The University of Western Australia has established a new policy research centre with the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, which is headed by international climate change contrarian Bjorn Lomborg.
The university said the new centre, located at the UWA Business School, will focus on applying an economic lens to proposals to achieve good for Australia, the region and the world, prioritising those initiatives which produce the most social value per dollar spent.
“The new Australia Consensus Centre will be based at UWA but will have a global reach,” UWA said.
“It will help frame the debate on aid, agriculture and regional issues and focus on smart, long-term priorities.”
UWA said the cooperation with the Copenhagen Consensus Centre meant that Mr Lomborg, who is president of the think tank, would be spending time in Perth and across Australia to encourage a conversation on priorities for aid and development and the future prosperity of Australia.
In a statement, Mr Lomborg said the centre was an opportunity to showcase the power of economic research to help inform the national and international conversation on setting the most effective priorities.
Mr Lomborg became well-known internationally after the 2001 publication of his book The Skeptical Environmentalist.
He accepts the reality of man-made climate change but disputes many of the alarming predictions.
He campaigned against the Kyoto Protocol and argued for spending money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions, and on other important world problems such as AIDS, malaria and malnutrition.
Over the next four years, the UWA centre will have three main projects.
One will focus on the smartest development goals for the United Nations post-2015 agenda, the second will focus on determining which policies will help keep Australia prosperous in a generation’s time, while the third will focus on setting global priorities for development aid and help development agencies produce the most good for every development dollar spent.
“The Australia Consensus Centre will become the go-to place for useful economic research to inform the national and international debate,” UWA vice-chancellor Paul Johnson said.