by Bjorn Lomborg, July 11, 2020 in CO2Coalition
“You’ll die of old age, I’ll die of climate change,” reads a typical poster held by teenagers in climate rallies across the world. The media, activists and even politicians are unabashedly indulging in climate alarmism, stoking the fears of millions.
Books on the impending implosion of civilization due to climate change line shelves in bookstores across the world. Media outlets have changed the name of climate change, calling it the “climate emergency” or even “climate breakdown.” The cover of Time magazine tells us: “Be worried. Be very worried.”
Unsurprisingly, this causes most of us to brood about a future that we’re being told will be calamitous. Children are growing up terrified, with six in ten American teenagers now afraid of climate change. The scaremongering has reached such a crescendo that now half the world’s population really believes climate change will likely end the human race.
This alarmism is not only false but morally unjust. It leads us to make poor decisions based on fear, when the world not only has gotten better, but will be even better over the century.
Remember that the world today is much better in almost every measurable way. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 32. Today, it has more than doubled to 72. The disparity in health between the rich and poor has reduced, the world is much more literate, child labor has been dropping and we are living in one of the most peaceful times in history. Indoor air pollution, previously the biggest environmental killer, has halved since 1990. Four out of five people were extremely poor in 1900 and today — despite the intense impact of the coronavirus — less than one in five is.
The UN Climate Panel’s middle-of-the-road estimate for the end of the century is that we will be even better off. There will be virtually no one left in extreme poverty, everyone will be much better educated, and the average income per person in the world will be 450 percent of what it is today. Yet, because climate is a real challenge, it will leave us less well off. Based on three decades of studies, the UN and the world’s only Nobel climate economist estimate global warming will reduce the 21st century welfare increase from 450 percent to “only” 434 percent of today’s income.