Saturday, January 23, 2010

It is criminal not to contribute to climate change

If only Haiti had contributed much more to climate change – thousands of Haitians would be alive.
We are told that the rich(and evil) developed nations have been causing climate change due to their high Co2 ‘pollution’. The leaders of countries with low Co2 emissions have been tomtomming their own moral goodness at any number of international conferences. Look at us, we are so noble –our emissions are so low.
It is an idiotic assertion in more ways than one. And nature is not kind to idiots-
The ultimate tragedy in Haiti isn’t the earthquake; it’s that country’s lack of economic freedom. The earthquake simply but catastrophically revealed the inhuman consequences of this fact.
Registering 7.0 on the Richter scale, the Haitian earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. But the quake that hit California’s Bay Area in 1989 was also of magnitude 7.0. It killed only 63 people.
This difference is due chiefly to Americans’ greater wealth. With one of the freest economies in the world, Americans build stronger homes and buildings and roads, are better nourished, and have better health care and better search and rescue equipment. In contrast, burdened by one of the world’s least-free economies, Haitians cannot afford to build sturdy structures and roads. (Haitian builders often add sand to their concrete because concrete is so expensive there. The result is weaker buildings.) Nor can Haitians afford the health care and emergency equipment that we take for granted here in the U.S.
More than just anecdotes prove that richer societies are safer societies. Lots of data back up this observation.
For example, in a 2005 paper, UCLA economist Matthew Kahn found that, while rich countries experience just as many natural disasters as do poor countries, persons in rich countries are less likely than are persons in poor countries to die from such disasters. Specifically, a country of 100 million people with a per-capita income of $8,000 will experience about 530 fewer deaths from natural disasters each year than will a country with the same population but where per-capita income is only $2,000. Raise the per-capita income from $8,000 to $14,000 and the annual expected death toll from natural disasters falls by another 233 persons.
These stark facts should be a lesson for those who insist that human habitats are made more dangerous, and human lives put in greater peril, by freedom of commerce and industry.
A Haitian delegate at Copenhagen climate conference-
If only she and her government were more concerned about economic freedom and less about climate change.

In fact, as the example of Haitian quake shows, it is criminal not to contribute to climate change.And next time a third-world leader preens about the moral superiority of his country in not emitting enough Co2, the proper response is –shame on you that you didn’t!

Note –this post assumes for argument sake only that anthropogenic Co2 causes significant climate change. That is a theory far from being proven yet.