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How to Write the Worlds To-Do List

The New Yorker reports on both Bjorn Lomborg and the work of the Post-2015 Consensus Project.

Having 1,400 targets is like having none at all, and so governments need to make some hard choices, deciding which targets will offer the greatest returns on investment,’’ Bjørn Lomborg, the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, has written. Lomborg convened many of the world’s leading economists to assess the best way to choose the next development goals. He argues that the U.N. is diluting its power by attempting to eliminate all problems. He is undoubtedly correct. Costs in the S.D.G. plan rarely seem to be linked to benefits. “Of course, economics alone should not determine the world’s top development aims over the next decade and a half,’’ he said. “But ignoring costs doesn’t make difficult choices disappear; it makes them less clear.”

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