feel is the most important.

Anja Merret lives in Brighton, UK, having moved across from South Africa just over a year ago.

She now looks after the business interests of her daughter who is a Flash Developer and Accessibility expert. She started a blog at the beginning of the year under the heading of chatting to my generation. Although she is chatting to the baby boomer generation, she sometimes feels that all generations have the same issues to face, they just don't have hearing aids or walking sticks!

One of her pet peeves is the war in Iraq and in fact anything that causes innocent people to get hurt. But she also loves tech stuff, although only as an amateur. She considers herself a Silver Surfer Gadget Geek. She is even considering queuing for an iPhone in the UK later on in the year. But her daughter has offered, so she will only be taking hot food to the Brighton Geeks waiting in line.

Her musings may be found on http://www.anjamerret.com Her observations on personal power and self-development may be found on http://www.pinkblocks.com

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