by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bjorn Lomborg writes at National Review Online about facts that contradict popular gloom-and-doom narratives involving the climate.
The global discussion about climate change has become quite hysterical. Some 60 percent of people living in the rich world think it is likely to bring an end to humanity. This is not only untrue; it is also harmful, because fear makes people embrace bad policies and ignore many other urgent challenges facing the world. Consider, for example, how the World Health Organization declared climate change the defining public-health issue of the 21st century in 2014, but perhaps should have been more focused on pandemics, like Covid. Or take the World Economic Forum participants who in January 2020 found the greatest policy risk of the next ten years to be climate-action failure — ignoring the rapid spread of Covid. Or consider how development institutions increasingly focus on helping poor countries with climate-change responses, often at the expense of other things those countries urgently need, such as growth and development, stronger health-care systems, better education, and a more plentiful energy supply.
Climate change is a real and man-made phenomenon, and it will have negative impacts overall. That’s a fact, and it is one that we hear a lot. The “catastrophe narrative,” however, is drowning out many other relevant facts about climate change — for example, that 98 percent fewer people are dying from climate-related disasters today than did a century ago, and that net-zero-emission policies are eye-wateringly costly. …
… These days, every weather phenomenon is turned into instant climate news, with smartphone cameras immediately sharing pictures of the damage and campaigners blaming climate change for it all. Hurricanes are a key part of this narrative. But that does not mean hurricanes are actually battering our coasts any more frequently than before, as is often implied or stated outright.
Indeed, the hurricanes of 2022 were close to unprecedented — but only in their weakness.