In their Saturday Essay column, The Wall Street Journal asked Peter Singer and Bjorn Lomberg, two global development experts, to respond to this question: Does Helping the Planet Hurt the Poor?
Peter Singer summed up his response as this:
“No, if the west makes sacrifices.”
Bjorn Lomberg summed up his response this way:
“Yes, if we listen to green extremists”
The opposing beliefs of the two are captured in this statement by Bjorn Lomberg:
“…Fortunately, there is a more sensible way forward that could use the same $250 billion that the European Union is expecting to waste annually on ineffective global warming policies. First, we should spend about $100 billion a year on research and development to make green energy cheaper and more widely available. Mr. Singer argues that it is not ethically defensible just to hope for a “technological miracle” that will allow us to end our reliance on fossil fuels…”
Lomberg believes that were going to spend too much money on policies that have to little return on investment and that this capital can be used to help the impoverished with programs that have been time tested.