Diverse Views on Climate Change and World Poverty

Published on 15 June 2022

The New York Times bestselling author of Skeptical Environmentalist, and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Bjorn Lomborg, argues that panic over climate change is causing more harm than good.

Marian Tupy, the editor of Human Progress and one of the authors of Ten global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know, reiterates that we are living in the best of times, right from the late 1700s and early 1800s, when the industrial revolution arrived, otherwise known as The Great Enrichment.  It was a great ride until COVID-19 hit – life expectancy dipped and absolute poverty increased.  It is crucial to understand that it is temporary and it is possible to make up for the lost time, he says.

Global inequality has declined, especially in India and China, but it has increased within countries.  Most enterprising individuals are going to make it big, states the author!

Bjorn Lomborg in his paper “Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies”  puts forth the argument that we have become much better off as we have access to much more energy, nearly four times as much, compared to the 1800s. Although climate change is an important environmental challenge facing humanity, he states that it is less deadly than outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, lack of handwashing, or deaths from lead or radon.  The best climate policy is to invest in green energy technologies and bring them below the cost of fossil fuels.  Rolling out mobile broadband in developing countries, halving coral reef loss, reducing early childhood malnutrition, expanding immunization to cover more diseases, improving access to contraception, and developing freer trade are much more important, according to this paper.

Old But Gold

The founder of Gapminder, author of the best-selling book Factfulness, Late Professor Hans Rosling and his son Ola’s optimistic and refreshing TED talk on “How not to be ignorant about the world” stresses the importance of having a fact-based worldview to better understand the future.

Author and journalist, Roy Beck, connects immigration and world poverty with a presentation using gumballs.  It is one of the Internet’s most viewed immigration policy presentations.  An eye-opener, indeed!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

What is apt for the present time is this phrase taken from Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times,

it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom,

it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief,

it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light,

it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope,

it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us,

we had nothing before us,

we were all going direct to Heaven,

we were all going direct the other way.

In short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Further Reading

The world is awful. The world is much better. The world can be much better. (20 July 2022)

Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies – Bjorn Lomborg (July 2020)

Climate gains are ‘inconvenient truth’ — it’s not all bad news about the environment (6 September 2022)

An end to doomerism Or why I’m coming out as an impatient optimist – Hannah Ritchie (20 September 2022)

Last updated on 29 September 2022

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