October 31, 2008
Global Warming: A Generational Mission?
Global warming is a big problem, with many consequences. The question is, where should this fall on our priority list?
Many people devote themselves to causes because they stumble upon them. Like a ballplayer who starts a diabetes fund because their kid gets it. The problem becomes real, because we see it. Global warming became real to us through news stories, celebrity spokesmen and movies. But, are there other problems, bigger than this, that we simply haven't stumbled upon yet?
The 2004 Copenhagen Consensus sought to develop a comprehensive list of global challenges and opportunities, prioritized based on the amount of good that can be accomplished per dollar spent.
Topping the list are HIV/AIDS control, providing micronutrients to the impoverished, making trade free, and malaria control. Climate control bottomed out the list, simply in terms of the amount of good done with the amount of resources required.
For example, $1 spent toward HIV/AIDS treatment does about $40 worth of good in terms of fewer dead, fewer sick, and less social disruption. For every $1 spent on the Kyoto Protocol, we will do about 30 cents worth of good.
Perhaps this a callous way to look at it? But, if our desire is to truly accomplish as much as we can with the resources we have, shouldn't we look to prioritized lists like these as our starting point for discussion, and prioritize our spending percentages to match these lists?
So, that's where I'm at. Help me out. What do you guys think?
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