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Misplaced obsession with climate change

By Bjorn Lomborg | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-23 08:02

Climate is back on the global agenda with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call to world leaders to attend a climate summit on Sept 23 "to make climate change a top priority for all leaders". While it is important to find smart solutions to the real problem of global warming, claiming that on "top of the priority list is climate change" is misplaced. Perhaps this is why Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have declined the invitation.

Moreover, the UN already knows the world doesn't place global warming first. According to The World We Want, more than 4 million people from countries across the world said their top priorities are better education and healthcare, less corruption, more jobs and affordable food. In the very last place, as priority number 17, comes global warming. Is this surprising? If you're Mamata Begum from Bangladesh who struggles to feed her children, nutrition is your top priority: "When my kids haven't got enough to eat, I don't think global warming will be an issue I will be thinking about."

This is also true for China, which ranks global warming 11th on its priority list because they believe that there are more important things to fix. Even Europeans, with the world's strongest climate policies, rank global warming 10th on their priority list.

Misplaced obsession with climate change

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