Want to generate a 33x return on investment?

Using an 8% discount rate, the net present value of the costs of… [X] …is estimated at $61 billion for the next 35 years, while the net present benefits in terms of net economic surplus (the sum of consumer and producer surplus) are estimated at $2.1 trillion.

Wow, that’s a pretty good deal, what could X possibly be? Oh lookie here, turns out X is agricultural R&D. According to a report by assorted boffins from the Copenhagen Consensus Center and IFPRI, that is.

Bjorn Lomborg of said CCC has a decent go at summarizing the report in a recent op-ed, though the framing as Green Revolution 2.0 seems a little tired to me. ((He seems oddly ill-prepared in a later interview with, ahem, Jordan Peterson.))

Research published this week by Copenhagen Consensus demonstrates that the world will only need to spend a small amount more each year to generate vast benefits. It estimates the additional cost of R&D this decade is about $5.5 billion annually—a relatively small sum, less even than Americans spend on ice cream every year.

This investment will generate better seeds and high-yield crops that can also better handle weather changes like those we will see from climate change. Creating bigger and more resilient harvests will benefit farmers and producing more food will help consumers with lower prices.

The report doesn’t go into exactly what the $61 billion ought to be spent on, but I hope genebanks turn out to be on the list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *