Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Horror of Climate Change

Lin Manuel Miranda - Hurricane

It is clear from media reports that climate change is making the planet uninhabitable. The list of tragedies is simply incredible, including an unprecedented hurricane that wiped out Galveston, Texas, killing over 10,000 people. That made it the deadliest natural disaster ever in the United States, beating out the worst heatwave and flood.

But that is nothing compared to the Yangtze–Huai River floods in China. Those killed somewhere between hundreds of thousands and millions.

Don't these two events prove that climate change is already humanity's worst crisis, demanding all of our attention and sacrifice? 

Maybe not.

The Galveston hurricane was in 1900 (heatwave in 1936; flood in 1862). The Chinese floods were in 1931.

The climate was never "safe." 

The world was not better in the past.

Look just at hurricanes. On the chart of the 10 Deadliest Hurricanes in the United States, only two are in this century, despite the tremendous population growth. 

The deadliest Atlantic hurricane was in 1780 - again, even though the population was a small fraction of what it is today. After Galveston, the third deadliest was Mitch in 1998, killing thousands in Central America.

I understand that for many people, doom gives life meaning. But in reality, the problem isn't the climate is going from benign to hostile. What kills people is poverty - a lack of development and protection. That is why so many more people died from natural disasters in the past. 

If we want to make life better for humans, we shouldn't be destroying people's mental health with exaggerations and lies. We should be pushing for development, the best answer to any climate ... if you care about human misery. But development is explicitly what the crueler climate fanatics oppose.

Bonus reading from Matt Yglesias: "The two kinds of progressives." Keep that in mind next year when the "Green" Party tries to re-elect Tangerine Palpatine and undo every bit of climate legislation Biden and the Dems have accomplished.

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