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March 05, 2004


Frank McGahon

Thanks for your debut post on the new blog, Conor!

I think the best way for Aid agencies to prioritise is less to all settle on some kind of consensus but instead to each look individually at a reasonable objective assessment of their action. It is probably true in the majority of cases, excluding sudden emergencies, that aid actually causes more harm than good. In many ways it is analogous to welfare: great for helping you through a bad patch but terrible as a way of life.

Paul Theroux's book: Dark Star Safari, which I read last year, covers a lot of this thinking, almost as an aside to an engrossing travelogue through Africa.

Eric Britton

We have decided that this exercise is important enough – and could eventually be misleading enough – to warrant independent coverage and discussions in The Commons Sustainability Agenda at http://ecoplan.org. You are welcome to check it out and join in with your critical comments and observations in the Discussion Forum which you will find on the site.

Eric Britton

Hello again: I would like to see if there might be any interest here for us to organize an “Always On” Poster Session to cover some of the goings on in Copenhagen. Check out progress on this communications tool at The Commons Sustainability Agenda at http://ecoplan.org, and let us know via postmaster@ecoplan.org if you might be interested in taking part in such an open exchange (you will need a broadband connection and a good quality web cam… details on how this works can be had from our colleagues from SUNET - (Swedish University Computer Network) at http://www.meetings.sunet.se/index.html)

Forest Troll

This so-called "consensus" is a crime against this planet. On the top ten list of priorities, what do we NOT see? Deforestation, considered by all knowledgeable ecologists to be the primary evil of our time, and related to every other form of poverty. Over-fishing. Monetary and accounting reforms that would stop rewarding buying and writing off bigger pulp plants, bigger fishing boats (draggers, even!), and provided ecosystem service payments to keep forests in place.

It is certainly true that cutting industrial CO2 emissions with more expensive technologies is NOT the world's highest priority problem. Loss of forests, particularly biodiverse old growth forests, is. And this is not even on "their" agenda.

This is just as corrupt as the UN Millenium Declaration, and like that document hopelessly confuses the survival of this planet's ecosystems with the survival of its human populations (two different things that can't be confused - the planet needs what it needs and human needs must fit within its limits).

The UN is quickly becoming an enemy of this planet.

Frank McGahon

the planet needs what it needs and human needs must fit within its limits

Err, no. The only "planet's needs" which ought to be recognised is those needs which allow it to remain an optimum habitat for humans. Human needs must always prevail over any abstract "needs" of the environment.


John Quiggin, over on Crooked Timber, has written a number of posts on the Copenhagen Consensus. Well worth the read.

Frank McGahon

Thanks for the tip, although I do find the Crooked Timberites to have something of a knee-jerk anti-Lomborg stance which can result in partisan defend-kyoto-at-all-costs-truth-and-logic-be-damned hackery and causes them to overlook or rubbish some important work done by the Copenhagen Consensus. Alex Tabarrok unpicks some of Quiggin's sophistry here

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