“[T]he overall goal of the Bush Administration is to reduce the intensity of annual greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) by 18 percent by 2012, through a range of voluntary actions.” US Business Actions to Address Climate Change
Advocates of this measurement argue that it allows for realistic and business-friendly emissions reductions. “They [some US companies] are taking advantage of the lack of a mandatory United States Green House GAS (GHG) emission reduction program to set targets at their own pace and in their own way; a way that fits with their own strategic objectives. Often, these companies have chosen to initiate voluntary GHG reduction programs by drawing on the expertise of: industry associations (such as the Business Roundtable); non-profit organizations (such as Environmental Defense, the World Resources Institute, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change); and the federal government (such as the Climate Leaders Program).” Climate Change Strategy
One of the primary criticisms of the initiative is that its measurement is ratio-based rather than setting specific goals for emission levels. “[Senator Jeff] Bingaman points out that the goals set by Climate VISION are flawed because they will be inherently affected by the increase in the service sector of the US economy’s growth, which is the fastest growing sector of the economy. The growth of the service sector will increase the GDP without affecting greenhouse emissions. Therefore, the ratio of emissions to GDP would decrease regardless of any reduction in emissions.” Is President Bush's Vision Impaired?
Lomborg staunchly advocates for prioritizing issues based on cost-benefit analysis, which asks whether the cost of revamping our energy systems is worth the benefit gained from curbing global warming.
Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus (CC) uses a cost-benefit model to rank the most pressing human health concerns. Control of disease, malnutrition and hunger appeared as the most cost-effective issues to tackle, while climate change ranked dead last. As the majority climate change’s effects will not be felt until decades into the future, the model purposefully discounts the severity of their impact through its discount rate. This ranking has led to controversy, with critics arguing both that the discount rate is too high, and that this type of ranking negates the fact that these issues are not mutually exclusive. Lombog's metric connect human prosperity with market growth, but portray environmental interests at odds with these other concerns.
Lomborg's cost/benefit analysis reveals that the costs of dealing with climate are too great relative to the costs of addressing global human health crises: “When people spend 5 dollars to offset a ton of CO2 they do some good (probably providing about 2 dollars’ worth of benefits to the world). But the same 5 dollars donated to a different organization could have done 2 hundred dollars’ worth of social good if used for HIV/AIDS prevention of 150 worth of social good if used against malnutrition.” Cool It, 162