It’s tempting to think that things are only getting worse here on Earth. All the media seems to do is report on disasters and make dire forecasts. In light of all the gloom and doom being spread about global warming and the environment, it’s easy to see why so many people, especially the young, are convinced the end of the world is near.
The world is improving, despite the fact that there are still issues to be resolved. It’s just not something we typically encounter. Every recent heatwave, flood, wildfire, or storm seems to dominate the news cycle. Data, however, reveal that people’s safety from natural disasters has improved dramatically over the previous century. True, weather calamities killed over half a million people in the 1920s, but only around 18,000 on average in the last decade. Like 2020 and 2021, this year is also lagging behind schedule. Why? For the simple reason, that affluence breeds fortitude.
If the news on TV were more focused on the weather, viewers might receive the impression that natural calamities are on the rise. That’s not the case. Between 4.5 and 5 percent of the Earth’s surface area would be consumed by fire each year around the year 1900. This dropped to roughly 3.2% over the past century. Even more, satellites have been lost in the last two decades; by 2021, only 2.5% of spacecraft will have been destroyed by fire. This is largely due to the fact that fires are reduced in wealthy countries. Models predict that by the end of the century, even less energy will be expended on fires as a result of human adaptations to climate change.
What’s more, contrary to popular belief (perhaps due to the fact that more affluent populations tend to settle closer to the coast, where more costly housing is available), the percentage of GDP lost due to weather-related disasters is actually decreasing, not growing.
Despite severe forecasts, the damage caused by natural disasters is decreasing. Over a decade ago, eco-activists loudly claimed that climate change-related bleaching had nearly destroyed Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef. Even the British newspaper The Guardian wrote an obituary for him.
Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has the highest coral cover seen since monitoring began in 1985, scientists reported this year. The positive report received far less coverage. A short while ago, environmentalists frequently used images of polar bears to emphasize the risks posed by global warming. Even Al Gore’s horrific documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” featured polar bears. However, the actual number of polar bears has been rising; from roughly 5,000 to 10,000 polar bears in the 1960s, there are now around 26,000. This isn’t something that makes the headlines here. Activists have instead quietly abandoned the use of polar bears in their campaigns.
Despite the abundance of bad news reports, progress is being made across the board in terms of what matters most. In the last century, the average lifespan of a human being has increased from 36 in 1920 to nearly 72 in the present day. A century ago, 75% of humanity was living in abject poverty. It’s down to less than a tenth of that now.
Because of the widespread use of dung and wood for cooking and heating, air pollution was four times as likely to kill you in 1920 as it is now.
Progress for humanity has continued to improve despite difficulties caused by COVID. But prophets of doom will insist that the end is near. Although this is fantastic for their fundraising efforts, it has enormous societal implications, including the adoption of ineffective and expensive policies and the widespread fear among children.
We also miss out on fixing far greater issues. Take into account the focus on heat waves in recent years. Heat mortality is decreasing in the United States and other parts of the world where air conditioning is widely available. This is because the benefits of air conditioning outweigh the risks posed by rising temperatures.
On the other hand, many more people die in silence due to the cold practically everywhere. Approximately 20,000 people perish each year in the United States due to heat, but 170,000 succumb to the cold. Furthermore, cold deaths are on the rise in the United States, and our fixation on climate change is making the problem worse since politicians have enacted “green” legislation that raises energy prices, making it harder for families to afford to heat their homes. If we don’t step back and look at the big picture, we won’t know where to start providing aid.
On a worldwide scale, climate change causes famous people and politicians to lecture us from expensive jets while we cut funding for issues like famine, disease, and inadequate access to education. When was the last time politicians and actors got together to deworm kids?
Even while a more even-handed approach to reporting is desirable, the issue of human-caused global warming cannot be overlooked. Sometimes it helps to step back and look at things objectively. In order to get an idea of what to expect from a warming planet, we can examine the damage estimates from the economic models used by the Biden and Obama Administrations. These models show that the total, global cost of climate change (not just to economies, but in every sense) will be equivalent to less than a 4% hit to global GDP by the end of the century.
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As time goes on, people everywhere enjoy greater and greater levels of material success. According to a separate analysis by the United Nations, if global warming were not a factor, the ordinary individual in 2100 would be 450% better off than they are today. Some argue that the benefits of global warming won’t outweigh the costs by much. A catastrophe has not occurred.
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