In the Sunday Times, Bjorn Lomborg - author of The Skeptical Environmentalist - warns against rushing into remedies which may offer false hope:
"In the aftermath of the tsunami there is a strong sense that we should invest in wave stations and an elaborate alert system, making the Asian countries better able to deal with a potential tsunami. But however compassionate this may seem, it may not be our best first priority. First, strong tsunamis only hit rarely: the last big one in the Indian Ocean was in 1883. Second, there are many other pressing concerns. Every year about 3m people die in southeast Asia from infectious and parasitic diseases — most curable with cheaply available medicines. In any fortnight more people will have suffered these preventable deaths than the total toll of the tsunami. Before we embark on a costly alert system, we should consider if the resources could be better spent.
"While talking about priorities is often seen as cynical, neglecting them does not make them go away. We do not do all good things, therefore we need to focus on doing best things first.
"The challenge ahead is not focusing on the issues with the most buzz but on what will do the most good."
Incidentally, Lomborg is the subject of an even-handed profile in Saturday's Times
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